Ocasio-Cortez, now the youngest woman to ever be elected to the U.S. House, is openly socialist and holds extremely left-wing views on abortion and homosexuality.
A major surge in early voting also sparked speculation that the so-called "Trump effect" was motivating progressive voters to turn out in record numbers - but as numerous election experts have pointed out, early voting has been a rising trend for years, and it's unclear whether all those early voters support Republicans or Democrats. The five-term congressman is the first openly gay man to win a gubernatorial race.
Opposition to Trump proved to be more a motivating factor for Democrats than support for the president a factor for Republicans.
Democrats' longshot prospects for capturing a Senate majority were pinned on expectations that their supporters, roused by revulsion toward Trump, would surge to the polls. An open seat that included Atlantic City was also ripe for Democratic pickup by state lawmaker Jeff Van Drew after the Republican campaign committee abandoned Republican Seth Grossman over racially charged comments.
Actually passing many bills, however, will be hard because the GOP will fall well short of the 60 votes needed to break through Democratic filibusters, procedural delays that kill legislation.
Trump called Pelosi, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and several of the Republican winners.
GOP Whip Steve Scalise said the president's rallies were building momentum, and with the economy a selling point, he predicted his party would retain a slim majority.
While Republican Ted Cruz was re-elected to Senate in Texas, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar became the first two Muslim women to be elected to the US Congress. But in Kentucky, one of the top Democratic recruits, retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, lost her bid to oust to three-term Rep. Andy Barr. Though the Republican gains in the Senate make it even less likely that there would be a two-thirds majority needed to convict a president and evict him from office.
In the last two decades there have only three election cycles where one party picked up 24 or more seats.
Liverpool stars must take blame for Euro slump, says Lallana
"We lost our mojo in the game, not in general", he said. "Away from home last season we were very good in the Champions League ". Liverpool's trip to the Parc des Princes on 28 November has assumed greater importance for both teams after this week's results.
Some hurt worse than others.
Former vice president Joe Biden, often touted as a possible Democratic candidate to take on Trump in 2020, said he'd have been "dumbfounded" not to win the House.
Almost 40% of voters cast their ballots to express opposition to the president, according to a national survey of the electorate, while one-in-four said they voted to express support for Mr Trump.
Overall, 6 in 10 voters said the country was headed in the wrong direction, but roughly that same number described the national economy as excellent or good. Fueling their intensity have been Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric and policies, his efforts to dismantle health care protections enacted under President Barack Obama and the #MeToo movement's fury over sexual harassment.
Problems with voting machines prevented Americans from casting ballots in a dozen states, USA rights advocates said, following complaints about registration problems, faulty equipment and intimidation they have received throughout early balloting.
Meanwhile, two issues more than any others were on voters' minds as they cast ballots.
The septuagenarian also would exert influence over writing laws on guns, immigration policy and voting rights. He served as vice chairman of Trump's now-defunct commission on voter fraud.
The president's current job approval, set at 40 percent by Gallup, was the lowest at this point of any first-term president in the modern era.
While Sanders suggested Trump could blow off Pelosi in the wake of the midterms, she noted that the president is willing to work with whatever party ultimately ends up in power.
Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a 2016 Democratic presidential contender, and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton's vice presidential nominee in 2016, easily won re-election.