It’s time to take a look at the future of the Senate as the 2018 elections draw closer and what the results could mean for both parties as well as the United States as a whole.
2018 Senate Elections
A year after the inauguration in of President Donald J. Trump, while there have been strides taken by America, there has been very little legislative success aside from the recently passed tax bill. As it stands, Republicans hold a majority in the Senate at 51 seats. However, the Trump administration has had trouble pushing much of anything through. This is largely due to lack of cooperation by multiple Republican Senators. This has been a slightly disappointing start (as far as major congressional legislation) to the current administration as Republicans, as it stands, hold the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives (246-187).
Now as we look forward to the 2018 election, we can begin to speculate on the outcomes of these elections and the future of America, more specifically Congress, for the next two years. The first major point to examine is the potential threat these elections pose to the two major parties.
The Republican Party will have 8 Senate seats up for re-election. The Democratic Party has 24 seats up for re-election. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME) are both independents running for re-election, but largely align with and caucus with the Democratic Party. The Democrats seemingly have much more to lose in this election, though these seats are overwhelming safe bets to stay blue. The GOP should be more worried by these elections as they are at high risk of losing a majority and thus blowing any chance they had at major legislation (primarily healthcare reform and the repeal of Obamacare) during the remainder of Trump’s current term in office.
Democrats have seen a strong resurgence lately and there are no signs that it will stop anytime soon. Democrat Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie in Virginia’s gubernatorial election, and Doug Jones won Alabama’s Senate seat over Roy Moore. This is largely attributed to a “resistance” of sorts to the Trump Administration. This resistance comes from those on the left while some on the right are timidly supporting it themselves.
The GOP now has seemingly split itself between establishment Republicans (i.e.; Mitt Romney) and those who believe in the “Trumpism” or “Bannonism” movement, which has led us to the point at which we currently sit. Republicans are fighting against themselves, meanwhile, Democrats slowly work to take back Washington. A recent article by CNN details how not only moderate voters and minorities supported Doug Jones, but how in a state won handily by Trump in 2016 (and Republicans as a whole in the past), Doug Jones managed to win the seat due to lack of support among Republicans. This, of course, is partly due to the sexual allegations against Moore. Though it should also worry Republicans about the amount of commitment to the party among voters.
However, while the future seems bleak for Republicans in the Senate, it is important to remember that much of the recent failure is due to Democratic backlash and not necessarily indicative of the end of the Republican Resurgence. The Republicans will most certainly recognize this and push stronger than ever to keep control of the Senate. That said, it’s hard to imagine the GOP losing the Senate in 2018.
Seats To Watch
As follows are the 5 Senate Seats I feel will be most likely to flip parties come November.
- Arizona; Often a major swing state. Trump landed Arizona in last years general election (48.08% to 44.58%). Incumbent – Jeff Flake (Republican).
- Florida; A swing state which fell blue in 2016. 48.60% (Trump) 47.61% (Clinton). Incumbent – Bill Nelson (Democrat).
- West Virginia; Trump took this state by just over 40% (67.85% vs 26.18% [Clinton]). Incumbent – Joe Manchin (Democrat).
- Missouri; Yet another state which was taken by a large margin by Trump. (56.38% vs. 37.87). Incumbent – Claire McCaskill (Democrat).
- Indiana; A state handily won by Trump in 2016 at 56.47% compared to Clinton’s 37.46%. Incumbent – Joe Donnelly (Democrat).
Of course, there are many other seats poised to potentially flip. BiPolitics Contributor, Hannah Albor, writes about the Texas seat held by Ted Cruz and how it is now threatened by Beto O’Rourke.
This link provides an interactive map detailing both the current Senate as well as allowing you to pick the which way you believe each state will go.