Can Joe Biden Avoid the Curse of the Midterm Elections?
Republicans have momentum heading into Election Day on Tuesday, with high hopes of taking back the House. The Senate will be decided by a handful of narrow races. If the GOP takes one or both chambers, they will be in a position to kill Biden’s national legislative agenda. Still, they will struggle to get the policies past the president’s veto, which requires a two-thirds majority to be overridden. The next two years could see America run by a divided government, with angry clashes, financial showdowns and partisan investigations.
In the House, all 435 seats are up for grabs, where lawmakers serve two-year terms. Democrats currently narrowly control the chamber, but Republicans only need a net gain of five seats to take the majority.
In the 100-seat Senate, a total of 35 seats are being contested. The chamber where incumbents serve for six years is split 50-50, with Democrats currently in control as Vice President Kamala Harris casts a tie-breaking vote. But Republicans only need a net gain of one seat to take control.
There are also a number of other races to watch, including 36 gubernatorial contests and many more lower positions. Races for state-level secretaries of state have taken on added importance this year, as they control state elections, including the 2024 presidential race. There are also elections for state legislatures and ballot initiatives on issues like access to abortion, changes in voting systems, gun control measures and the legalization of recreational marijuana.
In every election, candidates tell voters that this is the most critical election of their lives. This time they may be right.
A Republican wave would sweep dozens of candidates who swear by former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. The former president would likely arm a Republican-controlled House against Biden before the 2024 presidential vote; Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who would likely become the Republican president if the Republicans win, has not ruled out impeachment of Biden, despite the absence of any evidence that he has committed an impeachable crime.
A surprise Democratic victory would allow Biden to build on his social, health and climate change legislation, and balance the judiciary with liberal justices after four years of Trump’s conservative picks.
Kevin McCarthy asked about impeaching Biden if the GOP wins the House. Listen to his answer
The cliché, “It’s the economy, stupid,” dating back to Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, is everywhere this election season. But it should be, “It’s inflation, stupid.” The cost of living in the United States is at a 40-year high, putting voters in a disgruntled mood. High gas prices haven’t helped either, and the sense of post-pandemic normalcy that Biden promised remains elusive.
The president has struggled to frame the economic challenges in a strong policy message or to give voters confidence that prices will soon fall. Some Democrats now wonder if their candidates ignored the real concerns of voters by spending so much time arguing that Republicans would destroy American democracy.
Democrats had hoped the conservative Supreme Court’s overturning of abortion rights would spark a backlash against the GOP. That might be the case in some areas, but the economy has repeatedly been the dominant concern of voters in polls leading up to Election Day.
Republicans haven’t had to work too hard; their strategy has been to just blame everything on Biden, even though inflation is being driven mostly by external factors like the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. They have also characterized Democratic positions on education, crime and immigration as extreme and far left of the mainstream.
House bells: The best way to watch the results come in is to pick a few standout races that will give a sense of where the election is headed. If Republicans start winning big in suburban areas and House districts where Biden was far more popular than Trump in 2020, it’s a good bet they’re headed for a banner night.
Midterm elections: Here are the House races to watch
Given the narrow margin in the House, Republicans could effectively win the majority by sweeping contested seats in just one state like New York. One fateful battle is in a new seat created from post-census redistricting: Colorado’s 8th Congressional District; if the Republicans win, they’re done.
Another tight race is in Virginia’s 7th District, where the former CIA officer and Democratic representative. Abigail Spanberger is trying to win re-election against a Trump conservative, Republican Yesli Vega. If Democrats can hold on to this redrawn district, which was made more favorable to them in redistricting, it won’t mean they’ll win the House, but it could indicate they’ll keep the GOP surge below landslide levels . Spanberger, one of the Democrats’ strongest incumbents, has not hesitated to criticize the president or his party.
And keep an eye on Michigan’s 7th District, where another former CIA employee and Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin is running for re-election. Slotkin is a moderate who distanced herself from progressive policies and criticized her party for not doing more to address the economic pain facing Americans.
Senate Battlegrounds: In the Senate, watch for neck-and-neck battles in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia. If Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan loses her re-election bid in New Hampshire, it’s a sure sign that it’s GOP night.
Pennsylvania represents the Democrats’ best chance to pick up a Republican-held seat, but their candidate John Fetterman suffered a stroke just before winning the party’s nomination in May. Even off the campaign trail over the summer, Fetterman had the upper hand against his Republican challenger, but the pair’s recent spat opened new questions about how the stroke’s lingering effects on the Democratic nominee.
Republicans are trying to win Democratic seats in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia. If neither candidate in Georgia gets 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff in December, meaning uncertainty over who leads the Senate for the next two years could linger for weeks.
These 3 races can determine the fate of the Senate
– Source: CNN
This is the first national election since the cataclysmic 2020, when Trump refused to admit defeat and tried to stay in power. Biden took office two weeks later with a message of healing and national unity. But his vision that America’s best angels could bring together a polarized country has faded. Trump still won’t admit he lost and is using the lie that he was illegally forced out of office to catapult a long-awaited re-election bid. Millions of Americans believe him, creating an intensity among key supporters that could bring the GOP back to power in Congress.
A key development to watch Tuesday is whether Republicans who lose their races concede or, like Trump, insist they won and cite nonexistent election irregularities. Another source of tension will arise in races where Republicans appear to be leading the vote count until large batches of early and mail-in ballots are tabulated at the same time. Trump used this scenario to falsely cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election.
We don’t have to guess. The GOP is already telling us it will make Biden’s life miserable and try to destroy his re-election hopes. McCarthy told CNN in an exclusive interview that he plans to subject the White House to a series of investigations into everything from the origins of Covid-19 to the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
McCarthy tells CNN the first bill would be on border security if the GOP wins the House
The GOP also plans to attack Biden’s son Hunter over his business dealings, and will seek to discredit and disrupt the FBI and Justice Department investigations into Trump. In the Senate, a Republican majority would make it extraordinarily difficult for Biden to confirm cabinet appointments, key officials, foreign ambassadors and judges. Expect a period of bitter conflict over budgets and the US government’s debt limit, a crisis that could lead to a deeper crisis in the global economy.
History shows that newly elected presidents almost always face a backlash in midterm elections two years later. That is why they point to the main legislative priorities at the beginning of their mandate.
If Democrats don’t do as badly as some fear, Biden will get a boost as he contemplates whether to run for re-election. If Republicans win big, new questions will arise about their prospects in 2024. The president turns 80 in a few weeks, an occasion for celebration but also an unwelcome reminder of his own political responsibilities.
However, all is not dark for the president. His two Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, suffered debilitating voter censures in the midterms, but rebounded to win easy re-election two years later. The question is whether Biden has the energy and political savvy to use what would be an extreme Republican Congress as a role.
The former president has made the midterms a test of loyalty for Republicans, who have had to pay for their endorsement by expanding their false claims of voter fraud in 2020. Republican leaders would have preferred Trump to stay out of the election altogether , but this is not so. how it rolls
Trump was instrumental in his party losing the House in 2018 and the Senate and the White House in 2020, and he may be a spoiler again as the proteges he picked in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Ohio have big responsibilities as candidates If Republicans do well Tuesday night, Trump will take the credit. If they don’t meet expectations, he’ll blame everyone else.
Either way, the former president looks set to run again in 2024, a campaign that could trigger a political meltdown as there’s a chance he could be indicted for his hoarding of classified documents or embezzlement after the election of 2020.
But here’s the bottom line. A Republican victory Tuesday, especially in the House, means Trumpism is back in power two years after it went down in disgrace.