Here is a little quiz for you regarding the results of the November 2018 elections. I will ask three questions, and the answer to each question will be either Democrat or Republican.
Please try to use the honor system without peeking ahead. Some of the correct answers might even surprise you.
1. Which party just won more seats in the US House of Representatives?
2. Which party won more US Senate seats in this election?
3. Which party just won more Governor’s races?
1.Democrats, as you are probably aware if you paid any attention to the national news lately. Although several House races are still too close to call, it appears that Democrats will have somewhere between 233 and 235 seats in the House of Representatives in January 2019.
Considering that they held only 195 seats before the election, that is a net pickup or “flip” of somewhere between 38 and 40 seats. That makes this the largest gain for the Democrats in the House since 1974, the year that Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace because of the Watergate scandal.
2. Democrat. Surprised? Most of the focus in the national news has been on how many seats Republicans picked up or will now hold in the Senate. Depending on the results of the Mississippi runoff election this week, Republicans will post a net gain of either one or two Senate seats, bringing their total from 51 to either 52 or 53.
But Democrats were defending more Senate seats in this election cycle, and actually defended them with a higher success rate than Republicans did theirs. Thirty-five Senate seats were up for grabs in this election, and Democrats were defending 26.
They won 22 of those contests, while Republicans successfully defended seven of their nine seats. That means that Democrats had an 85 percent success rate in defending while Republicans had a 78 percent success rate.
Moreover, winning at least 24 of 35 contests means the Democrats won at least 69 percent of all Senate races in this election cycle.
3. Republican. The overall governors’ tally went to the Republicans, even though here, it was the Democrats who gained more flips. There were 36 governors races in 2018. Republicans entered the day defending 26 of those positions, and successfully defended 19 of those, while picking up one in Alaska that had been held by an Independent.
Democrats successfully defended all nine that they held coming into election day, while also picking up seven of the 26 that the Republicans had held.
Here are a few more election tidbits for you to digest. Democrats failed to defend only one of 195 seats in the U.S. House, meaning that their success rate for previously held seats was 99.5 percent. In contrast, the Republican success rate for defense of House seats was about 84 percent, depending on the results of the last several uncalled races.
And among governors in 2018, Democrats defended at a rate of 100 percent, while Republicans won only 12 of 19, a defense rate of 63 percent.
For Democrats and for the country as a whole, a majority in the House will mean greater checks and balances on President Trump, especially because of more Democratic control of House investigations.
But a stronger majority for the Republicans in the Senate will ensure that any potential impeachment proceedings against Trump or any other federal official would be unlikely to be followed up with a conviction in that upper Congressional chamber.
And new Democratic governors, especially in key swing states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, will likely mean easier access to the polls there.
Moreover, if these overall election results truly represent an expression of disfavor toward President Trump, they might portend even larger wins for the Democrats in 2020 when Republicans will have the lions share of Senate seats to defend, and when Trump himself will stand before the voters for re-election.
Assuming, of course, that he is still in office.
John McColgan writes from his home in Joseph.