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Two Years After Trump’s Victory, Voters Erect an Impediment to His Power

Category: Political News,Politics

“The expectation is that we will behave as a real branch of government and not just a supplicant to Trump, which this current Congress has been for the last two years,” said Representative Raúl Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona. “There’s an expectation that we’re a check and a balance so that means a stalemate.”

Midterm elections are always a referendum on the president, and never more so than in 2018, when Mr. Trump told voters across the country that he was on the ballot. Historically, the party out of power picks up seats in the first midterm of a presidency, and Democrats followed that pattern this year.

Unlike the midterms of 2006, when President George W. Bush declared that Democrats had delivered “a thumping,” or 2010, when President Barack Obama described Republicans’ victory as “a shellacking,” the Democrats did not score an overwhelming victory Tuesday night. Republicans are likely to expand their majority in the Senate, and Democrats lost some governorships that they badly wanted, especially in Ohio and Florida.

But they do have a lot to celebrate. Democrats not only won the districts they were favored in, but locked up many where they were not. In New York, Max Rose, a health care executive and Army veteran, ousted Representative Dan Donovan, the only Republican member of New York City’s congressional delegation, in a race that analysts had said leaned Republican.

In Texas, Democrat Colin Allred, a former N.F.L. player and civil rights lawyer, defeated the incumbent Republican, Pete Sessions. In Illinois, Lauren Underwood beat Representative Randy Hultgren, a Republican who won by 19 points in 2016.

And in Virginia, Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former C.I.A. official, unseated Representative Dave Brat, a Tea Party darling who himself scored a massive upset four years ago when he defeated his predecessor, Eric Cantor, the Republican leader, in a Republican primary.

In a year when Mr. Trump put racial divisiveness on the ballot, Democrats ran and won with a diverse set of candidates who are infusing the party with new energy. Many are from the party’s progressive wing. Newcomers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist from New York, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts will almost certainly take the lead in pressing for a liberal agenda.


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