Vox Sentences: So what happens now?

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Here’s the state of play following Tuesday’s elections; Turkey’s president defies US sanctions imposed on Iran.


What Tuesday’s elections mean for Democrats, and Trump

Beto O’RourkeChip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Election night 2018 ended in a divided Congress: Democrats were successful in gaining 27 GOP-held House seats as of Wednesday afternoon, controlling the lower chamber of Congress, while Republicans expanded their Senate majority by picking up seats in Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota. [Vox live results]
  • It was a year of historic voter turnout for a non-presidential election, but the hoped-for blue wave was relatively small. Compared to the GOP’s massive gain of 63 House seats in 2010, Democrats, facing an unfavorable map, eked out a thin majority. However, data suggests an overall trend in their favor — a total of 313 districts swung to Democrats on Tuesday. [NYT]
  • The consequences are potentially huge: Democrats have long vied for transparency from President Donald Trump, and now they finally have the numbers to see their demands through. The party has a list of subpoenas ready to challenge the administration on issues including Trump’s tax returns, Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election, the US’s response to Hurricane Maria, Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s possible perjury in his confirmation hearings, and more. [CNN / Lauren Fox, Jeremy Herb, and Manu Raju]
  • Democrats will also have an opportunity to show the country their policy vision for the future. The party badly wants leaders to chart an unabashedly progressive path that includes Medicare-for-all, a $15 minimum wage, and a green jobs bill. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • However, now that Democrats are in the spotlight, it means they are more vulnerable to attacks from the president. For Trump, who has a proven record of narrative-building and blame-shifting, the opposition party is the perfect scapegoat for poor policy decisions and possible government shutdowns — and may even serve as the ideal foundation for his 2020 reelection campaign. [Washington Post / Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey]
  • While the GOP’s legislative agenda may now be effectively dead in the water, Democrats still have little recourse against Mitch McConnell’s real top priority: confirming as many judges as possible. [Vox / Li Zhou]
  • In any case, the geography for 2020 has been set. Now it’s up to the Democratic victors, most in House districts that Hillary Clinton won, to engage with their electorate to build on Tuesday’s success in the next election. [Axios / Alexi McCammond]

Turkey’s Erdogan condemns US sanctions on Iran

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he’ll defy the sanctions the United States imposed on Iran this week, saying they are unfair and risk unbalancing the world order. [WSJ / David Gauthier-Villars]
  • His comments come just days after the new sanctions took effect, aiming to isolate the country’s banking sector and slash its oil exports. Turkey is among eight nations that have received a waiver from the US to continue importing Iranian oil without consequences. [Al Jazeera]
  • Erdogan’s strong stance, though, may serve as a setback in Turkey’s recent efforts to diffuse tension with Washington. The countries’ relationship took a major hit during their separate investigations into the disappearance of journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, whom Saudi Arabia later admitted was murdered at its consulate in Istanbul. [Reuters / Gulsen Solaker]
  • Ankara-Washington relations have also been strained due to a failed coup that was launched in Turkey in July 2016, and to the jailing of US pastor Andrew Brunson in the country (though he has since been released). [Middle East Eye]

Miscellaneous

  • President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday. His replacement is expected to take charge of the Mueller probe. [CNN / Laura Jarrett]
  • Harvard professors suggest Oumuamoua, a cigar-shaped interstellar object that whizzed past the sun last year, could be an alien probe. [Guardian]
  • Among Oprah’s “Favorite Things,” an annual list of items she compiles ahead of the winter holidays, are a $168 adult onesie and a $199 foot massager that reportedly left her “seeing fireworks.” [Page Six / Emily Kirkpatrick]
  • It appears the “Taylor Swift effect” was unsuccessful in Tuesday’s elections, as the Democratic candidate the pop star endorsed for Senate in Tennessee lost, raising questions about celebrity endorsements and their power to engage voters. [Atlantic / Spencer Kornhaber]

Verbatim

“He … took a jump into a pond infested with big crocodiles.”

[A 23-year-old man was injured after breaking into an alligator farm in Florida and jumping into a pond full of crocodiles; inside the enclosure, police found men’s shorts — and a pair of Crocs / AP]


Watch this:

The 2018 midterms were huge for women candidates. [YouTube / Danush Parvaneh and Madeline Marshall]


Read more

The midterm elections revealed that America is in a cold civil war

Trump’s free ride from Congress just ended

How to succeed in business by being a Taylor Swift fan

What does Jeff Sessions’s ouster mean for Robert Mueller? Here are 3 scenarios.

Governors could drive the next wave of climate change action