Just when we thought that gridlock in Congress could not get any worse, Americans must brace themselves for stalemate and political tribalism for the next two years.
While the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, the Republicans extended their buffer in the Senate, resulting in a divided Congress. Unless both sides are willing to cross party lines and make compromises— which they have not demonstrated an ability to do in recent years— it will be difficult for Congress to pass significant legislation. In coming years, it will be all the more crucial for the us-versus-them mentality on both ends of the political spectrum to take a backseat in the interests of the nation.
The House now has the power to micro investigate all areas of the Trump administration. However, this could potentially make matters worse on both sides. As ignorant as Trump is, it will be almost impossible for the Democrats to both impeach him and remove him from office, and any failed investigation could put the party under attack and make it even harder for them to win the presidency in two years.
The House should instead focus their energy on introducing productive legislation on issues such as health care and immigration reform. Though they will undoubtedly have difficulty getting bills passed, creating discussion on important issues will be a more efficient use of resources, and a much better look for the 2020 election than pushing a potentially fruitless investigation.
The election was, to an extent, a disappointing demonstration of the prevalence of a mindset that got President Trump elected two years ago. This was shown through the election of individuals like Ron DeSantis to Florida governor, who has been accused of racially charged comments, over his black opponent Andrew Gillum.
Many have speculated that the nation would see through the racism, sexism, dishonesty and irrationality that the president has demonstrated and take to the polls to express their disgust. The significant portion of the population that failed to vote against his wishes shows that the mindset Trump has perpetuated is still very much alive.
Still, the election brought reason to celebrate. A record-breaking number of women have been elected to Congress.
While this is still a significant minority of the 535 total seats in Congress, these results demonstrate that there is hope that national politics is moving away from misogyny.
The election saw several other groundbreaking victories, including Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib as the first Muslim women elected to Congress and Jared Polis as the first openly gay man elected governor of any state. These individuals should be commended, not just for their victories, but for the precedent that they have set for future elections to elect diverse leaders in larger numbers.
Ultimately, the election was neither a disaster nor a huge success for either party. What the Democrats do with their House majority has the potential to impact the nature of bipartisan politics for years to come.