In midterm elections, the political party in office usually hits some headwinds while its opposition gains some political ground. That turned out to be true for 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, which the Republicans will continue to retain control of, moving forward.
That split was predicted by many analysts, including by David Wasserman, house editor for the Cook Political Report.
“Republicans had a lot of exposure in the House, and we [saw] Democrats taking control,” Wasserman told Agri-Talk Host, Chip Flory.
In a Farm Journal Pulse survey conducted earlier this week, farmers were asked to rate how satisfied they are with the midterm election results. Of the 817 farmers who responded to the survey, 64% said they are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the outcome.
“It seems like some of the Democrats’ momentum faded, and that the Kavanaugh appointment and the migrant caravan [had] done more to galvanize the Trump base than the tariffs and taxes, even,” Wasserman adds.
At the state level, voters in 18 states cast their ballots for a new governor. By the time polling concluded, seven states had switched from a Republican governorship to a Democrat one. Only one state, Alaska, switched from the Democrat party to the Republicans.
The average loss of governors for the party of an incumbent president has historically been 2.66 per cycle, so election 2018 was more than double the average.
Some of the most hotly contested governorship races in farm country were run in Illinois, Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin, all of which flipped from being Republican to Democrat held. A final decision in Georgia is still being determined. Republican Brian Kemp has declared victory in the Georgia governor’s race with election results showing him with a narrow lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams and all but a few precincts reporting complete results. However, Abrams’ campaign says “it will not concede and hopes that thousands of absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted contain enough votes to force a runoff election or recount,” according to a USA Today article.
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 change in parties starts putting different priorities into the government plans and decisions.
“In some cases there could be less focus on budget cutting or more emphasis, for instance. There could be more effort in some areas for redistricting,” he says. “These are longer-term implications that you might see when there are state government shifts.”
Such changes at the state level would certainly shape the 2020 elections and President Trump’s in particular, he adds.