Elections to Remember: No Republican Sweep After All

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. elections sometimes offer a moment of national unity. It’s not one of them.

2022 mid-termsdeciding the balance of power in Congress, have been bitter, surly and cost billions. Even the very notion of democracy and the civil ritual of voting were under attack.

President Joe Biden, who presides over tight Democratic control of Washington, has seen his approval ratings shaken by soaring inflation, fears over crime and the lingering effects of the pandemic.

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Republicans, meanwhile, have faced a rift between the party’s establishment wing and President Donald Trump.

Here are some takeaways from this year’s election:

TO BE CONTINUED. …

The Republicans hoped for annihilation. They didn’t understand it. After Democrats secured several hard-fought victories in swing districts, such as Representative Abigail Spanberger’s Virginia seat, the sweeping victories that many Republicans had predicted had yet to materialize early Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the fate of the Democrats’ tight grip on the Senate was unclear.

Democrat John Fetterman defeated Dr. Mehmet Oz for a crucial Pennsylvania Senate seat vacated by retired Republican Senator Pat Toomey. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and former NFL star Herschel Walker, a Republican, have been locked in a tight competition in Georgia.

And the outcome of the two remaining seats that will determine which party will hold the majority in the Senate – Arizona and Nevada – may not be known for days as the two states hold mail-in elections, which take a long time to count.

Stay tuned.

HISTORY LESSON

It’s called history for a reason. The party that celebrates its victory in the White House usually mourns a midterm defeat two years later.

Add to this historical pattern an economy battered by inflation and teetering on recession, add fears about crime, and the result is almost certain.

For Biden and House Democrats, the likelihood of retaining power in the lower house of Congress was still low. Republicans expected to win enough seats to regain a majority. If successful, which was not immediately clear Wednesday morning, they also plan to neutralize Biden’s agenda for the next two years.

Since 1906, there have only been three midterm elections in which the ruling president’s party has won seats in the House: 1934, when the country was in the throes of a depression, 1998, when the states States were buoyed by a booming economy, and 2002, when President George W. Bush had sky-high approval ratings amid national feeling of unity after the 9/11 attacks.

IS FLORIDA STILL A SWING STATE?

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio, both Republicans, offer the latest evidence that Florida is getting redder. Both men soared to early re-election victories on Tuesday, both winning Miami-Dade County, which Democrat Hillary Clinton carried by 29 percentage points in 2016.

Florida was a classic battleground. He twice helped propel Barack Obama to the White House. But the state, where the number of registered Democrats exceeded Republicans in 2020, has increasingly shifted to the right. That’s thanks to the GOP’s inroads into Hispanic voters, as well as an influx of new residents, including many retirees, attracted by its lack of income taxes as well as its sunny weather.

“Democrats really need to think about how they’re going to rebuild there. The Obama coalition no longer exists,” said Carlos Curbelo, a former Republican congressman who called Florida “off the map for the foreseeable future” for Democrats.

DeSantis won the governorship in 2018 by just about 30,000 votes. On Tuesday, he toppled at least six counties he lost that year. Those same counties were worn by Biden just two years ago.

Some Democrats attribute some of Tuesday’s catastrophic losses to a lack of investment from their party.

“That’s what happens when national Democrats decide not to spend money in the state,” said Greg Goddard, a Democratic fundraising consultant from Florida who raised money for the Loser Challenge. representing Val Demings against Rubio. “The path for Democrats to win future presidential elections is very slim if you don’t plan to spend in Florida

WAS IT A “RED WAVE” OR A UNDULATION?

Whether a red ripple will wash away Republicans likely won’t be known for days or weeks, as states that run their elections largely by mail, such as California, continue to count the votes.

One thing is certain: it’s unlikely to match the 2010 tea party wave, which brought in 63 seats, or the Newt Gingrich-led House takeover in 1994, which ousted 54 Democrats and flipped the chamber under GOP control for the first time since the presidency. by Dwight Eisenhower.

Any reason why this won’t happen? There just aren’t many competitive seats.

The final result ? Much less interest in compromise and more traffic jams in the corridors of Congress.

WHAT DO REPUBLICANS WANT?

Gingrich’s “Contract with America” ​​was celebrated as the cornerstone of the House Republican takeover in 1994 for offering a concrete list of policies the GOP would pursue if elected.

Now Republicans are much more circumspect about their goals.

” That’s a very good question. And I’ll let you know when we get it back,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters in January.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has proposed a ‘Pledge to America’, a list of priorities that fits on a pocket card he carries with him, which has lots of slogans and few details .

The two may be trying to avoid the fate of Gingrich whose “contract with America” ​​became a liability when Republicans failed to enact it.

House Republicans have said they intend to investigate Biden and his administration. They also called for a renewed focus on fiscal restraint, a crackdown on illegal immigration on the southern border and an increase in national energy production.

Much of it may not matter. Biden, after all, has a veto pen.

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MOST EXPENSIVE HALF TERMS

The 2022 elections are expected to cost $16.7 billion at the state and federal levels, making them the most expensive midterm elections ever, according to the nonpartisan OpenSecrets.

For perspective: the contests will nearly double the cost of the 2010 midterm elections, more than double the 2014 midterm elections, and are on track to roughly equal Mongolia’s gross domestic product in 2022 .

At least $1.1 billion given federally so far this election season has come from a small coterie of donors, many of whom have favored conservative causes.

“When you look at the top 25 individual donors, conservative donors far outweigh liberal donors by $200 million,” said Brendan Glavin, senior data analyst for OpenSecrets. “There is a big disconnect.”

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel ($32.6m), cargo delivery magnate Richard Uihlein ($80.7m), hedge fund manager Ken Griffin ($68.5m) and heir Timothy Mellon of a Gilded Age Fortune who donated $40 million, are among the top conservative donors.

On the Liberal side, hedge fund founder George Soros has donated the most ($128 million), though much of it has yet to be spent. Sam Bankman Fried, a 30-year-old liberal cryptocurrency billionaire, donated $39.8 million.

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