This article appeared in the November 07, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/07 edition

After the midterms, facing our divisions

Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP
Florida Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis answers questions from reporters with his wife, Casey, after being declared the winner of the Florida gubernatorial race at an election party Nov. 6 in Orlando, Fla.

The 2018 midterms are over. Now the battle over their meaning begins.

To Democrats they mean control of the House of Representatives and an increase in the number of Democratic governors. To Republicans they mean an expanded margin in the Senate and the defeat of some Democratic rising stars, such as Texan Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Both stories are true. Both, without the other, are incomplete. In their differences, they reflect the deep divide in US politics, a cultural and partisan gulf that preceded President Trump but now seems to be widening by the day.

The problem is the parties now reflect American social identities as much or more than preferences for budget policy or social spending. Republicans are increasingly a white working class organization with many evangelical Christian members. Democrats are becoming a coalition of more educated whites and minorities.

Add racial and religious differences to political disagreement and today’s polarized, angry country is the result.

The midterm results mean this schism of the parties will be an inescapable fact of US life, as the new Democratic House and the incumbent president rocket toward inevitable collisions. But remember, both sides’ stories are incomplete without the other’s. So long as we actually want a democracy, there is no way out of this other than facing our divisions.

Now to our five stories for today. 

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This article appeared in the November 07, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/07 edition