Marion Gabriel, Contributing Writer
Midterm elections in the US are expected to reproduce the historic trend of wave elections as Democrats face growing public criticism. Wave elections are elections where one political party makes significant gains at the expense of the party in charge. Already, America’s political future in the elections of 2024 is emerging.
On November 8, 2022, midterm elections will take place in the United States. Taking place halfway through the president’s term, midterm elections decide the party balance for the 535 members of Congress, including 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 of the Senate.
Currently, Democrats control both chambers, but by very slim majorities. They hold 221 seats in the House of Representatives, while Republicans hold 209. Democrats hold 48 seats in the Senate, Republicans 50 with 2 Independents.
Historically, the party holding the White House has lost Congress in midterm elections.
Republican losses occurred in the House of Representatives in 2018 when Trump was president, and both Obama administrations lost midterm elections. Significantly, this information demonstrates that midterm elections often shape the second half of the president’s term ahead of general elections.
For Biden, if Democrats lose the House of Representatives, the Biden agenda will face more difficulties in passing future legislation. While wave elections seem to be an accepted feature of US politics, Democrats will have to show that they have learned the right lessons.
Will the trend repeat itself?
All eyes are on the public opinion of Biden’s presidency.
Currently, swing states’ views on US politics appear to be essential for the Democrats to retain power in Congress. Those states include North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, and Florida. Despite differences between them, these states are all preparing to transition from one party to the other during the midterm.
Unfortunately, the political environment does not favor Democrats. With the war in Ukraine, Americans feel the brutal impact of inflation on their family budgets. Gas prices are at record highs and continuing to climb. Wages have gone up in the past year, but those gains have been wiped out by inflation. While average hourly earnings increased by 5.2% over the past 12 months, the latest US inflation report shows prices rose by 8.3% from a year earlier.
On top of economic problems, recent domestic issues of school shootings, racism, and drug problems raise doubts about the government’s ability to handle gun violence and reduce harm, ultimately leading to general political frustration and a climate of mistrust of the Democratic party.
US Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders laid out a liberal agenda while announcing a disaster for the Democratic party during the midterms. Officially launching his campaign, he claimed “enough is enough. The vast majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana nationwide. Now is the time for Congress and the federal government to do something radical for a change: LISTEN to the people”.
Election forecasters are indeed increasingly confident about the likelihood of a Republican wave in November. The Cook Political Report updated its prediction for the House last week, expecting Republicans to gain a net of 20 to 35 seats, which is more than what they need to regain control of the lower chamber.
While Biden is selling an optimistic vision of the US economic position, highlighting the 390,000 jobs created in May, the swing away from Democrats seems inevitable.
How the next few months are generally decisive for the US and world order
Midterm results will depend on how both parties appeal to the electoral base. Democrats enter a race for public support, which depends on a good use of fear of Trump.
But polls are not in favor of President Joe Biden. His approval rating remains stuck at less than 50% since last August. Meanwhile, Republicans have expressed interest in further investigating the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the president’s scandal-plagued son Hunter Biden. In this context, support for Democratic candidates has already diminished.
One thing is sure, both parties’ political appeals could have a major effect on midterm elections. Considering the impact of the United States on the world, the shadow posed by midterms on presidential campaigning in 2023 and 2024 could influence heavily international dynamics and the liberal world order.
Featured Image Source: Unsplash
Formatted by Brianna Sunshine Gray