Around the halls: Brookings scholars react to the 2018 midterms

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With the results of the midterm elections (mostly) in, we asked Brookings scholars for their reactions to what happened and their reflections on what will come next in U.S. politics and policy. You can read each of them below:
Intensified polarization, by Darrell M. West
Hidden moderation, by John J. DiIulio
Education policy from the top to the bottom of the ballot, by Elizabeth Mann Levesque
Economic Issues May Take Center Stage in 2020, by Isabel Sawhill
Legislative stalemate, by Sarah Binder
An extreme minority, by Molly Reynolds
The stolen Georgia election, by Nicol Turner Lee
The most important takeaway from the 2018 midterm elections, by Thomas Mann
What’s not the matter with Kansas, by Jonathan Rauch
Obstruction and collusion, by Norman Eisen
Intensified polarization
Gridlock is a safe prediction after this week’s congressional elections. With Republicans holding a Senate majority and Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives, it is hard to imagine serious legislation taking place. The Democratic priorities of protecting the Affordable Care Act, building an inclusive economy, and passing tough ethics rules will run headlong into the GOP focus on confirming conservative judges, being tough on immigration, and protecting President Donald Trump’s flank during new House investigations. The political parties have such different electoral bases and policy visions right now that hyper-partisanship and extreme polarization are likely to intensify in the coming year.
In my forthcoming Brookings book Divided Politics, Divided Nation: Hyperconflict in the Trump Era, I explain how politics became a “blood sport” over the past 40 years and why liberals and conservatives no longer trust one another. I draw on my experiences growing up in a conservative rural Ohio community, teaching in the liberal Ivy League, and working in the heart of the D.C. establishment to explain the political, economic, and cultural aspects of polarization. The tensions unleashed by the …

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