“The midterm is a litmus test. It’s an assessment of how well people like the president,” Eamonn Manion, American History and Economics teacher at MA, said.
Last month, while students may have been focused on midterm exams, voters across the United States went to the polls on November 8th for the often misunderstood but important “midterm” elections. And the results were… interesting, to say the least.
“I thought the Republicans would win. It was close, and they did end up winning, but I thought it was going to be much more of a landslide,” Manion said.
In 2018, during former president Donald Trump’s midterm election, the Democrats were still in control of the House of Representatives, retaining 222 seats, with the Republicans with 213 seats. This year, during President Biden’s, the Republicans have control of the House with 220 seats, leaving the Democrats with only 213.
“No party had a landslide result, and with the Republicans, the thought that there potentially could be a red wave and that’s what often, very often happens; that the current President’s party loses particularly in Congress,” AP American History and Government teacher, Colin Quinn said.
What about the Senate? U.S. Senators serve six-year terms, with one-third of the group up for reelection every two years. This year, Minnesota didn’t vote for the Senate, but for those who did, it was a close call.
The Democrats still kept control of the Senate, but narrowly won with a close call of 50 seats to 49, by flipping Pennsylvania and keeping Arizona and Nevada, two important competitive seats, or swing states.
“The Senate is going to be Democrat majority,” Quinn said, “It’s either going to be 50/50 or 51/49.”
Georgia’s run-off election continued on December 6th, making the Senate numbers 51 for the Democrats and 49 for the Republicans. For Minnesota, Democrat Amy Klobuchar’s seat will be up for a vote in 2024, and Democrat Tina Smith’s seat will be on the 2026 ballot
“I, in my head, didn’t think it was going to be overwhelming,” Manion said, “I thought it would lean more Republican, primarily based along the lines of there’s a lot of lawsuits going on right now about Biden’s student loan forgiveness. And so I thought that might have been the tipping point for some states to be like, ‘Hey, we’re going to go a little bit more Republican’. So I thought that was going to be the result but the opposite happened.”
Minnesota itself had a governor’s election, with Tim Walz winning the reelection with 52.3% of the population’s vote. Most of the Democratic votes came from Saint Paul and Minneapolis, with some gravitation toward Duluth.
“I think Walz just makes sure that he’s out and about enough. He’s just going around and making himself known. And he’s making decisions that the majority of the people want in the metro area,” Manion said. “I think it was a shoo-in.”
All of these results tie into different problems, whether it’s the President’s age or gender.
“When I voted I focused more on the topic of abortion,” Caroline Waters, one of MA’s seniors, said.
“I tend to try and try to find information on the character of the person more than their stance on issues because I don’t always think just because they agree with me on an issue that they’ll be able to influence that issue,” Christine O’Bert, Administrative Assistant in the Science department, said. “I try to vote for the people who are of good character, but that information is harder to find.”
Overall, the U.S. election this year kept the Democrats in a narrow lead.
“I do wonder if it’s possible that since neither party can claim an all-out victory, maybe moderates in some way had a victory. And I don’t think a divided government is all bad because if forces hopefully compromise. That doesn’t always happen, but the branches do have to work together to get things done.” Manion said.
“In my opinion, the country will go either Republican or Democrat in 2024. I think that that heavily depends on external factors. In the end, I think it will depend on foreign countries,” Manion said.
What’s next? In 2023 and 2024, with “divided government” we would expect no major changes, as the parties try to block each other’s moves and possibly work together to pass moderate plans.
Who will be the major presidential candidates? Donald Trump has already announced his candidacy, but he would be 78 on election day in 2024– while President Joe Biden would be 82.