US media change tune after midterms

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Biden has lost just 11 seats in the Congress against Trump’s 40, Clinton’s 50 and Obama’s 63 in the November midterms, a rare feat. Yet both Obama and Clinton won their 2nd term in office in the White House…writes T.N. Ashok

Even as Democrats celebrate retaining control of the US Senate by winning 50 seats and reducing the margin in the House, US President Joe Biden faces innumerable challenges in the remaining two years of his term with which the Senate coincides and over 1400 key appointments of his hang in the balance to courts, cabinet, legislatures and ambassadors.

The US Media, which predicted largely a ‘Red Wave’ under former President Donald Trump against inflation, is now changing its tune and calling Biden’s retention of the Senate and narrowing losses in the House of Representatives, as a ‘Blue Tsunami’ that was not a referendum on the President’s governance or economic policies, but more about Trump and his choice of “racist and extreme right wing” candidates.

“Democrats are celebrating their retention of the Senate as their singular victory and rejection of GOP’s right wing extremism,” the Washington Post said in a report.

Democrats on Sunday celebrated retaining their majority in the Senate after Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) was reelected, even as they were not sure they could retain control of the House having won just 204 seats against 212 of the Republicans. Catherine’s victory got the vital 50th Senate seat for Democrats and quashed Republican hopes of retaking control of both chambers of Congress, as many had predicted in the weeks leading up to Election Day, media reports said.

“When far-right Republicans said they knew better, I knew we would prove them wrong,” Cortez Masto said in a victory speech Sunday after winning the vital Nevada seat. With the Senate runoff in Georgia next month between Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D) and Republican Herschel Walker, Democrats have a chance to pick up a 51st seat, a stunning feat in a midterm election year that typically does not favour the party in power.

Biden has lost just 11 seats in the Congress against Trump’s 40, Clinton’s 50 and Obama’s 63 in the November midterms, a rare feat. Yet both Obama and Clinton won their 2nd term in office in the White House.

The Georgia seat is of utmost importance to the Democrats, which they are likely to win on December 6, because that win would ensure that Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D) does not have to enter into a power sharing agreement with the Republicans and can get Biden to confirm his judicial appointments to different courts after being reelected as the Senate majority leader.

Another significant breakthrough for the Democrats is that all the Senate committees under the chairmanship of Democrats will continue to function and there would be no disruption or discontinuity in their work, many of them are investigating committees such as the Congressional panel on Jan 6 Capitol Hills insurrection, political analysts observed.

Schumer on Saturday night called the results a “vindication” for the Democratic agenda and a rejection of Republican extremism. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) clinched a third term – a feat that hasn’t happened in his district in 25 years – he hammered Trump acolyte Karoline Leavitt for her stances on social security, the Post said.

In a stunning reverse, Democrats flipped a seat in a red leaning district in Washington State as Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez beat Trump-backed Republican challenger Joe Kent.

The former president promoted Kent in the primary over Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The TIME magazine said that the current tally had Republicans leading with 211 seats. And Democrats are lagging behind at 204 of the 218 needed to gain control of the House, but ballots were still being counted in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Oregon and New York. The 2022 Midterm Election defied odds with Democratic candidates delivering major upsets and retaining more Senate and House seats than expected following Tuesday’s vote.

Political pundits had long predicted a red wave, with many pointing to the president’s low approval rating at 41 per cent since September 2021 that never climbed and rising inflation as a strong campaign that could influence Americans to support a conservative majority. But that did not fructify, the publication said.

CNN, a “confirmed supporter” of the liberals that provoked Trump to call it the Clinton News Network, said that the Democratic Party pulled off a midterm election for the record books. Midterms are for the opposition party to shine, especially as in November this year when there is once in a generation inflation making the vast majority of Americans think that country is on the wrong track.

Instead, Biden and the Democrats are in a position to have one of the four best midterms for the party controlling the White House in the last century, CNN analysts observed.

In the November midterms, voters punished Republican candidates who were perceived as “too extreme” – on issues such as abortion and/or for being too closely tied to the former President, tainted by the alleged Capitol Hill’s insurrections, tax frauds and spiriting away top secret documents to his Florida home.

Biden has followed the pattern of 1934, 1962 and 2002, monumental achievements for the president’s party and major exceptions to rule, that an incumbent party always lost seats in a midterm.

Democrats victory has cascaded down into the state legislatures as well as the blue party has for the first time since 1934 had a net gain of governorships in a president’s first midterm. Only Ronald Reagan had a net gain of governorship in 1986 though he lost heavily in the senate.

NBC news network quoted a study by Edison Research to say that the 2022 midterm election turned out to be nearly as much of a referendum on the defeated former president Trump than it was on incumbent president Biden. Edison cited exit polls to advance its argument against Trump’s campaign and wrong selection of candidates boomeranging on him.

Trump loomed large in the minds of voters and dragged down his party’s candidates – nationally and in key swing states, despite being out of power. This took the edge off the impact of Biden’s unpopularity and widespread economic pain, helping Democrats buck a political gravity to pull them down but hold their own, reports said.

In a nationwide poll, 32 per cent of voters in 2022 had earlier said they opposed Biden, but 28 per cent said their vote was “to oppose Trump”, even though Trump was out of office. The former president’s continued dominance over the GOP made the 2022 election, in the minds of voters, almost as much about a defeated former president as it was about the current president and party in power.

“It was a Trump problem, and independents didn’t vote for candidates they viewed as extreme and too closely linked with the former president”. The exit polls suggested that Independent voters constituted 31 per cent of the electorate who favored Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 49 per cent to 47 per cent. This was a significant departure from the past midterms.

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