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Democrats retook the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections while Republicans preserved control of the Senate, creating a divided Congress that will put up roadblocks to President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda in the coming two years.
The result, which was expected, also serves as at least a partial rebuke of Trump, who had held numerous rallies across the country in support of Republican candidates and repeatedly insisted the election was essentially a referendum on his presidency.
“Today is more about Democrats and Republicans, it’s about restoring constitutional checks and balances to the Trump administration,” said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California in a victory speech at Democratic party headquarters in Washington.
With control of the House for the first time in eight years, Democrats can do more than just obstruct Trump’s legislative priorities. They will also be able to go on the attack, taking leadership of crucial House committees that have strong investigatory powers. Some Democrats have suggested they will demand to see the president’s tax returns and investigate his personal finances and business interests, as well as his 2016 presidential election campaign’s ties to Russia.
“It is a critical check on Trump,” says University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato. “Big legislation with an ideological tint, left or right, won’t pass for the next two years. Democrats now have the power of subpoena so Trump and his administration can expect to be investigated rather than protected by the House.”
But by retaining control of the Senate, Republicans will preserve the ability to confirm Trump’s judicial and other nominees. The Republican-led Senate also could prevent Congress from removing Trump from office, if the Democratic-controlled House decides to move forward with impeachment proceedings, as some have hinted.
‘Blue wave’ in House
Though votes are still being counted, Democrats are projected to pick up over 30 seats in the House, a little more than the 23 votes they needed to claim the majority. That is consistent with many pre-election polls and analysis that predicted a “blue wave,” a major Democratic victory.
The Democratic victory drew in large part on a coalition of minority voters, young people and those in urban and suburban swing districts, many of whom were upset over Trump’s style of leadership and harsh language about immigrants and minorities.
“The demographic crisis has finally hit,” says Evan Siegfried, a Republican analyst. “And in a way that is brutal and is decimating the Republican Party.”
That trend was evident in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, where Jennifer Wexton, a lawyer and state senator, defeated the Republican incumbent, Representative Barbara Comstock.
In New Jersey, Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy pilot and political novice, defeated Republican Jay Webber, winning a seat that had been held by Republicans for over three decades.
Though polls had suggested healthcare and the economy were main issues for voters, Trump was never far from voters’ minds.
A CNN national exit poll suggested 55 percent of voters disapprove of Trump’s performance while 44 percent approve of it. Moreover, 56 percent of those surveyed believe the country is on the wrong track and only 41 percent said it was on the right track.
Republicans keep Senate
However, Republicans are expected to increase their 51 to 49 seat hold on the Senate by three seats.
The White House said early Wednesday that Trump called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “to congratulate him on the historic Senate gains.” Trump also spoke with outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is retiring in January, as well as Pelosi.
Democrats’ Senate chances were dealt a major blow in Indiana, where Republican businessman Mike Braun pulled off an upset win against incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly. In Tennessee, Democrat Phil Bredesen, the state’s ex-governor, lost to Republican Marsha Blackburn to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Bob Corker. Blackburn will become Tennessee’s first female senator. And in Missouri, two-term Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill was defeated by state Attorney General Josh Hawley.
In one of the closest watched races in the country, Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who just months ago was a relatively unknown congressman from El Paso, narrowly lost to Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Still, O’Rourke, an unabashed progressive lawmaker with a gift for fundraising, is widely considered to be a prominent Democratic presidential contender in 2020.
Women also played a major role in the election.
A record 237 women ran in House races and 23 in Senate races across the country, including 185 Democrats and 52 Republicans. Their wins are likely to boost the percentage of women in Congress beyond 20 percent for the first time. Many stepped up as candidates in the last two years, energized by reports of Trump’s behavior toward women, the rise of the #MeToo movement that has publicized the pervasiveness of sexual assault, and Republican policy platforms on issues including the right to abortion.
Christopher Borick, a political science professor and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, says the role women played in this election lived up to expectations.
“We’re seeing a vast increase in the percentage of women that will be within in the House of Representatives. I’ll give you an example in Pennsylvania, which is kind of the one of the most striking scenes. Before this election we had zero, not one member of an 18-seat congressional delegation that was a woman. Tonight, just in suburban Philadelphia, in the Lehigh Valley where I’m speaking from, four women won in a really tight area,” Borick said.
Winners included the first two Muslim women in Congress, Ilhan Omar from Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan, and the first Native American woman, Sharice Davids from Kansas. First-time female congressional candidates also won in states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The surge reflects the preferences of female voters, who have also been motivated by Trump’s reputation with women and by candidates who have increasingly spoken on their particular issues as parents and employees.
CNN’s exit poll showed 80 percent of voters said it was important for more women to be elected. (VOA)
As house prices and social isolation continue to rise, co-living is the latest buzzword among millennials as it provides them with a desirable house at affordable costs, while providing a much needed communal living experience during such unprecedented times.
With the world embracing a hybrid work and study style, a lot of millennials will look to relocate to their base city but will require better living spaces to ensure that WFH runs smoothly as well. As the world adjusts to a new normal, and with a millennial population of over 440 million in the country, the co-living sector is set to rise rapidly and witness a whole new set of innovations.
