Published: Thu, November 08, 2018

Republicans grow Senate majority, lose House — Blue wave’ fizzles

Republicans grow Senate majority, lose House — Blue wave’ fizzles

The House of Representatives will flip to the control of the Democrats while Trump's Republicans have retained control over the Senate.

Millions of Americans voted Tuesday, and results have been projected in several races in the U.S. midterms, the critical first nationwide election seen as a referendum on Donald Trump's presidency.

Democrats quickly made important gains in the House, but Republicans defended in crucial races, like incumbent Andy Barr of Kentucky, whose House seat had seemed at risk. Several television networks, including the president's favorite Fox News Channel, yanked a Trump campaign advertisement off the air on the eve of the election, determining that its portrayal of a murderous immigrant went too far.

"Tremendous success tonight", the president tweeted.

At last count, Democrats had gained a net 14 of the 23 Republican-held seats needed to capture a majority.

In Arizona, where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally are locked in a dead heat, Trump's approval is 52%, with 47% who disapprove.

Pelosi was in a celebratory mood Tuesday evening, declaring that "tomorrow will be a new day in America". Pelosi said Americans have all "had enough of division".

But it's the House loss that will define the next two years of Trump's presidency: If Democrats make Rep. Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House, and install Trump haters into leadership positions, Trump faces a very unpleasant end to his first term, filled with investigations and gridlock and endless partisan sniping.

Trump has already been trying out defensive arguments, noting that midterm losses are typical for the party in the White House, pointing out a high number of GOP retirements and stressing that he has kept his focus on the Senate.

Tuesday's elections will determine control of Congress in the final two years of Trump's term, and about 7 in 10 in voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote.

Democrats claimed some high-profile victories, with former professional hockey player Colin Allred defeating Pete Sessions, the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee and leading opponent of legalized marijuana, in suburban Dallas.

Voters were on track to send at least 99 women to the House, shattering the record of 84 now.

Democrats Ilhan OImar and Rashida Tlaib are also expected to make history in Minnesota and MI respectively as the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

Yet Trump's party will maintain Senate control for the next two years, at least.

"We won back the House because our candidates had a clear message for working families and refused to let Trump and the GOP distract us from the issues that matter most". Fueling their intensity have been Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric and policies, his efforts to dismantle health care protections enacted under President Barack Obama and the #MeToo movement's fury over sexual harassment. "We believe that the economy should work for everyone, not just those at the top", Perez said. But his support wasn't a silver bullet, and he wasn't able to keep the House in Republican control.

The tax law has been particularly problematic for Republicans in New Jersey, where four of five Republican-held seats were being seriously contested.

Trump's team immediately sought to give him credit for retaining their narrow Senate majority, even as their foothold in the more competitive House battlefield appeared to be slipping.

As the first polls were closing Tuesday, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement reinforcing Trump's point. According to Sanders, Trump hosted 50 rallies for the midterms- 30 in the past two months alone.

Trump's approval rating was negative among the nation's voters, and more said the USA was on the wrong track than heading in the right direction.

With slim margins of control and differences between progressives and more moderate members, Democrats put off more ambitious legislation.

The outcome is a significant victory for Democrats after the party was locked out of power in Washington following the 2016 presidential election.

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