A guide to the 2022 US midterms for non-Americans



CNN

Can Joe Biden avoid the curse of the midterm elections?

Republicans have momentum going into Election Day on Tuesday, with high hopes of winning back the House. The Senate will be decided by several close races. If the GOP takes one or two chambers, they will be in a position to kill Biden’s domestic legislative agenda. Still, they will struggle to get the policy past the president’s veto, which requires a two-thirds majority to override. The next two years could see America run by a divided government, with angry standoffs, financial showdowns and partisan investigations.

In the DPR, all 435 seats are up for grabs, where members of parliament serve two-year terms. Democrats now narrowly control the chamber, but Republicans need only a net gain of five seats to take the majority.

In the 100-seat Senate, a total of 35 seats are contested. The chamber where incumbents serve for six years is split 50-50, and Democrats now have control since Vice President Kamala Harris wields the tie-breaking vote. But Republicans only need a net gain of a single seat to take control.

There are also several other races to watch, including 36 gubernatorial contests, and many lower positions. Races for state-level Secretaries of State have been even more important this year, as they govern state elections — including the 2024 presidential race. There are also elections for state legislatures and ballot initiatives on issues including access to abortion, voting system changes, gun control measures and the legalization of marijuana for recreation.

In every election, candidates tell voters that this is the most critical election of their lifetime. This time they could be right.

A wave of Republicans will sweep away some candidates who swear by former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. The former president is likely to wear the Republican-controlled House against Biden before the 2024 presidential election; Rep. Kevin McCarthy – who will likely become the Republican Speaker if the Republicans win – did not rule out impeaching Biden, although there is no evidence that he committed an impeachable offense.

A surprise Democratic victory would allow Biden to shape social, health, and climate change laws, and balance the judiciary with liberal judges after four years of Trump’s conservative picks.

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Kevin McCarthy asked about impeaching Biden if the GOP wins the House. Hear the answer

The cliché, “The economy is stupid,” which dates to Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, is ubiquitous this election season. But it should have been, “That’s inflation, stupid.” The US cost of living is at a 40-year high, putting voters in a discontented mood. High gasoline prices haven’t helped either, and the sense of post-pandemic normalcy that Biden promised remains elusive.

The president has sought to turn economic challenges into a strong political message or to reassure voters that prices will come down soon. Some Democrats are now questioning why their candidates are ignoring the real concerns of voters by spending so much time arguing that Republicans will destroy US democracy.

Democrats hope that Supreme Court conservatives overturning abortion rights will spark a backlash against the GOP. This is possible in some areas – but the economy has repeatedly been the dominant concern of voters in polls before Election Day.

Republicans don’t have to work hard – their strategy has been to blame Biden for everything – even though inflation is driven mostly by external factors such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. They also have Democratic positions on education, crime, and immigration as extreme and far left of the mainstream.

Home player: The best way to see the results roll in is to pick a few bellwether races that will give a sense of where the election is headed. If Republicans start to win big in suburban areas and House districts where Biden is more popular than Trump in 2020, it’s a good bet they’re headed for a banner night.

FILE - Employees test voting equipment at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, Oct. 19, 2022, in Miami, ahead of the 2022 midterm elections on Nov. 8.  U.S. election security officials say protecting the nation's voting system has gone further.  challenging.  That is largely due to the embrace by millions of Americans of unfounded conspiracy theories and false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential race. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Midterm elections: These are the House races to watch

Given the narrow margin in the House of Representatives, Republicans can effectively win the majority by sweeping contested seats in states like New York alone. A fateful battle is in the newly created seat of reapportionment post-Census – Colorado’s 8th Congressional District; if Republicans win, they are on a roll.

Another tight race is in Virginia’s 7th District, where former CIA officer and Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger is seeking re-election against Trumpy conservative Republican Yesli Vega. If Democrats can hold on to these redrawn districts, which are more favorable to them in redistricting, that doesn’t mean they’ll win the House, but it could indicate they’re keeping the GOP up below the landslide rate. Spanberger, one of the strongest incumbent Democrats, does not hesitate 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 reelection. Slotkin is a moderate who has distanced himself from high-profile progressive policies and criticized his party for not doing more to address the economic pain America is facing.

Senate battleground: In the Senate, note the neck-and-neck battle in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia. If Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan loses her re-election bid in New Hampshire, that’s a sign it’s GOP night.

Pennsylvania represents the best chance for Democrats to take Republican-held seats, but their candidate John Fetterman had a stroke just before winning the party’s nomination in May. Even on the campaign trail in the summer, Fetterman had the upper hand against his Republican challenger, but the pair’s recent spat opened new questions about what effect the stroke had on the Democratic nomination.

Republicans are trying to win Democratic-held seats in Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia. If no candidate in Georgia receives 50% of the vote, there will be a run-off in December, meaning uncertainty over who will run for the Senate for the next two years could last for weeks.

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These 3 races can determine the fate of the Senate

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– Source: CNN

This is the first national election since the disaster of 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 better angels could unite the polarized country has failed. Trump still won’t admit he lost, and is using the lie that he was illegally forced from power to launch his expected re-election bid. Millions of Americans believe in him, creating an intensity among core supporters that could sweep the GOP back into power in Congress.

One key development to watch Tuesday is whether Republicans who lost the race concede, or like Trump insist they won and call it a vote count that didn’t exist. Another source of tension will arise in a race where Republicans appear to be trailing in the number of votes until early big bets and ballots are tabulated at once. Trump uses such scenarios to fake doubts about the integrity of the 2020 election.

We don’t have to guess. The GOP has told us it will make life miserable for Biden and is trying to destroy any hope of re-election. McCarthy told CNN in an exclusive interview that he plans to subject the White House to a blistering round of investigations into everything from the origins of Covid-19 to the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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McCarthy said CNN’s first bill would be on border security if the GOP wins the House

The GOP also plans to target 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, the Republican majority will make it very difficult for Biden to confirm cabinet appointments, key foreign ambassadors and judges. Expect a period of acrimonious standoffs over the US government’s budget and borrowing limit – a crisis that could plunge the global economy into deeper turmoil.

History shows that newly elected presidents almost always face opposition in midterm elections two years later. That’s why they stuck to the top legislative priorities at the beginning of their tenure.

If Democrats don’t do as badly as feared, Biden will get a boost as he ponders whether to seek re-election. If the Republicans win big, fresh questions will arise over his prospects in 2024. The President will be 80 in a few weeks – an opportunity to celebrate, but also an unwanted reminder of his own political liabilities.

It’s not all dark for the president, though. His two Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, experienced debilitating rebukes from the voters in the midterms, but recovered and won an easy reelection two years later. The question is whether Biden has the energy and political ability to use what will be an extreme Republican Congress as a foil.

The former president has made the midterms a loyalty test for the Republicans, who have had to pay for their support by amplifying their false claims of election fraud in 2020. The GOP leadership would have preferred that Trump stay out of the election entirely – but it is not. how he rolls.

Trump is crucial in his party’s loss of the House in 2018 and the Senate and the White House in 2020, and it is likely that he will be a spoiler again because the protégés he chose in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Ohio have a lot of responsibility as a candidate. If Republicans do well on Tuesday night, Trump will take the credit. If they didn’t live up to expectations, he would blame everyone else.

After all, the former president seems certain to run again in 2024 – a campaign that could trigger a political crisis because there is a possibility that he will be charged in the hiding of classified documents or for his mistakes after the 2020 elections.

But here is the bottom line. The Republican victory on Tuesday, especially in the House of Representatives, means that two years after he left in disgrace – Trumpism is back in power.

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