Democrats dodge red wave in midterm elections

Graphic sourced from

Jack Perdue, Staff Writer

Democrats outperformed polls in Nov. 8 midterm elections, minimizing losses in the House and likely retaining control over the Senate. The results came as a shock to political observers who expected Republicans to make major gains in the face of historic inflation and weak presidential approval numbers while votes are still being tallied in the key swing States.

In Arizona and Nevada, it’s clear that Democrats are in a much better position than expected, especially given the fact that midterm elections tend to favor the party that’s out of power. “Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes, the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are,” said President Biden during a press conference on Nov. 9.

In Senate races, the Democrats won in the key swing states of Pennsylvania, Arizona and New Hampshire. Most polling suggested that these races would be tossups; however, all three candidates won by a margin of at least four percent. Republicans managed to hold onto Senate seats in the states of Wisconsin and Ohio with candidates Ron Johnson and J.D. Vance beating their Democratic opponents. Two key senate races in the states of Nevada and Georgia have yet to be called in favor of either party. In Nevada, votes are still being counted, and the two candidates, Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Adam Laxalt (R) are only separated by a few thousand votes. The results of the Georgia election have been finalized; however, because neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, they will face off again in a runoff election held on Dec. 6.

Although Republicans picked up seats in the House, they massively underperformed in swing districts and any majority they claim will only be by a margin of a few votes. Democrats were able to win in many districts across the country that had been won by former President Donald Trump only a few years ago in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. While Republicans struggled in many areas, they were able to win four competitive seats in New York State, likely due to conservative messaging about rising crime in New York. In Florida’s 10th congressional district, history was made after voters elected 25-year-old Maxwell Frost, the first Gen-Z member of Congress. Frost, a Democrat, will serve in the district surrounding the city of Orlando.

Democrats continued their winning streak in gubernatorial elections by electing democratic governors in Michigan, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and others. In Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis outpaced many other republicans nationwide and won the governorship with nearly 60 percent of the vote. DeSantis, a potential 2024 Presidential contender, has been floated as an alternative to Trump due to his success in Florida. Many conservative media outlets were quick to blame Trump following the underwhelming midterm results as most of the candidates he endorsed lost to their Democratic counterparts. Republican voters also seem to be losing faith in Trump as his support within the party begins to shift to DeSantis. The former president, who is expected to announce his 2024 bid on Nov. 15, took to Truth Social to berate DeSantis. “Now that the Election in Florida is over, and everything went quite well, shouldn’t it be said that in 2020, I got 1.1 Million more votes in Florida than Ron D got this year, 5.7 Million to 4.6 Million? Just asking?” Trump posted.

Beyond the Senate, House and Governor’s races, there was also a handful of direct ballot initiatives passed following the election. Michigan, Vermont, Kentucky, California and Montana all had ballot initiatives concerning abortion rights, and in each state, voters chose to protect the right to terminate a pregnancy. In Maryland and Missouri, voters chose to legalize recreational cannabis, while voters in Arkansas and South Dakota voted not to and in Colorado, voters chose to legalize magic mushrooms.