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There was a breathless anticipation going into the Midterm Elections this year. It was a reality show that every network carried, and the pundits became the stars who's words were hung onto as if it were the gospel sent from above. On the Conservative side, there was a belief that the American people embraced Trump's policies and wanted more of the same. The flip side for the Liberal base was that Trump and his antics were growing tiresome, it was time for the so-called adults to take control again. What can be taken away from the results of the most consequential election of our generation?
No Blue (or Red) Wave
Among the more optimistic patrons of both political parties was a theory that the other side would be wiped out in a tsunami of their own people swept into Congress. It started with the #BlueWave campaign on social media, and the Right tried to co-opt it to no avail. What happened? In a simple word: reality. Author Susan Kaye Quinn may have said it best, "The "blue wave" may not be the easy tsunami so many had hoped for—but change doesn't happen by magick. You have to put in the work if you want it to happen. Moreover, tomorrow is when we start working for 2020." Think about that for a second; work has to be put into change. Such a simple concept that it's almost beautiful, or would be if the Democrats keep plugging away and showing that they are working (there's that word again) towards making the country a better place for EVERYONE.
Young people are voting... and leaning left.
Another important takeaway from this is the lesson that America's youth are coming of age and taking their civic duty seriously. Facebook and Twitter were filled with proud selfies of young adults who voted for the first time, and many of them shared that they were voting for their Democrat candidates. This is something that Republicans need to look at and ask themselves about some of their stances on social issues. There could be an argument that as they grow up, they will become more conservative but that seems to be a strawman argument at best. Sometimes it's okay to admit when you were wrong. Ask President Barack Obama. He famously changed his position on gay marriage, clearing the way for SCOTUS to legalize it.
People may not hate Trump but they want him held accountable.
One of the key questions during this election was how much would Americans rebuke the President? The answer is a mixed bag of answers. The candidates Trump stumped for won their races but many within such a narrow margin that it is hard to tell if he helped or hurt them. Of course, the administration is taking it as a win, for now. However, the fact that the Republicans lost many seats in the House of Representatives shows that voters want this President reigned in and forced to act within the power of his position and not as a dictator. Will this temper Trump's actions and words? Probably not. He has no fear of impeachment but the more he acts out, the more likely his re-election bid will go down in flames. It could also hurt the Senators up for re-election in 2020. It will also give the Democrats a chance to wield their power in smart and decisive ways.
Braun's win should worry Democrats.
After losing the 2016 election because of the electoral college, Democrats had to hope that they would secure the Senators and Representatives in key Midwest states. They didn't do that with Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana. He lost his seat to Mike Braun. Indiana went to Trump in 2016 and seems poised to stay red for the foreseeable future. Democrats will have to work harder to flip it back to blue in 2020, though that might be a tougher sell since it's Mike Pence's home state. Liberals will need to flip another state, like Florida (which is always at the center of elections) to stay competitive.
O'Rourke's loss should worry Republicans.
Why would a loss worry a major political party that won? The answer is simple. Beto O'Rourke was within spitting distance of flipping a Senate seat that has long belonged to Ted Cruz. Not only that but O'Rourke became a fundraising machine and captured the heart of a divided nation. His popularity could result in a run for the Presidency, or a candidate to become Vice President if Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden decide to run, and that would more than likely change the makeup of Texas. What happens if Texas goes blue? The likeliest scenario is that Trump loses re-election.
Country Not as Divided as Believed
While much ink has been spilled about how divided the country is, there is very little evidence of this outside of the Trump factor. Most Americans seem to agree on a number of issues; the big debate seems to be on finding common ground on the issues. Jimmy Kimmel pointed out that a vast majority of people agree on issues like gay marriage, climate change, and even immigration. He said on his late night show, “Take a look at that. That doesn’t look so divided to me, That’s divided the same way Donald Trump divides a buck of chicken: Four for me, one for you.” The talking points seem to hit a target with a very loud minority, and that is where the controversy and debate stem from.
With all of that said, neither party has a sure-fire win in 2020. Democrats have one hopeful candidate (not counting veteran Presidential nominees), but he lost his bid to unseat one Republican that is not well liked. Why put him up against another who has shown that he is not afraid to use the power of the Presidency to destroy his enemies? Trump, while he appears to have stemmed his loss of popularity, for the time being, has approval ratings that would net a failure in school and is alienating more and more voters every day. With the 2020 election cycle starting to gear up, look for an exciting climax to this story.