The ballots for the 2022 midterm elections have been counted. Here is why Americans voted the way that they did and what can be expected for the next two years.
Previously, the Democrats held a full Congress majority in the 116th Congress. The incumbent Democratic Party maintained its majority in the Senate. However, the Republicans won the majority in the House of Representatives.
In the Senate, the Democrats currently hold 50 seats while the Republicans hold 49. The final seat will be decided by the Georgia runoff election on Dec. 6, 2022. Regardless of the results of the Georgia runoff, Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote gives Democrats the majority. The final Senate seat still carries significant weight; not only will Democrats be defending 23 out of 33 of the Senate seats up for election in 2024, but three of those seats are also located in states that former President Donald Trump won in the 2020 presidential election.
The Republican Party now holds a 221 to 214 majority in the House of Representatives. The Republicans were projected to win the House majority, as the incumbent party has averaged a loss of 29 House seats in midterm elections since World War II. The 2022 Midterm Elections were not suspected to go any differently as President Joe Biden’s approval rating hovered at less than 40%. However, the projected red wave never came, as Democrats only lost nine seats in the House of Representatives.
Head of the Upper School John Schafer explained that one main cause of the unusual midterm results was the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, which overturned the federally-guaranteed right to an abortion. Democrats focused heavily on emphasizing that they were in favor of the universal right to an abortion during and immediately after the Dobbs Decision over the summer, according to Schafer.
Republican candidates who were backed by former president Donald Trump or aligned with his politics produced underwhelming polling numbers. Trump-endorsed Republican candidates such as Robert Hines of North Carolina and Joe Kent of Washington lost to their Democratic counterparts in mostly-conservative districts. Republican victories in conservative districts produced smaller margins than former president Trump in the 2020 presidential election according to USA Today.
“What was really galvanizing for voters is this notion that [the Republicans] deny elections, that they deny election results or that they are pro-choice with no exceptions were out of the mainstream and voters didn’t vote those folks in,” Schafer said. “Mainstream candidates did better than extreme candidates in this election.”
The Senate majority granted the Biden administration the ability to continue appointing Democrats into federal positions and to nominate a Supreme Court justice if a seat becomes vacant in the next two years. However, without a full majority in Congress, President Biden’s legislative agenda will suffer, according to BBC News.
Menlo is located in California’s 18th Congressional District, which has just reelected Congresswoman Anna Eshoo to serve as its representative in the House of Representatives. Eshoo beat fellow Democrat Rishi Kumar by more than 15% according to the New York Times. Eshoo, along with Jackie Speier of California’s 14th Congressional District and Nancy Pelosi of California’s 12th Congressional District, have been members of Congress for nine, 14 and 35 years, respectively. However, this generation of Democrat representatives serving majority Democrat districts have recently announced their retirement — such as Speier — or may retire soon, opening the opportunity for a new generation of California leaders. “That’s kind of exciting,” Schafer said. “Who’s the next crop of leaders?”`