As the country recovers from the frenzy around this year’s historic midterm elections, advocacy groups are shifting their focus towards trying to predict what legislation in 2019 will look like. With a Democratic House, and a Republican Senate and White House, we’re likely to see legislative battles around key issues that will greatly impact the American people.
These midterms saw a record number of voter turnout, with 114 million people casting their ballots, and states having turnout rates they haven’t seen in a non-presidential election in decades. Here’s what contributed to creating the most diverse makeup of Congress in history.
Spotting Trends in the Issues and Positions of Winning Candidates
While the focus for many is on the party alignment of the winning candidates, advocacy groups are considering the issues that are likely to become key elements of the 2019 legislative agenda.
Tuesday’s Winners Will Render Opposing Majority Views on Health Care in the House and Senate
Projected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has stated drug pricing will be one of the first legislative priorities for the majority, while Democrats also support an expansion to Medicare and Medicaid to allow Americans to buy cheaper prescription drugs.
This particular problem offers the opportunity for bipartisan solutions, with Republicans and President Trump willing to work with members on both sides of the aisle. While there’s some common ground on drug pricing, health care as a whole continues to be a highly partisan issue. Democrats who support the Affordable Care Act won 27 of 43 seats in biggest swing districts in the House. On the other hand, in the Senate, candidates who won toss-up races in Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida all support the initiative to repeal the ACA—all adding significantly to the majority opinion in the Senate.
More Lawmakers in Congress Will be Aligned with Conservative Immigration Policies
Comprehensive immigration reform stood as a sensitive topic in many Congressional districts. Among the candidates who won swing districts, more than half do not support comprehensive immigration reform, a number of them are Democrats. Out of 43 districts, only 13 elected candidates who are in full support of measures like making a path to citizenship for undocumented residents and supporting DACA. In the Senate, all eight swing district winners support building a wall on the border with Mexico.
Pro-Gun Control Senators Elected in Swing States
Other hot-button issues took center stage in a number of states last night. Out of six swing states in the Senate, support for gun control among the winners is split down the middle. Senators elected from Nevada, Missouri, and Florida support gun control, while the winners in Texas, Indiana, and Tennessee do not.
Large Support for Public Education and Environmental Protections
With an eye toward what education reform may look like in the House in 2019, winners of 27 out of 43 swing districts do not support charter schools. Support among the winners for environmental protection is even stronger, with 33 of the 43 swing districts electing candidates who state that they support regulations designed to protect the environment.
The landscape of American politics changes with every election. The American people made their choice during these midterm elections, but advocacy doesn’t end at the voting booths. As grassroots organizations, companies, and citizens alike mobilize their supporters for the next two years, fighting for change just got a whole lot more interesting. At least until 2020.
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