One thing that was very clear when you interviewed voters around the nation who backed Donald Trump, was that they wanted to shake things up in Washington, D.C., whether it was in the White House or the Congress. The irony of the final results of Campaign 2016 was that the election did not do much at all to foster change in the halls of Congress.
While Republicans won the White House and kept control of the House and Senate on Tuesday, they did not expand their numbers – as it was not any type of ‘wave’ election.
“Some surprising things happened, but in a wave election, the party that is in a wave election doesn’t lose a half dozen House seats,” said political analyst Charlie Cook.
In the end, only a handful of seats changed hands, and that was noticed by the voters.
When compared to recent elections, the turnover in 2016 for the Congress was below average. If you go back to 2004, the average change in the House has been 61 seats for each election (14 percent).
The new Congress that convenes in January will have 57 or 58 new members – that is a 13 percent turnover.
In the Senate, the change was well below the recent average of 11 Senate seats changing hands, as only seven Senators will be new in January.
Democrats gained seats in both the House and Senate, but in limited numbers.
In the House, the GOP will have at a minimum 240 seats, depending on the outcome of a runoff in Louisiana in December.
In the Senate, Democrats have picked up two seats – one in Illinois, one in New Hampshire, leaving one seat in Louisiana still in play for a December runoff.
With the Republicans favored in Louisiana, the Republicans seem likely to have 52 seats in the Senate.
Maybe the most important number in the Senate is 60 votes, the number needed to break a filibuster. Republicans won’t be close to that in 2017.
As for the state that saw the most change, that was Florida, which elected four new House members, as two incumbents, Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) and Rep. John Mica (R-FL) were defeated.
The irony there is that the GOP lost a net of three seats in Florida, even as Donald Trump was winning that state, on his march to the White House.