The United States held mid-term elections on November 6, and the Democratic Party managed to take control of the House of Representatives, while Donald Trump’s Republicans have retained control of the US Senate.
Americans voted for all the 435 seats in the House last night, while only a third of the Senate seats were included in this race, in a setup that made it very hard for Democrats to have any chance of winning the Senate –they had to defend 26 seats in the chamber, 10 of which were in states that Trump won in 2016, while only nine Republican seats were up for grabs.
In fact, three Democratic incumbents in the senate were defeated by Republicans (in Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota). Democrats flipped the Senate seat in Nevada.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas managed to obtain a narrow win over his Democrat challenger Beto O’Rourke, who put up a strong fight in a state that Cruz would usually win in a landslide.
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has won his race in Utah and will join the Senate.
In the House, however, projections by Reuters show that Democrats will end up with a net 26 new seats. The party needed to pick up at least 23 to gain control of the chamber for the first time since the 2010 mid-term election.
New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will become the youngest ever congresswoman, at 29 years old.
Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas and Debra Haaland from New Mexico are set to become the first Native American women elected to Congress. Davids is also the first openly gay representative from Kansas.
Democrats also won governorships in Michigan, Illnois, Kansas, Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin.
This election was widely seen as a “referendum on Trump” – but the president wrote “Tremendous success tonight” on Twitter early in the night.
With a House majority, Democrats may be able to force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions. They will also have the power to investigate Trump’s tax returns, possible business conflicts of interest and allegations involving his campaign’s links to Russia.
A simple House majority would be enough to impeach Trump if evidence surfaces that he obstructed justice or that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. But Congress could not remove him from office without a conviction by a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Voters in 37 states also voted on a total of 157 ballot measures on Election Day, the results of which will affect wide-ranging aspects of people’s daily lives in those states — touching upon issues like gun control, marijuana use, healthcare or anti-discrimination measures. Through a historic ballot measure, Florida will allow up to 1.4 million ex-felons to regain their voting rights.