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The Blue Wave 'Hit a Red Wall'

Democrats prepare to take on Trump
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2018 6:03 AM CST

(Newser) – Tuesday's midterm elections gave Democrats control of the House and Republicans control of the Senate, a result more than one analyst has likened to a blue wave hitting a red wall. Politico predicts that with the Democrats controlling one house of Congress and the GOP "stranglehold" on power broken, two years of "intense legislative gridlock" lie ahead. The question of impeachment is expected to divide Democrats, though incoming committee chairs have already prepared subpoenas for investigations of the president. Nancy Pelosi, expected to run for House speaker, said Tuesday night that impeachment would "have to be bipartisan and the evidence would have to be so conclusive." In other coverage:

  • "Maybe you get a ripple." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised GOP Senate wins as a "huge moment," but downplayed Democratic gains, the AP reports. "Maybe you get a ripple, but I certainly don't think that there's a blue wave." White House counselor Kellyanne Conway called for Democrats to work with Republicans, saying she doubted people wanted House Democrats to spend "even a fraction of their time investigating, instigating, trying to impeach and subpoena people."

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  • "American stalemate." The midterms delivered an "American stalemate," Ross Douthat writes at the New York Times, calling the results a rebuke to Trump, but not a "presidency-ending repudiation." He says Trump's critics on the right are likely pleased with the result, "since now the House can check and investigate our morally challenged president while the Senate keeps confirming conservative judges."
  • Division deepens. David Lauter at the Los Angeles Times sees the results as a deepening of the division between liberal cities and conservative rural areas. He predicts "two more years of political trench warfare and the worsening of major problems—an immigration system that both parties decry as broken, a healthcare system that remains the world’s most expensive even as it fails to cover everyone, rapidly rising federal debt, festering inequality."
  • Democrats unsatisfied. The "red wall" has left some Democrats feeling unsatisfied, with only a modest swing in the House and defeat of high-profile candidates like Beto O'Rourke, Ian Swanson and Bob Cusack write at the Hill. But the disappointments don't negate the fact that "winning the House is a tremendous victory for the party that will radically shift power in Washington."

  • Better than it might seem for Trump? The midterm elections were not a bad night for Trump, Cas Mudde writes at the Guardian. He had some setbacks, but they were offset by "old-school Republicans" being replaced by more "brazenly Trumpian" lawmakers, cementing his control of the GOP, Mudde writes. "When he won the presidency, most Republicans decided to accept him, hoping to mold him into a mainstream conservative. Just two years later ... Trump has shaped the Republican party in his image instead."
  • New agenda setters in the House. The Wall Street Journal looks at some of the Democratic "agenda setters" who are poised to chair House committees. Among them is Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, who is likely to chair the House Ways and Means Committee, giving him "the power to obtain and analyze President Trump’s tax returns, giving Ways and Means an important piece of the oversight authority Democrats can exercise."
  • Impeachment was on voters' minds. CNN reports that while Pelosi appears uninterested in impeaching Trump, other House Democrats feel differently—along with a majority of Democratic voters, according to exit polls. The polls found 77% of Democrats supported impeachment, along with a third of independents—and 5% of Republicans. CNN notes that the total of 40% in favor of impeachment is much higher than that faced by other presidents, including Bill Clinton, "who was actually impeached."
(Read more Election 2018 stories.)

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