Thu, Nov 08, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Democrats seize US House in midterms

No ‘BLUE WAVE’:The Republican Senate victories would end any immediate talk of impeachment, but a Democratic-led House would enjoy powers to check the presidency

AFP, WASHINGTON

JoAnn Loulan, center, reacts with her mother-in-law, Sydney Crawford, at left, on Tuesday night during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee election watch party at the Hyatt Regency in Washington after Democrats gained control of the US House of Representatives in the midterm elections.

Photo: AFP

The Democratic Party on Tuesday took control of the US House of Representatives in a midterm rebuke to US President Donald Trump, but Trump escaped a feared “blue wave” as his Republican Party bolstered their majority in the US Senate after a polarizing, racially charged campaign.

Heralded by Trump as a “tremendous success,” the Republican Senate victories would all but end any immediate talk of impeachment, even as the Democratic-led House would enjoy investigative powers to put new checks on his roller-coaster presidency.

Just after polls closed on the west coast and again early yesterday, Trump took to Twitter to hail his party’s performance and declare victory.

“Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals,” Trump wrote. “Now we can all get back to work and get things done!”

However, network projections said that the Democrats would take control of the House for the first time in eight years, upending the balance of power in Washington where Trump enjoyed an easy ride following his shock 2016 election with Republican dominance of both chambers.

Democrats were on course to flip at least 27 seats from Republican hands, with strong performances among suburban white women who had narrowly turned to Trump two years ago and in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania.

In the 100-member Senate, with final, complete results not yet tallied, news reports said that the Republicans had won at least 51 seats.

US Representative Nancy Pelosi, who is likely to return as speaker of the House, despite opposition from some centrist Democrats, promised that the party would serve as a counterweight — but also work with Trump.

“Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about restoring the constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration,” Pelosi told a news conference, but added: “A Democratic Congress will work for solutions that bring us together, because we have all had enough of division.”

Democrats would now be able to block legislation and light a fire under Trump’s feet with investigations of his opaque finances and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The rosiest expectations of some Democrats for Tuesday’s contest — that they could create a “blue wave” even when playing defense on the Senate map — proved unfounded.

Republicans were forecast to have defeated several Democratic senators in states won by Trump — Florida, Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota.

Trump boasted a growing economy, but campaigned aggressively in the closing days on a hardline anti-immigration message.

He seized on scenes of a caravan of Central American migrants heading through Mexico for the US, mused on ending the constitutional guarantee of citizenship to all people born in the US and ran a television advertisement, deemed too provocative to air by mainstream networks, that linked Democrats to a criminal who was an undocumented immigrant.

Trump also has sent soldiers to the Mexican border and threatened to have illegal immigrants shot if they throw stones.

“It’s a consequential election,” Yorgo Koutsogiogasi, a 64-year-old immigrant from Greece and CEO of a hospitality company, said as he voted in Chicago.

“Divisiveness is really tearing the country apart,” Koutsogiogasi, a Democrat, said as he voted with his wife. “I’m voting for candidates that I believe have the capacity to unite people rather than divide.”

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