Analysis of the MidTerm Election Results

Democrats defied historical trends and defeated several candidates backed by Donald Trump to keep control of the Senate, providing enormous relief for President Biden. The battle for the House, meanwhile, remains too close to call. The picture in the Senate became clear over the weekend after Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada narrowly defeated Republican Adam Laxalt to win re-election, putting her party over the threshold. Democratic Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona also won his re-election contest in Arizona over the weekend. Both Laxalt and Masters were endorsed by Trump and promoted his false claims about the presidential race he lost.

These two victories mean Democrats will hold the Senate regardless of the outcome of Georgia’s December 6 runoff election, when Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker face each other again after neither cleared the 50% threshold required under state law. A Walker win would keep the Senate 50-50, where Vice President Kamala Harris casts the tie-breaking vote for Democrats. A Warnock victory would make it 51-49, giving Democrats one extra vote in a chamber where they have often been stymied by internal dissent from members like Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Biden can now count on partners in the Senate to confirm his judicial and administration appointments, even if his legislative agenda ends up effectively blocked because of a Republican takeover of the House. Republicans headed into last week’s election confident a “red wave” would sweep them into power in the Senate and give them a commanding majority in the House. As it became clear that neither would materialize, conservative leaders and media figures began pointing fingers and blaming each other for the surprising defeat – with Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy all facing backlash.

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