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A divided Congress, a divided America

Democrats on Tues...

Posted: Nov 7, 2018 6:22 PM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 6:22 PM

Democrats on Tuesday captured the House of Representatives and are set to exert a major institutional check on President Donald Trump, while breaking the Republican monopoly on power and ushering in a younger, more female and more racially diverse political generation.

But the GOP solidified their Senate majority after an acerbic midterm election that enshrined America's deep divides and shaped a highly contentious battleground for the stirring 2020 presidential race.

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The opposite trends in the House and the Senate underscored a political and cultural gulf among diverse and affluent liberals living in big cities and their suburbs and the mostly, white, working class and rural conservative bloc of voters for whom Trump remains an iconic figure.

In his first reaction to a mixed night, Trump chose to celebrate Republican successes even though the loss of the House meant his record of busting political convention could not defy the traditional first-term midterm curse faced by many of his predecessors.

"Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!" he tweeted.

More reaction is sure to come from Trump as he is scheduled to hold a news conference at 11:30 a.m. ET in the East Room of the White House.

But the new Democratic House will pose a perilous problem for the President, who must now brace for the novel experience of oversight from Capitol Hill with Democratic committee chairs promising constraints on his power that the GOP never attempted.

Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker who is in position to lead again, pledged that the new majority would work to rein in the White House as well as to improve health care, lower the cost of drugs and protect millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.

"Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans. It is about restoring the Constitution's checks and balances to the Trump administration," Pelosi said.

Democrats could win more than 30 seats in the House, above the net gain of 23 seats that they needed to take control for the first time in eight years. But they lost significant ground in the Senate, losing incumbents in Missouri and Indiana and North Dakota, where Trump is still wildly popular. With several races too close to call, the GOP advantage was expected to grow.

And liberal hearts were broken in several closely fought marquee races, including Andrew Gillum's failure to become Florida's first African-American governor and rising star Beto O'Rourke's failed bid to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. O'Rourke's narrow defeat, however, proved his ability to compete even in conservative territory and he will get buzz as a potential 2020 presidential candidate.

Democrats dare to dream again

Two years after the trauma of Trump's shock defeat of Hillary Clinton, Democrats could dare to dream again.

They won the House, which will change hands for the third time in 12 volatile years, by performing strongly in suburban areas where Trump's flaming rhetoric is toxic. They also attracted a higher proportion of younger voters than at the last midterm elections four years ago and will change the face of Washington.

"We have the beginning of a new Democratic Party, younger, browner, cooler, more women, more veterans, can win in Michigan, can win in Pennsylvania, can win in Ohio," said Van Jones, a CNN political commentator.

"It may not be a blue wave, it's a rainbow wave," he said.

One potential pitfall for Democrats will be to hold Trump to account without being seen as overreaching. After all, some presidents, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, had tough midterm elections but leveraged attacks by Capitol Hill foes to help them win re-election. Trump, who loves nothing more than to identify new enemies, will be a formidable opponent.

Within minutes of their victory being confirmed, other Democrats were already threatening to go after Trump and to probe his business interests, including his tax returns.

Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who is slated to steer the House Judiciary Committee, warned that the election was about accountability for Trump.

"He's going to learn that he's not above the law," Nadler told CNN.

The race they ran

The contradictory message sent by voters on Tuesday night recalls Clinton's win in the popular vote but defeat in the Electoral College and underlines the split down the middle of American politics.

Republicans performed strongly in the deep red states where Trump mounted a frenetic final campaign blitz and proved that despite his low approval rating he remains a potent political force among conservatives.

In nearly every state with a key contested Senate or governor's race, the President had a positive approval rating over 50%, according to CNN's preliminary exit poll data.

Keeping hold of the Senate is especially important for Trump, since it will allow him and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell to press on with one of his major legacy-building initiatives, restocking the federal judiciary with conservatives.

Tuesday's Senate victory marks another triumph for the canny Kentuckian, follow his piloting of Trump's two nominees onto the Supreme Court to construct what could be a generational conservative majority.

Still, Trump will also have to answer for a scorched-earth campaign on immigration in the final days that might have helped tip the House to Democrats, even if he can argue that his magnetism helped push other candidates, such as Rep. Ron DeSantis, who won the Florida gubernatorial race, across the finish line.

Other Trump favorites include Marsha Blackburn, who will capture the Tennessee Senate race, and Mike Braun, who defeated the incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana. Trump also helped topple another foe, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri.

The loss of the House spells the end of a political era for Republicans who rode into town on a Tea Party wave whipped up by fury over Obamacare and huge government spending in the wake of the Great Recession.

The Republican majority will leave town with Obamacare still the law of the land and with a deficit going through the roof on the back of GOP tax cuts.

In theory, the new Democratic majority would have the capacity to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump, should there be sufficient grounds uncovered in Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation. Though the Republican gains in the Senate make it even less likely that there would be a two-thirds majority needed to convict a president and evict him from office.

But if they take a cautious approach, Democrats could face a backlash from their own base voters who have been electrified in opposition to Trump. In exit polls, 77% of self-identified Democrats supported impeachment.

What is next for Trump?

Much will depend on how Trump reacts to what is undeniable a rebuke from voters two years into a presidency that has unfolded in institutional chaos, torn at racial and cultural divides and often trampled on truth and facts.

Given his history and personality, it seems unlikely the President will reflect on the cultural warfare that he waged in the dying days of the campaign and change his approach. Indeed, he may conclude that exactly that kind of approach was behind a better-than-expected GOP performance in Senate races.

But critics will argue that his incessant concern with bolstering the support of his most vehement supporters and angry tirades risks deepening the damage suffered among college-educated female voters especially, in a way that could severely compromise his hopes of winning re-election in two years.

The President watched the results after having dinner with his family in the residence of the White House.

He was joined by Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and the President's ex-campaign aides, David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, a source familiar with the guest list said.

Two other sources close to the White House said that Trump is already blaming retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan for the loss of the House.

"He is really angry at Ryan," one source said, on "everything."

Drew Hammill, an aide to Pelosi, tweeted Tuesday evening that the President called Pelosi at 11:45 p.m. ET "to extend his congratulations on winning a Democratic House Majority."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
Lafayette209239
Lauderdale2007124
Bolivar179565
Oktibbeha175450
Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
Grenada106235
Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
Adams92136
Wayne87721
Pearl River86750
Marion84133
Prentiss81517
Covington80922
Alcorn77511
Itawamba77021
Newton75923
Tallahatchie75718
George75113
Winston72519
Tishomingo66137
Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
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