Red wave runs into blue wall as Republicans fall short of expectations



WASHINGTON: The Republican Party in America narrowly gained control of the 435-member House of Representatives in midterm elections on Tuesday, falling well short of a blowout win for the Grand Old Party and a bloodbath for Democrats that pollsters and pundits had projected.
Results for the 100-member Senate, currently tied at 50-50, hung in balance with several races too close to call. But Democrats won some key races, including for a much-watched open seat in Pennsylvania, defying dire predictions of a demolition by Donald Trump‘s MAGA forces.
In fact, President Biden could well have bragging rights for one of the best performances by an incumbent in a mid-term poll, which is usually a referendum on the sitting President and goes against the party holding the White House. Full results are yet to be certified — and it could take weeks for the final tally — but indications are the Democratic Party could lose less than a dozen House seats (they were +5 in the outgoing Congress).
By way of comparison, Bill Clinton bled House 52 seats in 1994 midterm polls and Barack Obama lost a record 63 in 2010. Even Trump lost 40 House seats in the 2018 midterms.
In fact, Trump was the biggest loser on the night as the anticipated red wave met ran into the blue wall despite the Republican gains. A spectacular win in the Florida gubernatorial election by Republican incumbent Ron DeSantis meant the rise of a new challenger within the party to the former President’s hopes for another crack at the White House.
Many Trump surrogates lost on Tuesday night, despite predictions that a MAGA-fuelled red sweep would turbocharge his bid for another term in the White House. In one of the most compelling races in a toss-up state, Democrat John Fetterman won an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania vacated by a Republican defeating Trump-back Dr Mehmet Oz.
Democrats also won the Governor’s race, three swing Congressional seats, and are on track to flip the state house in a battleground state that has seen ferocious face-off between largely urban and suburban liberal voters and mostly rural MAGA forces. Democrats also flipped the state senate — another toss-up state — for first time since 1983.
In the end, it was not a red wave, much less a red tsunami that pollsters had projected; it was barely a red puddle that set off recrimination and fingerpointing within the GOP. Despite the loss of the House, Democrats rejoiced over staunching the bleeding and sparking off bloodletting within the Republican Party.
Retaining control of the Senate would be an unexpected bonus. Senate races in Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada, all too close to call, could determine the outcome, with the first one headed for a run-off election in December because neither candidate reached a 50 per cent threshold.
The result still meant Republicans, with their control of the House, can impair President Biden’s agenda.


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