Bucks Professor Offers His Take on the Midterms


Conner Goetz

The 2018 midterm elections have been one of the most hotly contested elections in U.S history. Featuring the predicted “blue wave” of grassroots voter support to repudiate President Trump, and historic numbers of women and minority candidates. This election has shifted U.S politics, which is especially important in the lead-up to the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

Pundits predicted that this midterm would be of huge consequence, with lucrative seats available across several house, senate and governors races. Democrats sought to use widespread resentment of the president’s agenda to turn several historically red seats blue, in a so called blue wave.

With the election results finally in, we see that this blue wave idea was validated with various levels of success. Headlining the night was the democrat’s sizable victory in the House of Representatives, where they ended the night with 233 seats and the majority.

Victories also came from Midwestern senate seats, and several governors races. While this general level of success appears to prove the blue wave hypothesis, the night was not all positive for democrats. Important progressive candidates lost across the board. Beto to Crus in the Texas senate, Abrams to Kemp for the Georgia governors contest, and Gillum to DeSantis for governor in Florida. These races were seen as bellwethers for 2020, and a test for how viable a more left wing approach would be for democrats in 2020. Conflicting results leave the road to 2020 uncertain, and with many in party leadership wondering how to proceed.

Bucks County Community College political science professor, Gregory Pezza provides several insights into the lasting impact of this election. Many bargained that the blue wave would offer a resolute rejection of the Trump administration, and would lead to a renewed effort to oppose his agenda.

Professor Pezza believes this to be the case, “any legislation he (President Trump) seeks will be mostly dead on arrival if ideas of the Democratic Party are not prominently featured.”  Opposing Trump appears to be central to the Democratic Party’s strategy going forward. Central to this idea is the protection of Robert Mueller and his investigation. Mueller has been the recent target of Trumps ire, and many believe he wishes to undermine his efforts in some fashion. While democrats may hope to ensure his safety, Professor Pezza says that “They are mostly powerless to protect the investigation unless they get Republican support”, and that Mueller is still in jeopardy.

Political commentators of all stripes are speculating on how the results of this midterm will affect the upcoming presidential election in 2020. Republicans appear unmoved, still prepared to support Trumps reelection effort. Democrats, on the other hand, are at a crossroads regarding their 2020 strategy. With a wide variety of candidates seeing different levels of success, Professor Pezza believes that the focus should be on policy.

“I think it’s less about who lost and more about what messages lost on Election Day. It appears as though Republicans who embraced some of the president’s rhetoric surrounding issues like immigration paid a heavy price in some suburban districts. Notice Congressman Fitzpatrick prevailed in Bucks County and he did not embrace some of the president’s more controversial opinions. I think both the Dems and Reps will be eyeing these suburban districts in states like PA, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, etc. and realize that the messaging to the suburbs in the suburbs in these states is essential.”

These suburban districts in historic battleground states have been looked to as indicators of larger political trends, often with local races predicting the national trend.

“There is a realignment of parties going on” Professor Pezza asserts. Ever since Trumps election in 2016 we have seen a seismic shift in American politics. Former Obama voters changing sides, a move away from the traditional role of the president, and the continued grassroots support for both parties extreme wings have created a unique political climate in the run up to 2020. Making the 2020 presidential election set to be monumental in impact, with everyone wondering who will emerge victorious. Will we see the cementation of the new conservative Trump Era? Or the grassroots left taking its place of power in national leadership? For now, all we can do its watch and wait.