A check on Trump, not a slap-down
The 2018 election was more a modest rebuke of President Donald Trump than a massive repudiation. Trump’s Republicans held on to the Senate and overperformed expectations in several Senate and governor races, giving the GOP something to crow about. But Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, which will bring big – and much needed – change in Washington. By putting Democrats in charge of one chamber of Congress, voters expressed their desire to place some restraints on a vitriol-spewing president.
If disgust with Trump’s behaviour was not enough to turn many voters off, his attacks on health insurance certainly were. An election-day survey by The Associated Press showed healthcare to be the most important issue on the mind of voters. The switch in control of the House means that efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act are dead, as are a new round of tax cuts. The new House majority also means that the many conflicts of interest in the Trump administration will get the congressional investigations that they deserve, and that the cause of law enforcement will get an ally on at least one side of Capitol Hill.
The message that emerged was that many voters are not happy with the way things have been going in the past two years. But the nation, and the Congress, remain as bitterly divided as ever, if not more so.