What you need to know about the US midterm elections

Monday 10th December 2018 | Jake

In the immediate aftermath of the midterm elections in the US, much of the media’s attention focused on the White House revoking a CNN reporter’s press credentials, banning him from the President’s press conferences. Once the dust surrounding this particular furore had settled, however, the US, and the wider world, could reflect on what was an eventful election day.

Two years after Trump’s election, the midterms were viewed as a test of his endearing popularity, or whether the faith stored in him had been shaken. Although some races are still undecided, despite the election taking place in early November, these elections had a profound impact on the political landscape, while confirming the nation is still deeply divided. Here is a brief recap of events.


Firstly, and most importantly the Democrats recaptured the House of Representatives from Republicans, who had previously been in control of both the House and the Senate. The Democrats’ victory means Robert Mueller can continue his investigation into the 2016 Presidential election without fear of Republicans shutting it down.

In spite of losing the House, Trump was adamant the midterms were a qualified success for his party. There is some truth to this. Candidates that towed Trump’s line generally did well, and the majority of states with a Republican majority saw an increase in that majority. A number of dramatic recounts also went Trump’s way, including Florida and Georgia, where Democrat candidate Stacey Adams was hoping to be America’s first black female governor.

Another tight race has produced a possible candidate for a run at the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. Texas is a Republican state, but this year incumbent Ted Cruz scraped through by the skin of his teeth against the Democrat Beto O’Rourke, leading many observers to suggest a run at the White House is imminent.

Democrat Beto O'Rourke narrowly lost

These Midterms are also being viewed as the Women’s elections. Never before have so many women served on the House of Representatives. Furthermore, two Muslim women and two Native American women will join Congress, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the youngest woman ever elected to congress.

Elsewhere Democrat Jared Polis is America’s first gay governor, winning the election in Colorado. Despite the Republican victory it wasn’t all gloom in Florida, where voter rights have been restored to 1.5m former felons. In even more welcome news Michigan has legalized marijuana for retail sale, and the states of Idaho and Nebraska have voted to expand Medicaid, which will provide access to healthcare for hundreds of thousands of low-income households.