After the 2018 mid-terms

Written by  //  November 15, 2018  //  Politics, U.S.  //  No comments

Credit Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times
6 November
Two Years After Trump’s Victory, Voters Erect an Impediment to His Power
(NYT) … the days of one-party control in Washington are now over. President Trump’s strength in rural areas kept the Senate in Republican control, but voters in urban and suburban districts across the country sent the White House a clear message: They want a check on the president.
When the new Congress is sworn in this January, Democrats will be able to curb Mr. Trump’s legislative ambitions and, armed with subpoena power, flex their oversight muscles to initiate investigations into allegations of misconduct by the president and his administration. If the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, finds substantial evidence of illegal conduct during the 2016 election, he now will have a receptive wing of government to pursue his findings.
But after eight years in the minority, Democrats hoping to reclaim the White House in 2020 will also have to prove they are interested in governing — and temper the liberal ambitions of the party’s most ardent left-wingers.
Democratic leaders have already said they plan to use their first month in the House majority to advance sweeping changes to future campaign and ethics laws, including outlawing the gerrymandering of congressional districts and restoring key enforcement provisions to the Voting Rights Act. They also intend to press for infrastructure investment and legislation to control the climbing costs of prescription drugs — initiatives that will test whether Mr. Trump is willing to work with them.

15 November
Democrats Pick Off Another Republican House Seat in California
(NYT) Democrats have now captured three of the four congressional seats in Orange County, a region that for a generation was a symbol of Republican power. The victory by Ms. Porter means California Democrats have won five of the seven Republican seats they identified as targets this year.
It appears the only successful Republican in the group is Representative David Valadao in Central California, who was declared a winner, though his lead over his Democratic challenger, T.J. Cox, has been shrinking as vote counting continues. The deadline for completing the count is Dec. 7
One House race in California remained too close to call on Thursday night: a contest between Young Kim, a Republican, and Gil Cisneros, a Democrat, to replace Representative Ed Royce, a Republican who did not seek re-election.
Recount Ordered in Florida Senate Race as Governor’s Contest Nears End

12 November
Kyrsten Sinema Declared Winner in Arizona Senate Race
Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat and former social worker, scored a groundbreaking victory in the race for a Senate seat in Arizona, defeating her Republican opponent after waging a campaign in which she embraced solidly centrist positions, according to The Associated Press. Ms. Sinema’s victory over Martha McSally, a Republican congresswoman and former Air Force pilot, marks the first Democratic triumph since 1976 in a battle for an open Senate seat in Arizona. Ms. Sinema takes the seat being vacated by Jeff Flake, a Republican.

AP fact check: Trump’s rhetoric on voter fraud is misleading
(PBS) Facing closely contested election races in Florida and Arizona, President Donald Trump is spreading misleading rhetoric regarding voting fraud.
He says votes are suspiciously appearing “out of the wilderness” in Arizona after Election Day to boost the Democratic candidate in the Senate race. It’s actually typical for the state to take additional days after an election to finish tabulating mail-in votes.
(NYT Opinion) Count the ballots. The most immediate threats to democracy are in Florida and Georgia, where it remains unclear whether the states are counting all of the ballots cast in this year’s elections. Yesterday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit in Gwinnett County, Georgia, because of uncounted absentee ballots. “Many of these ballots are from Black, Latino and other voters of color,” writes Kristen Clarke, president of the committee.

10 November
Florida’s Secretary of State Orders Recount
(Daily Beast) Florida’s secretary of state on Saturday ordered recounts in both the gubernatorial and Senate races, the Associated Press reports. Secretary Ken Detzner issued the order after updated unofficial results in both races fell within the margin of .5 percent or lower requiring a recount by law. The results showed Republican Gov. Rick Scott with a 0.16 percent lead over Democrat Bill Nelson in the Senate race, and Republican Ron DeSantis with a 0.42 percent lead over Democrat Andrew Gillum in the governor’s race. Moments after the news broke, President Trump, apparently in reaction to the news, tweeted, “Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We’re watching closely!”
Marco Rubio: Democrats Are Trying to Steal Florida Senate Race by Counting All the Votes
(New York) If ballot design produced the undercount, then nothing can be done to rectify the error. But it is also possible that vote-processing machines in Broward suffered a technical glitch that caused them not to read Senate votes that were properly marked on paper ballots — and if that is the case, then a recount would very likely tip the Senate race to Nelson.
For this and other reasons, lawyers for Nelson and Gillum decided to call on the state of Florida to honor its statutory obligation to perform a recount.
In response, Florida senator Marco Rubio decided to accuse the Democratic Party of conspiring with Broward County election officials to illicitly overturn the will of the electorate, and illegitimately install Bill Nelson into the U.S. Senate.

