Apart from the broad contours—the Democrats getting an upper hand in the US House of Representatives and the Republicans tightening control over the Senate—the biggest takeaway from the American mid-term results is the increased representation of women, besides many other firsts. (It was a bit of a washout though for the ‘samosa caucus’— candidates of Indian origin.) The 116th Congress will have 22-23 per cent women. Up from 105 in 2016 to 118, quite remarkably they also lend a rich, rainbow feel to the Congress—coloured women, religious minorities, Native American, LGBTQ.
Among those elected is the youngest Congresswoman, the first ever Muslim Congresswomen (two of them), the first Black Congresswomen from Massachusetts and Connecticut. There will be no less than 40 coloured women in the US Congress now. For a country yet to elect a woman president and where women in politics have been a rarity, unlike in South Asia, this indeed is a historic milestone.
A more focused look at the numbers also throws up a slightly worrying bipartisan trend. Women won mostly on the Democrat side; many of the Republican women candidates lost. This clearly mirrors the nature of the voter-base of the parties—the Democrats opening the doors to a new multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, gender-neutral generation and the Republicans staying close to a largely white, male Christian worldview of an older generation.
As an upset Trump sacked his attorney general in anticipation of trouble and investigation into his administration from a Democrat majority house, a report on Russian dalliance in the US elections is awaited. Trump did rightly point out that the Republicans under him have lost only 35-36 congressional seats compared to 50-60 the Democrat presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had lost, but the mid-term polls showed the millennial and younger voters seem to be swinging towards the Democrats, even though it was not entirely a blue sweep. How the newly elected perform would now be of vital interest.