The 2018 midterm election has dominated the news cycle. The Democrats are hoping to take control of the House of Representatives and, if they are lucky, the Senate. There has been a palpable energy surrounding the Democratic Party after the 2016 election when the Republican candidate won the electoral votes despite losing the popular vote, and hope for a blue wave.
If Congress is controlled by the party that opposes an unpopular president, they can place a more reasonable check on the unpredictability of the president and his administration. There has recently been a lot of discussion of a blue wave, or maybe even a blue tsunami. A tsunami would only take place if the Democrats were able to gain some Senate seats as well as the 23 house seats they were considered likely to win.
What Is a Blue Wave?
A blue wave happens when the margin of error in several races favors one party overwhelmingly. This means that more political offices are won by Democratic Party candidates than Republican. The wave does not occur just when there are multiple electoral wins. Three factors may spearhead the blue wave:
There have been events leading up to the 2018 midterm elections that have cast a shadow over them. A Florida man mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats will not play well at the polls, especially since many Republicans called it a false flag until the man was arrested. The mass murder at the synagogue in Pennsylvania might highlight the bigotry and divisiveness that has grown in the wake of Trump's win. The Democrats are staying focused on policy issues such as healthcare since the Republicans are making campaign promises of a better healthcare system even as they cut benefits.
Is the Blue Wave Coming?
Many people believe that the blue wave is coming and will largely consist of women. They are running in record numbers while the GOP is seeing the retirement of 23 members. The hearings regarding the Supreme Court appointment starkly illustrated the divides between males and females in their view of politics and gender. A lot of attention was paid to its similarities to the Anita Hill situation in 1991. Many people were concerned that the attitudes toward women had changed little since then, and actually may have gotten worse as women have become a more dominant force in America.
What Are Some Key Elements Of The Blue Wave?
The blue wave is nowhere better illustrated than in the races of some younger progressive Democrats, such as Andrew Gillum in Florida, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in Brooklyn and Beto O'Rourke in Texas. One of these is a governors' race, one is a Congressional race, and one is a race to replace an incumbent Texas Senator. Pay close attention to races in all the states this year. There are fewer positions up for grabs for Democrats in the Senate, but the Democrats could make significant gains in the areas of state governors and congressional representatives.
Stacey Abrams is running to be the first female black Governor in the United States in Georgia. Her competition for the office is Brian Kemp, the current Georgia Secretary of State. Kemp is playing both candidate and referee in this election, something that should not be allowed in competition. A number of lawsuits are charging Kemp with voter suppression.
A similar turn of events is taking place with Andrew Gillum, who would be the first black Governor of Florida if he beats DeSantis. Their respective performances at a recent debate indicate that Gillum is more than up to the challenge of winning against the Trump loyalist. Gillum's and Abrams' wins would be of the utmost importance since governors are key in the upcoming redistricting process that will be based on the 2020 national census numbers.
House of Representatives Races
There are a variety of congressional representative races that are contested and probably will remain that way up to November 6th. California, a well known Democratic stronghold, is focusing on a few races that will be key in gaining a majority of the House. They include the seats of incumbent Republicans Dana Rohrabacher, Devin Nunes, and Jeff Denham.
Denham, a Republican running in an agricultural area faces a tough race from the three Democrats who are competing against him, as this district went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has a growing Latino population. Nunes competitor Andrew Janz is the Fresno DA, and he has not let up in his assaults on Nunes close bond with Trump. Rohrabacher is even more controversial due to his antagonism against climate change, his ongoing relationship with Vladimir Putin and an anti-LGBT stance. His Democratic challengers are energized, but there are also a lot of challengers competing against just one Republican.
These races are more of a longshot, but some of them could take an unexpected direction. Beto O'Rourke is doing very well in Texas while Kristin Sinema of Arizona is actually surpassing her Republican competitor. Similarly, close races in Tennessee and a few other states could tip the balance of the Senate.
What Would a Blue Wave Mean for Trump?
A blue wave could be very bad for Trump on a variety of levels. Many of the people now running as Democrats are women, and his ratings as president have continued to drop, even amongst conservative women, with each scandal. Democrats are ready at the starting gate to launch many investigations of Trump's foreign and business dealings.
If the Democrats take the house, they will almost certainly begin pondering impeachment proceedings. The first thing they might focus in on is Donald Trump's unreleased tax returns, despite his campaign promises to reveal them once elected. The returns could provide some insight where Trump has gotten his income from, especially if it came in the form of loans from other countries.
Democrats are ready with new legislation to prevent presidential candidates from avoiding financial transparency in the future. They might try to determine things like why the $43,000 soundproof phone booth ordered by now resigned EPA director Pruitt was allowed with no oversight, as well as other examples of government waste reported in this administration.
Many Democrats have discussed the emoluments clause of the constitution, which puts restrictions in place to prevent presidents from profiting off of their powerful national position while in office. Trump initially refused to resign as the head of Trump Organization before eventually turning over leadership to his children.
This is something you may see Democrats revisit if they take control of the house. The same family members who have taken control of the Trump Organization have taken on significant responsibilities in Trump's administration. President Trump's son has become increasingly involved in the 2020 presidential campaign. His daughter has also been sent as a representative of the United States to a number of international meetings. The Democrats will also be buoyed by a racketeering case filed in 2018 against the Trump Organization by the District Attorney of Manhattan.
Passing New Laws and Stopping the Passage of Others
If the Democrats are able to regain the majority of seats in the Senate and House, there would be a massive gridlock on any new legislation posed by Trump. It is likely that attempts to undo the Affordable Care Act will stall if there is no real replacement proposed. While some recent Republican policy decisions are irreversible, there are a variety of ways they can be circumvented via laws Democrats might create.
Another issue driving voter turnout this year is gun control. The young people from Parkland, Florida have made both emotional and practical gains with the American population that anti-regulation politicians may not be able to overcome. It's unknown how much of an impact these young activists have had in registering younger voters and increasing voter turnout for first-time voters. Voting turnout among young people has historically been low but has risen this year.
The Blue Wave will probably happen given not only current trends in local and state elections but also the events that have taken place at the end of October. It should surprise no one that Republicans are quite concerned about the midterms. Popular sentiment seems to be building against the President and dividing the country.
Today Donald Trump is trying to remove the birthright of citizenship for any children born to parents who are not citizens, thereby violating the 14th Amendment. At this point, his low popularity could matter more than any strengthening of the economy. The GOP has come to a point where they are unsure whether such an unpopular president can continue to deliver them election-day victories.
The Democratic challenge is to overcome voter apathy and get Americans out to vote. The trick will be for everyday Americans to get their friends and family to vote and take them to the polls. Become a unified front that can create a wave and then a tsunami. Otherwise, the Republicans will continue being in charge.