Don’t look to the USA mid-term elections for any light relief

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After a long lie-down in a darkened room, it’s very good to be back with the LDV team.

Such a crazy time in UK politics might tempt us to look to the USA mid-term elections for some light relief. Sadly, disappointment awaits us at the other side of the pond.

I doubt whether the US mid-term election results will provide any light. Indeed, a great deal of heat and frustration is likely to accompany the outcome.

I won’t, for a second, make any predictions, aside from advising all to adopt the brace position. Prepare for whatever you perceive as the worst outcome.

Instead, I offer a narrative of the overall “feel” of the elections, from my (rather obsessive) daily observation of US political news:

The President’s party historically performs poorly in Mid-term elections

Forbes’ Niall McCarthy: “According to Gallup’s polling history, presidents with an approval rating below 50% have seen their party lose 37 House seats on average. Among presidents with approval ratings higher than 50%, the average number of seats lost is 14.”

As I write, President Biden has a 40% approval rating. It’s more or less stuck there.

Based on historical trends, it seems highly likely that the Republicans will win the House comfortably.

Democrats are unusually well motivated but there a lot of very tight races

Democrats are more motivated to vote than historic supporters of a sitting President. There are a lot of races with very tight margins.

David Wasserman, senior editor for The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, counts “162 seats in the Solid Democratic column, 14 more that are Likely Democrat, and 17 listed as Lean Democrat, for a total of 193 seats where they have an edge. Conversely, 188 seats are in the Solid Republican category, 12 more are Likely Republican, and 11 Lean Republican, totalling 211 seats where they seem to have the upper hand.” There are 32 seats in the “toss-up” category.

In the Senate, there are very close races in Nevada, Ohio and North Carolina, with Pennsylvania tightening. Again, no predictions. Anything could happen, and usually does. It’s possible we even end up with the current 50/50 situation.

It’s the economy, stupid

The Supreme Court decision on Roe v Wade, plus the “Trump factor” has, no doubt, increased enthusiasm amongst Democrat supporters. However, there are signs that more prosaic concerns about the economy and crime are now helping the Republicans.

It could all go down to that last gust of wind

The great and wise US political analyst, Charlie Cook concludes:

Voters are deeply conflicted this year. Watch for that last gust of wind: Whichever way it goes can make a huge difference in so many of these really close races.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in LDVUSA and Op-eds.


  • I will make a prediction: Republicans to take a majority in the House, and also a narrow majority in the Senate (with 51/52 to 49/48). Tables then turn with the House launching investigations into Hunter Biden and what his father knew of his business dealings, rather than investigating republicans. Since the House must approve the Budget, expect Biden to be completely hamstrung in terms of delivering on his agenda. Since the Senate must approve Judicial nominations, expect no further appointments to the Supreme Court or even to Courts of Appeal. Normal government will be gridlocked for 2 years until the next presidential election in 2024. Not what readers will want to see happen, but that is what I expect to unfold.

  • Mark Smulian 23rd Oct '22 - 6:17pm

    Liberal International British Group has an online forum on the results of the US midterms – with expert speakers – on 14 November. All welcome, see here for details:

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