In case you had not heard, there was an election this past week. The Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and the Republicans maintained their control of the Senate possibly increasing their margin by one or two seats. Both sides claimed victory and said it was a great night for their parties. The Blue Wave that was predicted didn't actually materialize but Democrats did make significant gains not only in the House but managed to flip seven governor ships in crucial states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Nevada and Kansas. The governor's races in Georgia and Florida were oh so close and as a matter of fact are still being looked at with intense scrutiny.
The question now is what lessons can be learned from the 2018 mid-term elections? Former House Speaker Tip O'Neil once said that "all politics is local" and that seems to be the case in this year's election cycle. If credit is to be given for the Democrat's win in the House, I think you have to give some of that credit to the DCCC or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They helped to recruit and support a dynamic group of individuals who ran in 2018. In many cases, these individuals were indeed the best candidates in their districts and won with a positive message instead of a message of divisiveness and opposition to the status quo. I hate to point to just one house district and create a broader message but I think we have to look at the South Carolina first Congressional District for a valuable lesson. The South Carolina 1st is a district that stretches along the South Carolina coast and encompasses Hilton Head, Beaufort and Charleston.
The incumbent was tea party darling Mark Sanford who lost in the primary to Trump acolyte Katie Arrington. In the general election, Arrington tried to put a National face on the campaign aligning her opponent to Nancy Pelosi and her liberal agenda but her opponent, Joe Cunningham kept talking about issues that mattered to local constituents like the cost and access to health care, offshore drilling, voting rights and environmental conservation. Cunningham won the seat that had been solidly Republican since 1980 and a district Trump won by 13 points just two years ago.
Despite Trump's rhetoric about how much he helped candidates win, his brand of politics clearly did not resonate well with voters in a district that is more affluent and better educated than many. Trump has been a master of deflection and extremely adept at dividing this country but hopefully the electorate is beginning to realize that divisiveness only leads to governmental stagnation and the only way to move government forward is to work together for the common good.