Mediocre Midterms: The War for Suburbia

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Published November 14, 2018
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The Montclarion
Voting booths were full at the Columbia Public Library on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri. Photo courtesy of KOMUnews via Flickr

The United States had what was thought of as being one of the most consequential elections in the history of the nation on Nov. 6. The 2018 midterm election was the battle for the Senate and the House of Representatives, along with many state governorships. As always, this midterm was thought of as a referendum on the sitting U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

For weeks coming into this election, the media pounded an idea of a “blue wave” down the throats of the public, saying that this will be a complete Democratic takeover of governmental institutions.

The media said Democrats would surely take the House and possibly the Senate. They claimed that the hatred for Republicans and Trump runs deep in our country. Because of that, the American people will stand up to the president and vote blue. This simply was not as present as thought.

Despite all of the signs pointing toward democratic domination, this did not become a reality. The Democrats wound up walking away with a majority in the House, but they won in a moderate fashion, and they still have a minority in the Senate and the governorships.

Once you really look at the numbers, it is made clear that this was a historically moderate night for the Democratic party. The Republican party gained two seats in the Senate, which is one of the best gains of any party in power since the Democrats in 1962.

The Republicans also maintained a majority of the governorships in the election. Meanwhile, the Democrats wound up taking the house as they gained a net 32 seats, which is only about half as many as the 63 seats that the Republicans took during former President Obama’s first term in 2010.

Democrats did, however, pull out a clear victory in suburbia. It seems as if when the Democrats ran moderate candidates in suburban counties they were able to claim victory easily. We see this trend across the state of New Jersey as 11 of our 12 congressional districts are represented by Democrats. Two races that highlight moderate candidates winning are the New Jersey 11th and 3rd. In the 11th district, which is home to Montclair State, we saw Mikie Sherrill claim victory against a staunch Trump supporter.

With the state of New Jersey aside, it seemed like the Republican party did not win the night but certainly did not have the worst night in political history. That being said, Trump still does have a problem in the suburbs. It seems as if upper-middle class educated voters do not particularly care for the president. If he is going to win in 2020, then that must change.

Trump needs to figure out a way to gain support in these areas if he wants to win re-election and if Republicans are going to take back the house in 2020. He can do this by possibly cooling down his rhetoric on Twitter and about the media. It seems as if his fiery rhetoric is not helpful in these communities, but if he ran on his policies and accomplishments in the office thus far, he would have a much better chance.

If we were talking about tax cuts, the demolition of Islamic State group and the seeming end to the Korean conflict, instead of Jim Acosta and the “Mueller Witch Hunt,” Trump and the Republicans would be even better off looking into the future.

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