UNITED STATES Republicans are on course to expand their slim 51-49 majority in the upper chamber of Congress.
Three Democratic incumbents – Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota – suffered defeat to Republican challengers.
A fourth Democrat – Bill Nelson in Florida – looks likely to be unseated, too.
Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz fended off a strong challenge by Democratic rising star Beto O’Rourke.
And Republican Marsha Blackburn became Tennessee’s first woman senator, despite an endorsement for her male Democratic challenger from pop star Taylor Swift.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, won his Senate race in Utah, as expected.
Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Bob Menendez held on after tough campaigns in West Virginia and New Jersey respectively, but it was cold comfort.
Democrats were always facing an uphill battle in the Senate this year because they were defending 26 races, while just nine Republican seats were up for grabs.
Despite his incendiary campaign warnings of an immigrant “invasion”, border security turned out to be a distant second in voters’ list of concerns to healthcare, according to CBS.
America’s partisan trenches deepen
It’s a tale of two chambers.
The door to a Democratic-controlled Senate slammed shut. Donald Trump will continue to have a Republican majority ready and willing to confirm his executive and judicial appointments. The only question now is the size of his party’s advantage.
In the House of Representatives, however, the story is different. The path of least resistance for Democrats to a majority in that chamber led through educated suburban districts that had long voted for Republicans, but contained voters that may have been uneasy with Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric.
One by one, those districts were carried by the Democrats. In Virginia, Illinois and Florida, moderate Republicans lost. In places like Colorado, New Jersey, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Texas and New York, Democrats are poised for victory.
It won’t feel like the tsunami many on the left were hoping for, but a steadily rising tide is still lifting Democrats to enough victories to give them control of the House for the first time in eight years. With that comes the ability to stop the Trump legislative agenda in its tracks and puts some teeth in congressional oversight of his administration.
The partisan trenches in America are getting deeper. And after two years in the darkness, Democrats have a means to fight back.