What the 2022 Midterm results mean for US politics

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The 2022 Midterm results were known over a week after the initial election day, but what does it mean for US democracy?

Democrats managed to prevent a “red wave” election despite poor economic conditions and Joe Biden’s deep unpopularity.

Trump-back Republicans struggled against many moderate Democrats who catered to independent voters and those who were enraged by the election conspiracies and the overturning of Roe V. Wade.

However, in Florida, Republican Governor Ron Desantis led a more polished slate of Republican candidates to victory, potentially foreshadowing a fierce divide within the GOP.

But what lies ahead for the country, the two parties, and US Democracy after these midterms, and what do the results mean for US Politics?

The Democratic Senate win and what it means for Biden’s agenda

On November 12 it was announced that the Democrats would retain control of the Senate.

The result was 50-49, but with the Vice-President, the Democrats gain a slim majority, but the open Georgia seat remains open until December 6 with both candidates being forced to run in a run-off.

Historically, the residing President’s party tends to fare poorly in the midterm elections.

Since 1960, there have been only been 4 elections where the party in the White House has lost fewer than 10 seats in the House.

The result remains somewhat positive for Biden’s agenda as it means he will be likely to get judicial nominees through the chamber.

If after the Georgia run-off the Senate goes 50-50, meaning incumbent Raphael Warnock loses, committees will likely be half Democrats, and half Republicans, meaning Biden will need some GOP support to confirm any nominees, but if the Democrats take further procedural measures on the Senate floor, that could change.

If a Supreme Court seat becomes available, Democrats could approve Biden’s choice with a simple majority vote without any GOP support.

Additionally, since Congress is split for the new term, a Democrat-controlled Senate could refuse to sign-off bills that passed through a majority GOP House, and vice-versa.

The Republican’s slim House majority and their war on Biden.

It hasn’t come as a surprise that the Republican party won the House, but what did shock voters and pollsters alike was how small that win was.

Currently, the House is split 219-212, but a few seats remain undeclared.

Whilst there is potential for some bipartisan bills to make it through the house, hardliner Republicans are likely to blockade any sweeping legislation.

Despite this incredibly slim majority, the Republican party have a drastic agenda for the next 2 years, with a considerable focus on targeting the current President.

They have laid out plans to open up countless investigations such as a probe into the origins of COVID-19.

They have also declared an inquiry into Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden and other family members and will examine if their business activities “compromise U.S. national security and President Biden’s ability to lead with impartiality”.

The Republican party has long alleged that Hunter Biden has used his father’s successful political career to enrich himself.

Additionally, the House majority leader Kevin McCarthy has suggested creating a select committee to investigate China and many in the GOP wish to formulate a panel to investigate the disorganised withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by Biden’s administration in 2021.

GOP Leader and Former Republican House Minority Leader Kevin Mccarthy Credit: Kevin McCarthy via Twitter

The Republican party’s revenge for Impeachment

The previous President and major figure for the GOP, Donald Trump, was the only President to ever be impeached twice, and now the Republican party want revenge.

One major element of their agenda was the claims of impeaching President Biden.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, widely known for being a far-right conspiracy theorist has filed for the impeachment of Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland multiple times.

Kevin McCarthy has stated he hasn’t seen anything that rises to the level of impeachment, but that doesn’t mean the party won’t use all their willpower to find a motive.

What are they planning for Legislation?

Republicans are immediately planning a vote to repeal the $80 billion in funding for the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) that was encompassed in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

They are planning on introducing the “parents’ bill of rights”, which aims to give parents more of a say in the school curriculum and what their children are taught.

Moreover, they are planning legislation to boost oil and natural gas production and provide more funding for police officers and border security to mitigate increasing crime rates.

An election of historic firsts

Many barriers across the country were broken during this election cycle, carrying on the monumental win for Vice-President Kamala Harris in 2020, the first woman and first person of colour to occupy that office.

Democratic Governors Maura Healey of Massachusetts and Tina Kotek will become the first out-Lesbian Governors the US has witnessed.

