With congressional approval ratings stuck in single digits, it’s no surprise that newcomers on both sides of the aisle campaigned against Congress and its ways.
But the larger political calculus is driven by the fact that most congressional seats are no longer competitive, thanks to decades of high-tech, partisan redistricting and gerrymandering.
Moreover, the battles for the remaining competitive seats are fought out – often fiercely and at great expense – in the center.
For the first time since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal era, Democrats gained seats in back-to-back elections: that’s 57 pickups in two election cycles.
With a handful of recounts pending, the head count for new members stands at 30 Democrats and 19 Republicans in the House, and six Democrats and two Republicans in the Senate. Three Senate seats and five House seats are not yet determined.
For Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the influx of more conservative Democrats has meant finding ways to accommodate views more conservative than the caucus. In the 110th Congress, she called these moderate or conservative Democrats her “majority makers.”