Our view: What emerged from mid-term? Progress
When we sift the rubble that remains from the 2018 midterm elections, what emerges? That democracy, equality and diversity exist and perhaps that all three improved.
Republicans maintained their majority in the United States Senate and Democrats will take over in the House of Representatives. This is good for democracy.
Prior to Tuesday, the GOP had a 51-49 majority in the Senate, but increased that lead to at least 53 seats with Kevin Cramer's win over Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, plus Republican victories in Missouri and Indiana. A 54th seat appears likely with a win in Florida by Rick Scott, although his razor-thin victory is headed for a recount.
The Cramer victory over Heitkamp means North Dakota's federal delegation will be solely Republican — the first time that has happened since 1958. We aren't bothered by an all-GOP delegation, since North Dakota grows more conservative every day, evidenced by recent presidential votes and Republican supermajorities in the Legislature.
In the House, Democrats needed to gain 24 seats to take back control and that happened, meaning single-party rule in Washington is over for the near future. While this development certainly won't do much to alleviate Beltway gridlock, it's good because the nation is not best served when a single party holds complete power.
It may be hard to believe because this midterm election was contentious and, at times, divisive nationwide, but this week's election results signify political health — yes, health — and restores the original construction of American politics. The idea of the founding fathers was that the branches of government shall check and balance each other. We're closer to that ideal today than we were a week ago.
Another development good for democracy: The number of women in Congress has risen to a record. When the 116th Congress convenes in January, there will be at least 95 women in the House and 13 in the Senate. The current number is 107 and the climb continues a progression that has seen a rise from fewer than 50 in 1990.
Ethnic and age diversity progressed, too. In Minnesota, Ilhan Omar won her race and is the first Somali woman in Congress. In New Mexico, Deb Haaland beat an incumbent and will be the first American Indian woman in Congress. In New York, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia are the first Latina women elected to Congress in Texas.
In Iowa, Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne both earned wins and will become that state's first women elected to the House of Representatives. Also in Iowa, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds won her election and will became that state's first woman governor. South Dakota, too, will have its first woman governor after U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem was elected Tuesday.
So what comes from 2018's mid-term election? Progress.
North Dakota's congressional delegation is entirely red for the first time in a half-century, probably squaring up with the state's obvious move toward the right.
Nationally, democracy and diversity were winners Tuesday, since Republicans held the Senate, Democrats gained control of the House and a record number of women won seats in Congress.