Democrats win victories and hold ‘Republican wave’ in US Congress

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Democrats win victories and hold ‘Republican wave’ in US Congress

Democrats have spent the last few months in the dark. The low popularity of President Joe Biden and the bad economic prospects in the US meant that the party would lose the midterms, the midterm elections that took place on Tuesday (8), by a wash.

A “red wave,” sometimes described as a tsunami, would sweep Republicans in control of the Senate and House and derail the second half of the Biden administration, according to projections.

And that wave didn’t come, at least not with the projected virulence. Keeping a majority in the Senate seems more possible after John Fetterman defeated Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, and in the House there were important victories that should lessen the blow of defeat for the Democrats. “It’s definitely not a Republican wave, that’s for sure,” acknowledged Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in an interview with NBC.

In the early hours of this Wednesday morning (9) there was already talk that Republicans could have a tight majority in the House – with 435 seats, whoever wins 218 seats controls the House, just six more than the party has today.

It’s possible to get an idea of ​​how much more modest this victory is than expected compared to the last two times that Democratic presidents have faced defeats in the midterm elections. In 2010, in Barack Obama’s first midterms, Republicans turned over 63 seats to the party. At the beginning of the Bill Clinton administration in 1994, Republicans won 54 seats. The same happened when Democrats regained control of the House when Donald Trump faced the midterms in 2018: at the time, Republicans lost 41 seats.

Now, any result below 20 new seats for the Republicans has been seen as a symbolic defeat for the party in the current circumstances.

The worse-than-expected result must have consequences for the correlation of forces within the party. That’s because it was already taken for granted that the current minority leader, Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy (California), would be elected Speaker of the House next year. A bad result, however, opens space in the chess for other names to occupy the position, such as Steve Scalise (Louisiana), today “whip” (a kind of articulator) of the minority.

Democrats managed to keep seats where polls indicated a Republican turn, such as Abigail Spanberger (Virginia), Seth Magaziner (Rhode Island) and Chris Pappas (New Hampshire). In three tight Texas races, the Democrats won two.

The performance weighs especially heavily on former President Donald Trump, who has suffered some defeats. Starting with Oz, Pennsylvania, a staunch Trumpist whose defeat gave Democrats a Senate seat that is now held by a Republican, Pat Toomey. In the same state, Doug Mastriano, a denier of the 2020 election result, lost to Democrat Joshua Shapiro.

Pennsylvania is a swing state, as is Michigan, where Democrat Gretchen Whitmer won re-election against ultraconservative political commentator Tudor Dixon, supported by the former president. In Ohio, on the other hand, the victory of bestselling author on finance JD Vance has secured yet another staunch Trumpist, who has already repeated the false allegations of fraud in 2020, in the Senate starting next year.

The underwhelming performance in these midterms reorganizes the presidential race for 2024 — Trump is expected to announce next week that he will be a candidate — and the former president should have one of the main winners of the night as his opponent.

Ron DeSantis was re-elected governor of Florida with almost 20% more votes than his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, a performance far superior to his first election, which consolidates him at the top of the list of strongmen in the Republican Party and makes him a threat. to Trump in the next presidential election.

Analysts point out that the existence of very radical Republican candidates and the concern of voters with the maintenance of the right to abortion may have been fundamental for the party not to have achieved the expected result on Tuesday.

Exit poll conducted by CNN showed that 27% of voters say abortion was the main reason for going to the polls in the country where voting is not mandatory. The Supreme Court’s ruling in June that termination of pregnancy is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution led to a wave of female voters registering to vote, which boosted Democratic candidates.

The proportion is close to what until now would be seen as the main punishment factor for Democrats in power, the country’s economic situation. A third of respondents to the same survey said inflation was the main reason they drove them out of the house this year. Inflation is at 8.2% in the 12-month period, slightly lower than the peak of 9.1% in June, but still at high levels.

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