The US midterm elections on November 6 sprung a few surprises for the country’s incumbent president, Donald Trump. Midterm elections occur halfway between presidential elections and all 435 members of the House of Representatives are up for election, with one-third of the Senate also up for grabs. On the face of it, the election results certainly do shine greater light on the Democrats. They beat the Republicans by 7.1 points in the popular vote. Even in the Senate where Democrats lost ground, they won the popular vote in those races by 15 points. Democrats have also picked up between seven to nine House seats in the Midwest/Rustbelt region, and as this was the region that was seen as one which gave Trump the presidency, the deep rejection of the GOP there has to be seen as a dangerous development for the president.
However, historically and statistically, the results are not anything out of the expected. The president’s party has lost an average of 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate in every mid-term election since the American Civil War. President Trump has also always been historically unpopular, according to opinion polls. It is not popular vote that counts in the US as the 2016 election showed though: It is the electoral college. Therefore, Trump’s approval ratings and the parties’ popular vote figures of the midterm elections matter for very little. And with dozens of Republican lawmakers retiring this year, the Democrats always had a decent chance of taking over the House. The real deciding factor was going to be the Senate where, out of the seats up for grabs, 26 are held by Democrats (including two independents who vote with them) and just nine by Republicans. Therefore, the fact that the Republicans expanded their control over the Senate paints a brighter picture for the Republicans. Plus, with the House being responsible for which bills come to the floor, the decreased legislative burden on the Republicans might actually help them as they can now point blame at the Democrats for congressional gridlocks. Now, only time will tell if this election does prove to be an indicator and prelude to the 2020 presidential race.
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Source: Financial Express