Midterm lessons: five key takeaways from the election results

ASSOCIATED PRESS               Sharice Davids

While the nation-wide results were incomplete on Wednesday morning, the Democrats had sealed their control of the House - the lower chamber of the Congress - winning 219 seats of the 535 - and projected to gain at least 29 seats - while Republicans retained the Senate with at least 51 seats of the 100 with a gain of at least two. In West Virginia, voters turned their back on Trump and re-elected Democratic Sen.

Chairing the committees - where they are now the highest-ranking Democrats - will give these Democrats the power to demand documents and testimony from White House officials and figures in Trump's campaign team and businesses, and to issue subpoenas if needed.

However, the Democrats will now head House committees that can investigate the president's tax returns, possible business conflicts of interest and possible links between his 2016 election campaign and Russian Federation.

The Democrats could also force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions, possibly dooming his promises to fund a border wall with Mexico, pass a second major tax-cut package, or carry out his hardline policies on trade.

With Democrats now preparing for control of the House, still to be decided is if Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will return to her role as House speaker.

The Democratic House is only part of what Trump faces in the coming year.

"In a certain way, I am on the ballot", Trump declared ahead of Tuesday's elections taking up the challenge of a referendum the Democrats had thrown at his polarising leadership.

Despite the results, Trump wrote on Twitter, "Tremendous success tonight". He threw himself into the campaign, issuing warnings about a caravan of Latin American migrants headed through Mexico to the US border and condemnations of liberal American "mobs" he says oppose him. He contended that Republicans "defied history" by picking up several Senate seats in ousting incumbent Democratic lawmakers during the first national congressional elections after his 2016 presidential election. Former President Barack Obama's Democrats suffered what he called a "shellacking" in congressional elections in 2010.

The president, like former President Ronald Reagan in 1986, was mostly focused on a handful of Senate fights as Republican leaders sought to not just maintain their majority but pick up a few seats.

Financial markets often favor Washington gridlock because it preserves the status quo and reduces uncertainty, even though many in the market this time around had been hoping for a continuation of the Republican agenda. Stock futures pointed to a triple-digit gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday. House Democrats are also vowing to launch numerous investigations of Trump's finances and his administration's policies, which the USA leader said would be matched with Senate Republican probes of Democrats. "Now we can all get back to work and get things done!"

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There may be some room to work with Democrats on issues with bipartisan support such as an infrastructure improvement package or protections against prescription drug price increases.

"I don't think anyone deserves anything", Mrs. Pelosi said in response to the president's comments.

Foreign policy has been an area that Trump has approached in a very personal way, sometimes antagonizing allies such as Canada while making what critics see as unduly warm overtures to traditional rivals or foes.

A newly-empowered House Democratic committee chairman vowed on Wednesday to probe efforts by President Donald Trump for using his post to pursue what he called his own 'financial self-interest'. Rep. Ryan Costello, a Republican from Pennsylvania who announced his retirement earlier this year, tweeted his displeasure: "To deal w harassment & filth spewed at GOP MOC's in tough seats every day for 2 yrs, bc of POTUS; to bite ur lip more times you'd care to; to disagree & separate from POTUS on principle & civility in ur campaign; to lose bc of POTUS & have him piss on u".

In Florida, Congressman Ron DeSantis narrowly won his race for governor.

Russian Federation has denied interfering, and Trump has repeatedly said there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow, slamming the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt".

Another potential headache for the president is the possibility that the Democrats might begin impeachment proceedings against him - though he couldn't actually be removed from office with Republicans still in control of the Senate.

The 78-year-old Pelosi was the first woman to be House speaker, from 2007 to 2011, when Democrats last held a House majority.

As the returns came in, voters were on track to send at least 99 women to the House, shattering the record of 84 now.

The party picked up seats across the map but some of the campaign's biggest Democratic stars lost.Liberal Beto O'Rourke's underdog Senate campaign fell short in conservative Texas against Republican Ted Cruz.

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