by N. Peter Kramer reporting from Washington DC
The results of the Tuesday’s elections reveal voter anxiety over the highest inflation in forty years, the state of the nation, crime and, especially with Democratic voters, abortion access. It also shows the electorate remains strong-polarised following a tumultuous few years marked by a weak presidency , political upheaval, economic uncertainty and the pandemic.
Republicans, campaigning on repairing the economy, remain on track to take the House majority but with dozens of races still outstanding their expected gains, the predicted ‘Red Wave’, has narrowed significantly. Republicans need just a five seats to regain the House majority, which would end two years of Democratic control of Congress. But, even if the Republicans ultimately prevail, the unexpected strong Democratic performance in the face of President Biden’s poor job appearance is remarkable.
Meanwhile, Senate control is undecided as Arizona and Nevada continued to tabulate ballots and Georgia is heading into a runoff on December 6. The Senate, now split 50-50 with Democrats in control can break a tie, is a tossup. The chance that Democrats keep their power is still possible.
A divided government would pose challenges for Biden’s last two years. Legislation would be difficult and Republicans will try to establish a competing agenda, laying the groundwork to challenge Democrats in the 2024 presidential campaign.
‘The American people have made clear’, President Biden said yesterday in a White House press conference, ‘that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well. And’, he continued, ‘ I am prepared to work with my Republican colleagues’. Well, we will see…