Friday, November 9, 2018

David Farrar: What the US results mean


House
The Democrats have taken the House. This is a big achievement and significant. Nancy Pelosi will become Speaker. They Dems will take the chairs of every committee and will be able to launch investigations of the Trump administration. They might even compel Trump’s tax returns to be published. And no laws can be passed without them now.
It is not unusual for the House to change in mid terms. Clinton lost the House in 1994, Bush lost it in 2006 and Obama lost it in 2010. But the projected net loss of 33 seats is larger than average.
Of interest is that the new Democrats tend to be more moderate. They won because they were moderate. This may put strain on the activist base who want them to impeach Trump.
There may be a silver lining in this result for Trump. He needs an enemy. Clinton was a great enemy for him. Since the election he has made the media his faux enemy. Now he may have a real enemy he can rally against – Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats. Could this help him in 2020?
But weigh against that fact that there is likely to be investigations of the Trump administration that will bring to light stuff the President would rather stay hidden. No not Russia, but all the other stuff.
Senate
The Republicans exceeded expectations, looking to gain three net seats. This is important for two reasons. The first is they are no longer vulnerable to just one or two Senators voting the other way. The second is their chances of retaining control in 2020 are better with 54 or 55 seats than 51 or 50.
In 2020 there are ten competitive seats – eight Republican held and two Democratic.
By keeping a majority Trump can still appoint Judges. That is what is most important to his base.
While the House Democratic caucus has moved to the centre the Senate Democratic caucus moves left having lost some centrists. And the Republicans have had some of their centrists retire so overall the Senate is more polarised.
Governors
A good night for the Democrats taking four or five state mansions. However they failed in Florida and Georgia and lost Ohio. But wins in Michigan and Kansas help them in 2020.
The Republicans will be very happy to have retained Florida as they need to win that in 2020.
State Houses
Not looked at this in great details but overall some good wins for the Democrats. In a few states they now hold all three branches – Governor, house and Senate. This is good timing for them as redistricting is coming up and they can gerrymander in their favour, as the Republicans are so adept at doing also.

David Farrar runs Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency, and the popular Kiwiblog. He previously worked in the Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.

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