Democrats Win Back House In Midterms Blow To Trump
As much as Donald Trump tries to paint the midterms as a good result, it's going to make things a lot trickier for him. But it could have been worse.
Trump has a bit to be happy about, to be fair.
The results in his first midterm elections, with the Republicans likely to pick up three Senate seats, is better than Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama did in their first midterms in 1994, 2002 and 2010 respectively.
But it's also not hard to imagine President Donald Trump crossing his fingers.
The Democrats delivered a thumping defeat to the Republicans in the House of Representatives races that will see the chamber change hands and potentially move one big step towards impeachment proceedings.
Ahead of the midterms, predictions tipped a Democrat surge with the so-called "blue wave" of support expected to dump Republicans from control of the House, and even give them a sniff at wrestling control of the Senate too.
The Dems needed to flip just 23 Republican seats (presidents lose an average of 30 every midterm over the past few decades) and coupled with Trump's own unpopularity and controversy, it was looking like a cakewalk for the Democrats.
But the prediction models soon started quivering the other way, and even the most seasoned and grizzled of political observers started sweating, minds filled with memories of November 2016 when Trump defied all tips and polls to grab the presidency.
What looked like an easy Democrat win, a mere formality, was for a few hours an actual nailbiter.
But then things tipped the other way, closer to where the models predicted.
The Republicans would not be running the House for the next two years, and Trump's agenda would not be vindicated.
Instead, the GOP would control just one of the two houses of Congress, possibly dooming America to another few years of legislative gridlock.
But the "blue wave" was not all it was tipped to be -- more like a decent swell rather than a tsunami.
The Democrats have something to celebrate, for sure, with a number of historic wins for candidates of minority backgrounds -- the Congress is set to have a number of new black, Latino, Muslim, gay and women members.
While it might be tempting to poke a bit of fun at Trump for painting the House loss as a "tremendous" result, the president's mood might be a little justified.
Despite all the efforts to mobilise voters against Trump and the president's own endless string of scandals and controversies, his 'punishment' from voters was about the same as any other president at his first midterm.
Both Clinton and Obama lost Senate seats in their first midterms, while George W picked up two in his first one.
Not a terrible result, when you look at it that way.
The Republicans probably never really had high hopes of holding the House and lost as many seats as they expected. Not a bad result either.
While both sides have a bit to crow about, it now comes down to the actual governing.
For anything to pass through both houses, it's going to take some compromise -- so the US could be in for a long few years where, possibly, not a lot gets done thanks to partisan gridlock.
The results mean it will likely be harder for Trump to do things such as build his border wall, or take action on immigration.
It also means the Democrats can use House committees to investigate any number of scandals.
And that means bad news for Trump, even before we get to the possibility (however remote) that the Democratic House majority could look to impeach him.
It's going to be a long two years, and as much as Trump tries to paint today as a good result, it's going to make things a lot trickier for him.