What the Unusual Midterm Elections Mean for Climate Action
The midterm elections saw a sharp shift in the balance of power in the House of Representatives, with Republicans holding a substantial majority and with the Democrats holding a much smaller, but still significant, majority in the Senate. With the Democratic majority in the House, the next administration faces an even bigger challenge in addressing the climate crisis than in the first two years of Donald Trump’s administration.
On the House side, the Republican majority made considerable gains. While the party won just three of the 435 House seats, they picked up more than 1,000 seats, increasing their total to 232 (53.5 percent). In contrast, the Democratic Party lost more than 1,000 seats. The largest losses were in the North Dakota and Georgia races. This translates into a net gain of 48 House seats for Democrats in total, an increase of 6.5 net seats from the 2014 election, which was when the party won 239 seats.
The net gain by the Democrats was far less impressive in the Senate. The Democrats’ net gain was just 3 net seats. This is a small increase from the net gain of 9 net seats to 17 seats in 2014. The Democratic gains in the Senate are similar to the gains made by the Democrats in the House, although the latter represent a greater net gain of 9 seats, or an increase of 7.8 net seats from 2014. In other words, the Republicans are more likely to hold the Senate in 2020, after the midterm elections.
The 2018 Elections Undermine the Trump Administration’s Progress Toward Climate Action
The 2018 elections reinforced a trend that has become all too familiar for those who support ambitious climate action. Despite the election to the House of Representatives, the Trump administration is not advancing on the important issue of climate action. For example, on the topic of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Trump administration has adopted a position that is far more conservative than what was presented by President Barack Obama on the day he was inaugurated.