9 November
Here’s Where Things Stand in the Midterms’ Unresolved Races
(Bloomberg) Senate Republicans are a lock to retain control of the upper chamber, but their margin of victory remains in doubt and may not be established for weeks. The final outcome has implications for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ability to smooth the way for President Donald Trump’s nominations as well as the size of the hurdle Democrats would have to clear to retake the chamber in 2020.

8 November
Well After Election Day, Florida and Georgia Voters Still Wonder Who Won
Two days after Election Day, the 31 million residents of Georgia and Florida still could not say for sure who had won three of their marquee political contests. Razor-thin and shrinking leads in the vote tallies on Thursday unleashed hordes of lawyers, talk of recounts and runoffs, and the kind of bickering over ballots that brought back memories of the 2000 presidential contest.
The two states’ races for governor and Florida’s Senate race hung in the balance, and the stress was palpable for politicians and voters alike.
Officials were still counting absentee, provisional and overseas ballots, and the partisan camps were disputing how to go about it and whether those votes could still change the outcome — even in the race between Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum for governor of Florida, which Mr. DeSantis seemed on Tuesday night to have won.
Mr. Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, conceded shortly before The Associated Press called the race for Mr. DeSantis on Tuesday night, when he was ahead by more than a percentage point. But the margin of victory has since shrunk to 0.44 points — small enough to require a machine recount under Florida law — and there were still ballots to count.
In Florida’s Senate race, just 15,175 votes were separating the front-runner, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, from the Democratic incumbent, Senator Bill Nelson, on Thursday evening, out of more than eight million cast. At just 0.18 percentage points, Mr. Scott’s margin had become so narrow that a more thorough manual recount is required.

7 November
(The Atlantic) Postmortem: Which party was most successful in pushing their candidates—and policies—in the 2018 midterms? Depends on who you ask. “Lost?” one GOP strategist boasted to McKay Coppins. “What are you talking about? We may have our largest Senate majority in history.” Meanwhile, Democrats picked up seven governor’s seats—though they fell short of what they’d hoped for. And voter turnout this year was high, with celebrities like Taylor Swift stepping out to encourage first-time voters. But will these voters stay engaged?

In setback for Trump, Democrats seize U.S. House control
(Reuters) – Democrats rode a wave of dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, giving them the opportunity to block Trump’s agenda and open his administration to intense scrutiny.
Trump and his fellow Republicans expanded their majority in the U.S. Senate following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race, immigration and other cultural issues.
But with his party losing its majority in the House, the results represented a bitter setback for Trump after a campaign that became a referendum on his leadership. With some races still undecided, Democrats appeared headed to a gain of more than 30 seats, well beyond the 23 they needed to claim their first majority in the 435-member House in eight years.
This Was a Great Night, Democrats: Retaking the House Is Huge
The Democratic takeover now means Robert Mueller has protection. Mr. President, you want to fire him? Okay. The House Democrats can hire him.
(Daily Beast) Democrats will hold the committee gavels. Bye-bye, Devin Nunes at the intelligence committee. Hello, Adam Schiff. So long, Bob Goodlatte at Judiciary. Welcome, Jerry Nadler. Sayonara, Kevin Brady of Ways and Means. Hand the gavel to Richard Neal of Massachusetts, who told the media before it was even official that the Democrats would capture the majority that he is going to seek to get President Trump’s tax returns. Financial Services is going to Maxine Waters! I guess Trump’s about to find out what her IQ really is.

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