In midterm elections, the political party in office usually hits some headwinds while the opposing party often gains political ground. That general principle held true during the 2018 midterm elections.
In the final tally of votes, Democrats won the U.S. House of Representatives but lost seats in the U.S. Senate, giving Republicans enough of an edge to retain control of the Senate, moving forward.
The political split between the House and Senate was predicted by several analysts, including David Wasserman, house editor for the Cook Political Report. “Republicans had a lot of exposure in the House, and we [had predicted] Democrats would take control,” he says.
“It seems like some of the Democrats’ momentum faded [regarding the Senate], and the Kavanaugh appointment and the migrant caravan did more to galvanize the Trump base than even the tariffs and taxes,” Wasserman adds.
Farmers weighing in on a Farm Journal Pulse survey post-election had a mixed reaction to the election outcomes. Of the 817 farmers who responded to the survey, 64% said they are “very satisfied or somewhat satisfied” with the results. Nearly one-third (28%) of farmers said they are “not at all satisfied,” while 8% of farmers surveyed said they “didn’t care” about the election outcomes.
At the state level, the party division continued as voters in 18 states cast their ballots for a governor. At the polling conclusion, seven states saw a switch from a Republican to a Democrat governor. Only one state, Alaska, switched from the Democrat party to the Republican party.
The average loss of governors for the party of an incumbent president has historically been 2.66 per cycle. That means the result for the 2018 midterm election was more than double the average.
Some of the closest state races in farm country occurred in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Georgia race was hotly contested, in particular, with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams refusing to acknowledge defeat to Republican Brian Kemp, until nearly two weeks after the election had concluded.
How does a change in party at the state level for governor affect policy and the political environment going forward? Roger Bernard, Informa policy analyst, says a switch often shifts priorities for government plans and decisions.
“In some cases there could be less focus on budget cutting or more emphasis on it, for instance. There could be more effort in some areas for redistricting,” Bernard explains. “These are longer-term implications you might see when there are state government shifts.”
Such changes at the state level are certain to shape the 2020 elections and President Donald Trump’s campaign in particular, Bernard adds.