US midterm elections: It's a win regardless of which party you ask

Supporters cheers as US President Donald Trump arrives at a Make America Great Again rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on Nov 5, 2018.
Supporters cheers as US President Donald Trump arrives at a Make America Great Again rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on Nov 5, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI, FLORIDA - Both parties hailed the results of Tuesday's (Nov 6) midterm elections as a victory, with Democrats signalling that they would use their newly-gained control of the House to act as a check on the Trump administration.

Republicans too claimed the results as a win, casting their widened Senate majority as a major success and warning Democrats against any attempts to impeach the President.

President Donald Trump declared the night a "tremendous success" on Twitter.

 

He also called Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to congratulate him on the "historic Senate gains", press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at the White House.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi - who may become the new Speaker - said at an election watch party: "Tomorrow will be a new day in America."

"Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans," she said. "It's about restoring the Constitution's checks and balances to the Trump administration."

Ms Pelosi also said that the Democrat agenda would include stopping the Republican party's "assault" on healthcare policies.

Other Democrat leaders adopted a similar line, with Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez calling their taking control of the House for the first time since 2010 a win for democracy.

"Now it's time to get to work restoring sanity to our government, holding Trump accountable & working to build a better future for our country," he added on Twitter.

Democrat congressman Adam Schiff, who will likely become the next chair of the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC in an interview that Congress would once again undertake its role of conducting oversight of the Trump administration, and that it would do so responsibly.

He accused the Republicans of abdicating this responsibility when they headed the intelligence committee, and talked about seeing through and protecting the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Said Mr Schiff: "I think the chances that Bob Mueller will be able to finish his work improved."

Ms Pelosi, however, also sought to assuage fears of government gridlock and called for bipartisanship.

In her victory speech, she said that Democrats had a "responsibility to find our common ground when we can, stand our ground where we can".

"We'll have a... bipartisan marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy strong," she added.

Earlier in an interview with PBS NewsHour before polls had closed, Ms Pelosi said she was not in favour of impeaching the President - something that the Democrats can do now that they are in control of the House.

"It depends on what happens in the Mueller investigation. But that is not unifying," she said. "If that happens, it would have to be bipartisan and the evidence would have to be so conclusive," she said.

 
 
 
 

Ms Sanders, in an early evening interview with Fox News, similarly said the House should focus more on legislation than investigation.

"I believe that's what should happen," she said. "I think that's what America wants to see."

Added Ms Sanders: "If the Democrats take the House, they shouldn't waste time investigating. They should focus on doing what the people have put them there to do."

She noted President Trump's role in hitting the campaign trail to stump for candidates, saying: "The candidates who embraced the President and whom the President has gone in to campaign for over the past several weeks are candidates we see doing very well tonight."

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham also said in a separate Fox News interview that Mr Trump "has a lot to be proud of in terms of creating the enthusiasm" in red states like Indiana which voted out incumbent Democrat senators, widening the GOP's majority.

"Without him, I don't think we would have had the night we had," said Mr Graham.

He also said that the Republican Senate would continue its push to confirm conservative judges to the courts, saying: "The conservative judicial train will keep running."

Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, who did not run for re-election, noted the historical trend that "a party in power always faces tough odds in its first midterm election".

He called for bipartisanship in a statement, saying: "We don't need an election to know that we are a divided nation, and now we have a divided Washington.

"As a country and a government we must find a way to come together to find common ground and build on the successes of this Congress."