Tags: 2018 Midterm Elections | watergate | democrats | house | majority | blue wave

Final Midterm Tally: Biggest Dem House Gains Since Watergate

republican representative david valadao tilts his head slightly left and smiles
Defeated Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Wednesday, 28 November 2018 10:33 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The final results Wednesday night in the last House race to be decided left Republicans from the West Coast to Washington shell-shocked.

The wafer-thin win (529 votes) of Democrat T.J. Cox in California's 21st District (Central Valley) means Democrats made a net gain of 40 House seats in 2018 – the most seats they picked up since the so-called "Watergate Year" of 1974 (when Democrats took 49 seats from House Republicans following the political scandal that resulted in the resigntion of President Richard Nixon).

So, the make-up of the incoming House will be 235 Democrats to 200 Republicans. In terms of California, engineering Cox's defeat of three-term Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., means Republicans will hold only seven of the Golden State's 53 U.S. House seats. That is the fewest number of Republican Representatives from California since 1949 (when the delegation had only 23 seats).

The immediate question pondered by pundits and pols is whether the incoming class of House Democrats will move their majority to the left in the same way the "Watergate Class" did with the ruling House Democrats in 1974.

At that time, with younger and more outspoken Democrats leading the way, the House cut off any U.S. aid to South Vietnam as that country was falling to the Communist North. In addition, the Democratic House was promoting a greater domestic spending agenda – much of which was stopped by vetoes from Republican President Gerald Ford.

So, will the House Democrats of 2018 try to pursue a decidedly left-of-center agenda as the "Watergate Class" in the House did after 1974?

"Probably not," Henry Olsen, political scientist and Senior Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, told Newsmax. "Going into 1974, Democrats already had majorities in both Houses of Congress and the elections left Republicans with less than 40 seats in the Senate and only 143 in the House. Less than 20 percent of the country said they thought of themselves as Republicans."

The Watergate Class, concluded Olsen, "thought they were on the cusp of history. This class is less powerful and probably – [New York's radical Rep.-elect] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez excepted – more self-aware."

Veteran political analyst Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute agreed.

"I see this class of House Democrat as pragmatic, although on the balance progressive," he told us. "Not all will push for the moon and the stars. It's not clear yet who among them will rise to leadership. I think Nancy Pelosi will manage them well, very cognizant of their viewpoints and also their electoral needs."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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After the final result came in for a Democrat unseating a Republican in California, Democrats have completed the biggest House gains since Watergate, Newsmax's John Gizzi reports.
watergate, democrats, house, majority, blue wave
Wednesday, 28 November 2018 10:33 PM
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