The most talked about US midterm congressional election was held last Tuesday, November 8, 2022 as Catherine Cortez Mastro of Novada won with 48.9% votes
Control of the Senate was made clear last Saturday night showing the Democrats will retain the upper chamber with the win of of Catherine Cortez Mastro of Nevada. She defeated her Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. The success means the upcoming Georgia Senatorial runoff between incumbent Raphael Warnock and challenger Herschel Walker would not matter in determining which party controls the Senate. A victory for Warnock would add to the Democrats’ strength. Warnock and Walker, both Blacks, are well known in Georgia. Warnock is the pastor who won the last election, and Walker is a former football star. He played for the University of Georgia and professional football.
Midterm Elections Results
But it is unclear which party will control the House of Representatives. As of Saturday, the Republicans are leading by 7 seats. The Democrats won 204 seats and the Republicans 211 seats. 20 races remain to be called. 10 of the remaining races are in California. A party must have over 50% of the total voting representatives for the majority. Currently, the Democrats control the House with 220 members, while the Republicans have 212. To retain the majority, Democrats must win at least the 15 balanced races. Or, they need to capture the remaining seats in California plus 5 races in the other states. Some analysts think it would be difficult. though California is democratic.
The Democrats are happy with their performance in the election. The expected “Red Wave,” the anticipated sweeping victory of the Republican Party, did not happen. It was widely predicted that with high inflation, gas prices, crime rates, and the low approval rate of President Biden, the Republicans would win both houses with large numbers. Inflation is about 9%, average gas price is $4.20 per gallon (mid-grade). Biden’s job approval rate is in the low 40%. Also, since 1930, the president’s party, with an approval rate below 50%, has lost about “28 House seats and 4 Senate seats.” Even with a high approval rate, it has been established that the party that wins the White House loses congress in the midterm. This occurred from Bill Clinton to the Donald Trump administration. In other words, Biden did far better than Clinton and Obama.
Moreover, in the state legislature and governorship elections this midterm, the Democrats won big. As an observer wrote, “younger voters were energized” in this election as they were two years ago. Before 2020, most young Americans, particularly students, voted less than older Americans in elections.
What causes the behavior change? Some political experts point to several factors, including the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court and the Trump impact. The high court reverts this year the 1973 decision that supports abortion. Many Americans, especially women, were angry regarding the reversal blaming the conservative-dominated Supreme Court and the Republican Party.
Consequently, these Americans voted heavily against the Republican candidates. Moreover, Trump was active in the election, supporting candidates that backed his unproven allegation that he was cheated in the 2020 presidential election. Most of his Republican candidates lost.
President Biden and other Democrats were happy with the election results. Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, gave three reasons for the victory; “Serious Democratic candidates, the party agenda, and the rejection of extreme “MAGA” Republican candidates.” Biden saw the outcomes as vindications of his administration. The president now has greater power to appoint judges and Supreme Court members who can be confirmed by the Senates. Further, he can decide comfortably to run for re-election. But a loss of the House could make it difficult to implement his agenda. He needs to work harder; be more robust and reach out to moderate Republicans and independents in both houses for a successful administration.
The election results show the weakness of Trump’s influence. Unlike the 2016 presidential election, he could have difficulties winning the Republican Party’s nomination in 2024 should he run. His opponents in the party could be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Manco Rubio. They are popular and respectively won re-election easily. Trump has said that he will make a big announcement regarding his political future this Tuesday.
However, Trump should not be counted out. As stated in the coverage of the 2016 election, without a previous government-elected post, he defeated the Republican-established politicians, including Rubio for the party nomination. Also, with poor debate performances with Hilary Clinton, Trump won the election, surprising election analysts and media predictions. Though his political supporters lost this election, he still has the Angelical Christians and the rural Americans who helped his 2016 election. Trump would have won the 2020 contest had it not been for COVID-19. He is bold and direct and does not mince his words. People admire that character. Since the election, no other Democrats have expressed interest in running for president in 2024. But that is too soon to tell. Next year, 2023, politicians wanting to run will make their intention known. It should be an exciting election.