Making history in Maryland, Wes Moore will be Maryland’s first black Governor, becoming only the third black man to be elected governor in the US.

Maxwell Frost, from Florida’s 10th Congressional district, will become the first member of Gen Z to be a member of Congress, meaning the first congressman to be born during the late 1990s.

Kathy Hochul was the first elected female Governor of New York, winning a 4-year term after she assumed the office when former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned over sexual allegations.

Candidate quality: Democrats V Republicans

The Republican’s certainly decided on a trend this election cycle for its candidates, favouring those with minimal political experience who are mired in controversy.

In the Pennsylvania Senator race, TV presenter Mehmet Oz was the Republican nominee, going against Democrat John Fetterman, former lieutenant Governor of the state who received serious backlash and threats from the far-right after he suffered a stroke in the Summer of 2022, exclaiming he was too unfit for office, despite multiple primary care physicians stating he was more than capable.

In Georgia, the Republican candidate for the open Senate seat was former American Football player Herschel Walker.

Walker, known for his extreme views, vowing against abortion under any circumstance, has been surrounded by controversy during the past few months after it has been alleged he paid for his former girlfriend to have an abortion in the late 2000s.

GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Marco Rubio excelled in the state.

Despite controversies surrounding DeSantis and his immigration policies, such as sending full planes of immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard and Kamala Harris’ house, he was backed considerably by Latino voters, being favoured by 72% of Cuban-Americans.

Who could win the 2024 Republican Presidential nomination?

The Midterm elections were just held, but pollsters and voters are already looking into 2024, with the primaries and presidential election all in one year.

Former President Donald Trump has already announced his bid for the Republican nomination for President, but it is widely suggested that his grip on the party is loosening as they look for a more competent candidate.

There is still a sizeable following for Trump within the party and country, but with growing discontent, many are swaying from him and his election fraud claims, especially after the January 6th riot and the numerous cases against him.

Many believe Ron Desantis will put himself forth for the nomination, as people view his 19-point margin victory in the election as evidence he is the most popular candidate the party has.

Other Republican politicians such as former Vice-President Mike Pence, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney have all suggested potential primary runs, but nothing has been confirmed.

US politics can change dramatically overnight, so to suggest that Republicans will win big or not during the 2024 election is farfetched, but considering the Midterm results, the country may not be looking to elect such a broken party.

Does the Country want a second Biden Term?

Despite losing the House, Democrats had a mildly successful midterm election, but despite Democrats winning big, Voters don’t want Biden to run for a second term.

A national exit poll discovered that 67% of voters don’t want Biden to run again in 2024.

The current President is now 80, and if he gains a second term, he will leave office being 86, and so many voters want to see a younger candidate in office.

Biden also has a very low approval rating, with 52.9% disapproving of his performance in the White House.

Vice-President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg have been considered likely candidates for the role as both ran in 2020.

Other potential candidates being speculated to run are Cory Booker, John Fetterman, Bernie Sanders and Raphael Warnock.

Female Politicians Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nina Turner and Ayanna Pressley have been speculated to be in the running, but despite how far the country has come in terms of progressiveness, are voters likely to vote in their first Female President?

NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with voters. Credit: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez via Twitter

Despite the divide in Congress, this midterm election was historic

Even though the Democratic party lost control of the House of Representatives, the mere fact they retained control of the Senate is historic in itself as it is very unlikely the party in the White House hold onto that power.

We’ve discussed the potential implications for Biden’s agenda, but what the Republicans will actually choose to stop, if anything, is unknown and hard to predict.

We could be looking at a successful 2 years for the rest of his term, or we could be witnessing the start of his downfall.

What will be of interest is whether the parties can keep their party stable and unified, and which two candidates will ultimately face a head-to-head to become President in 2024.

The full brunt of the results will not be felt until all new and returning members have been sworn in next January and the months following that, when legislation begins to halt and the dissent is reverberating throughout the Capitol Building.

Feature image: CNN

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BA(Hons) International Politics and Languages
Politics and Music journalist

Samuel Metcalf
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