(US midterms) Republican monopoly on power in Washington erodes

World | 7 Nov 2018 3:06 pm

US Democrats picked up at least two dozen House seats Tuesday and appeared on track to retake control of the chamber, a victory that could put a check on President Donald Trump’s agenda over the next two years and trigger a multitude of investigations into his business dealings and administration.

As one of the most volatile midterm elections in U.S. history wound down, the Democrats drew ever closer to the 218 seats needed for a majority, with dozens of races still undecided. A Democratic victory would break the Republicans’ eight-year hold on the House that began with the tea party revolt of 2010.

While the Republican Party retained control of the Senate, a win for the Democrats in the House would end the Republican Party monopoly on power in Washington and open a new era of divided government.

"Tomorrow will be a new day in America,” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a victory party in Washington.

The campaign unfolded against a backdrop of ugly rhetoric and angry debates on immigration, health care and the role of Congress in overseeing the president.

With the Democratic Party needing a net gain of 23 to take back the House, its candidates flipped seats in several suburban districts outside Washington, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago and Denver that were considered prime targets for turnover because they were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Democrats also made inroads in Trump country, where they tried to win back white working-class voters.

Midterm elections are typically difficult for the party in power, but the Republicans' hold on power was further weakened by an unusually large number of retirements as well as infighting between conservatives and centrists over their allegiance to Trump.

The Democrats, in turn, benefited from extraordinary voter enthusiasm, robust fundraising and unusually fresh candidates. More women than ever were running, along with veterans and minorities, many of them motivated by revulsion over Trump.-AP

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