Isthara Co-Living shares 5 trends that are set to redefine the co-living space in the coming year:
Enahnced safety and hygiene protocols:
Safety standards have become the biggest selling point for co-living spaces and they are expected to move beyond the standard safety protocols and enhance their hygiene quotient in a big way to build on the momentum. Apart from the standard hygiene protocols, new possible safety measures include safe cleaning and hygiene standards, thermal sensors, which will notify people in case someone is running a temperature, regular fumigations, CCTV cameras in public spaces to ensure social distancing is followed, or facilities like self-cleaning buttons in elevators.
Apart from the standard hygiene protocols, new possible safety measures include safe cleaning and hygiene standards, thermal sensors. | Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Technology led innovations:
As many universities are holding classes online, and work from home is becoming increasingly popular, technology is the way of the future. The co-living players will look to amalgamate cutting-edge technology to cater to the growing work and study needs of millennials. Touchless technology and applications are on the rise in the sector.
Technology is the future, as many colleges offer online courses and working from home is becoming more prevalent. | Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash
Flexible and convenient housing solutions:
Innovations such as flexible lock-in periods, weekly rentals, customised housing services, tailor-made amenities, transfer to the company's co-living space in another city, contemporary workspaces are some of the options that will be explored in an effort to entice today's fast-moving millennial population. All in all, players in the segment will look to create a ready-to-move-in space that is hassle-free for residents. If some housing segment caters specifically to one certain profile or profession, operators may also look to customise the place according to the needs of the profile.
Owners can customise the place according to the needs of their job profile. | Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash
Revamp of co-living spaces:
Revamping space to give houses a more contemporary look focused more on enabling efficient work/study spaces, incubating spaces, and a complete overhaul of amenities. The blurring line between work and living will be a major trend in co-living, to match the evolving work-life integration needs.
The blurring of work-life boundaries will be a prominent trend in co-living. | Photo by R ARCHITECTURE on Unsplash
Increased focus on community living:
People are looking to address the urban isolation situation, and are looking for avenues to unwind and engage with a varied set of people within a community. Co-living operators are set to further strengthen their community ecosystem in the coming year, to ensure that people create meaningful connections and combat loneliness.
People are seeking for ways to interact with a diverse group of people inside a community to combat urban loneliness. | Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash
The pandemic may lead to a complete rethinking of how these spaces will continue to exist, and the sector will continue to provide a fresh new perspective to how young Indians view urban living. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: population, urban, milennials, housing, community, innovation, study, protocols, hygiene, safety, space, Housing Solution, Co-living)
Meta-owned photo-sharing platform Instagram has started testing subscriptions, a new feature allowing creators to offer paid followers access to exclusive content. Currently, only 10 US creators have gained access to the new feature, including basketball player Sedona Prince, model Kelsey Cook, actor-influencer Alan Chikin Chow, Olympic gymnast Jordan Chiles and digital creator Lonnie IIV.
"Subscriptions are for creators," Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said in a video posted on Twitter. "Creators do what they do to make a living and it's important that it is predictable." Followers will pay a monthly fee to access subscriber-only content from creators they follow. Subscription pricing ranges from $0.99 per month to $99.99 per month.
Instagram users who subscribe to a creator will have access to subscriber-only stories, live streams, and other content. | Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
Instagram users who subscribe to a creator will have access to subscriber-only stories, live streams, and other content. Meanwhile, Instagram is also reportedly testing Stories redesign with vertical scrolling in its app. As noted by social media consultant Matt Navarra, some users located in Turkey have received an Instagram update that brings vertical scrolling to Stories.
While Stories from the same user can still be viewed by tapping the left or right side of the screen, jumping to the next user's Stories requires a swipe down. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: subscriber, feature, testing, Instagram, followers, scrolling, users, content creators, stories)
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. Many strays lose this battle trying to find food and warmth under a scrap of clothing or caged up in the corner of streets. The Perroayuda Welfare Foundation (PWF), a Delhi-based animal welfare organisation, recently held a Mega Stray Feeding Drive in Lajpat Nagar with the goal of feeding all of the area's stray animals. These wonderful Samaritans come from all around Delhi-NCR with one goal in mind: to rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need.
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. | Af.Mil
PWF has previously staged feeding drives in Netaji Subhash Place, Connaught Place, North Campus, Delhi University, and other locations throughout the city. A group of 70 volunteers fed over 100 stray dogs in the vicinity and provided water in earthen bowls. To raise awareness about the issue of stray animals, volunteers talked with businesses, local authorities, customers, and hawkers. The actions of this group of young animal advocates were recognised and supported.
"Donations come in from all around the world." To save strays and pay for their treatment, we rely completely on donations. "Every day, our organisation feeds roughly 1000 stray dogs," says Arpit Mathur, the organisation's founder. "Throughout the day, we receive SOS calls. We can only accomplish so much with our limited staff and resources. We hope that more young people, like us, would join us in this cause." In Rohini, the NGO also maintains a recovery centre. Currently, the recovery centre accommodates roughly 40 animals, including cats, dogs, monkeys, and a few unusual birds.
To rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need is the goal of these people. | Photo by Camilo Fierro on Unsplash
PWF seeks to discover and feed all stray animals in need, as well as provide them with food, care, affection, and medical treatment, and organise Mega Stray Feeding Drives to raise awareness and adoption. "We discover stray animals, pet them, and feed them - no one deserves to be hungry," Mathur adds. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: adopt, feed, rescue, goal, Delhi-NCR, Perroayuda Welfare Foundation, Winter, stray animals, Help, Initiative, volunteer)