Democrats have regained control of the House from President Donald Trump’s Republican Party in the midterm elections, powered by a suburban revolt that has threatened what’s left of the president’s governing agenda. But the GOP added to its Senate edge and prevailed in some key races for governor Tuesday, beating back the potential of big Democratic gains across the board. The “blue wave” that some had feared from Election Day never fully materialized. The mixed verdict in the first nationwide election of Trump’s presidency showed the limits of his hard-line immigration rhetoric in America’s evolving political landscape, where college-educated voters in the suburbs rejected his warnings of a migrant “invasion.” But blue-collar voters and rural America embraced his aggressive talk and stances. The new Democratic House majority will end Republican dominance in Washington for the final two years of Trump’s first term with major questions looming about health care, immigration and government spending.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who would be in line to become the next speaker, spoke of “a new day in America.” Trump, in a tweet, said that “in all fairness” Pelosi “deserves” to return to her former role as speaker, despite some rumblings in her party. “She has earned this great honor!” But the Democrats’ edge is narrow. With 218 seats needed for a majority in the 435-member Houses, Democrats have won 220 and the Republicans 193, with winners undetermined in 22 races. Trump was expected to address the results at a postelection news conference scheduled for midday Wednesday.
The president’s party will maintain control of the executive branch of the government, in addition to the Senate. But Democrats suddenly have a foothold that gives them subpoena power to probe deep into Trump’s personal and professional missteps — and his long-withheld tax returns. Early Wednesday, Trump warned Democrats against using their new majority to investigate his administration. “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level,” Trump tweeted, “then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!” It wasn’t clear what “leaks” he was referring to.