The November 8 midterm elections were slated to be the most consequential in US history because both the Republicans and Democrats were expecting/fearing (it depended on whom you asked) a red wave that would flip the balance of power in favor of Republicans.
Four days later, according to the latest results, the fate of US Congress largeely remains uncertain. The expected/feared red wave pretty much fizzled and a new political reality started taking shape in US Senate and the House of Representatives. Democrats did better than expected and Republicans under-performed in many ways. But the dominant opinion in public square remains that Republicans still have a chance to win a majority in the House, even though it is expected to be thinner than the projected 20-30 seats.
The new projections give Republicans a possible 5-10 seat majority, given the current trend where they have so far gained a net 10 seats. Conversely, Democrats have retained the control of US Senate after Senator Catherine Cortez Masto retained her Nevada Senate seat. Republicans have to win the December 6 Georgia runoff Georgia to maintain the status quo. Nevada results have at least defeated Republicans’ dream of flipping the Senate and will have far-reaching implications for 2024.
While President Joe Biden seems upbeat about the election results so far in, telling Americans in a nationwide address: “It has been a good day for America”. But the mood is not as joyful in the Republican camp where some have already started the blame game.
The election performance left one Republican governor openly declaring it “time to get off the Trump Titanic”. “The former president is said to be privately fuming,” ABC reported. Trump has been criticized by some in the party for picking the wrong candidates for different seats. Many of Trump picks have lost the elections, causing calls from within the party to dump him as the leader. Trump may see at least one challenger to his leadership in the person of Ron DeSantis, Florida’s popular Governor, as the GOP’s emerging leader.
Many Republicans say the disappointing election year for the party is due to a national movement for women’s abortion rights besides Trump-endorsed candidates, who have been losing in the key swing states. These key swing states include Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia (Senate race), and Arizona.
There were expectations that the GOP would do well in these states even though candidates in these states were awful. Polls in late October showed GOP having a massive year. That didn’t pan out because as we saw American voters will not vote for someone that is close to Trump or believes in ”Stop the Steal”.
But independent observers and many on the Democratic side say that higher voter turnout also helped Democrats. Historically, a low voter turnout has favored the Republicans while a high turnout has worked for the Democrats.
No matter which way the final election results go, and to which side the House flips, the next two years will be challenging for both the Republicans and the Democrats. If Republicans take control of the House, they may face a divisive race for the speaker. The current House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy is currently the likely succor of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Republicans could also potentially launch an investigation into the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as into the business dealings of President Biden’s so Hunter Biden.
The writer is currently in his first year of college in New York City.