The midterm elections of 2018 that we anticipated and dreaded for so many months have come and gone. There was more good news than the Resistance could hope for: 40 new seats for Progressives in the U.S. House of Representatives and a switch from Republican to Democratic control. In January 2019, the Democratic majority can begin to undo some of the worst actions of the Trump Administration, and stop the pile of anti-parks bills and amendments that were introduced in the House during the first two years.
Many of the winners of Congressional races across the country were women and members of minority groups that have suffered under Republican domination. Two women who are Muslims, two women who are members of American Indian tribes, and two Latinas are among the new Representatives. Having the voices of groups that were missing from the House will be a good thing. We hope their voices will add to the voices of other environmentally conscious Representatives trying to stop the takeover of our public lands by industry and agriculture interests.
The election news was not all good for public lands. Eleven of the Anti-Parks Congresspeople were up for reelection or chose to run for different offices. Of those, seven won their contests. Rob Bishop (UT-1), Mark Amodei (NV-2), Liz Cheney (WY), Louie Gohmert (TX-1), Doug Lamalfa (CA-1), and Chris Stewart (UT-2) were reelected to the House. Another, Kevin Cramer (ND), gave up his House seat and ran for the U.S. Senate, defeating incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitcamp. One man, Raul Labrador (ID-1), was forced out by accusations of illegal activities. Another, Pete Sessions (TX-32) lost his bid for reelection. The final member of the group up for reelection, Steve Pearce (NM-2), gave up his House seat and ran for governor. He lost to a Democrat - a Latina.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate did not flip from Republican to Democratic. But it was close. As of Nov. 13, 2018, the Republicans hold 51 seats and the Democrats plus two Independents hold 47 seats. Two elections have not been decided and are headed for recounts. If they both go to Democrats, then the balance of power will remain unchanged: 51 to 49. If they split, it will be 52 to 48. If they both go to Republicans, it will be 53 to 47.