The Recent Congressional Election and Its’ Significance in American Politics


Shannon Sutherland, Writer

2018 marked a historical and heated Congressional election, the outcome of which has significant political implications for the next two years of legislation, and give an insight into how America may vote in the 2020 Presidential Election.

In the 2018 Congressional Election, one third of Senate seats were up for election as well as the entire House of Representatives. The Senate, also with a republican majority before the election, managed to maintain that majority and remains controlled by the same party as President Trump. The House of Representatives, which previously had a majority of republicans, now has a democratic majority.

What does this mean for America’s political landscape moving forward?

This new democratic majority in the House of Representatives is likely going to make it more difficult for legislation to be passed into law for the next two years than it has been under a Congress and President all belonging to the same party. Bills need to be approved by both Houses of Congress as well as the President (unless Congress overrides a veto), and achieving this approval from all three entities will be more difficult for both Democratic and Republican bills. Passing legislation with a divided Congress often requires bipartisanship and the setting aside of fiery party politics.

The election of a democratic House of Representatives following a republican majority also has implications for the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. A shift by American voters towards democratic Congressional representatives indicates some level of discontentment with the current Republican leadership in Congress and the White House. This could prove to be a powerful force in favor of democratic presidential candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, and Kamala Harris. This type of foreshadowing in American politics is not uncommon. For example, the 2006 Congressional elections yielded a Democratic Congress under the Republican President George W. Bush, which foreshadowed the election in 2008 of the democratic Barack Obama. Then, the Congressional election of 2016 yielded a republican majority under the democratic president. The last two decades have shown a pattern of the preceding congressional election results to foreshadow the following presidential election results. The upcoming 2020 presidential election will tell us whether that pattern holds true and is guaranteed to be an intense race.