The Democrats appear to have fended off the Republican 'Red Wave' in the US mid-term elections, but the control of the US Congress is still uncertain.
The United States voted in mid-term elections on Tuesday to elect several Congress members, state legislatures, and state governors.
The US parliament is called Congress and comprises two chambers named House of Representatives and Senate. In the House, all 435 candidates were on the ballot and 35 Senate seats were on the ballots. Moreover, 36 states also voted to elect governors.
Though results are not yet out for all seats, Republicans are projected to win a majority in the House, even as Democrats have a fighting chance to retain majority in the Senate.
At the time of the voting, the Republicans needed net gain of just one seat to win the Senate and five seats to win the House.
Republican 'Red Wave' fails
Republicans were expected to win as many as 54-55 seats in the US Senate, but that does not appear to have happened.
The Democrats have flipped a key Republican-held Senate seat, meaning they have defeated a sitting Republican Senator.
As compared to before the voting, the Republicans now need to flip two seats in their favour to win the Senate.
Top Republican leader Senator Lindsay Graham said the performance is "definitely not a Republican wave".
He told NBC News, "Definitely not a Republican wave, that is for darn sure. I think that we are going to be at 51,52 when it is all is said and done in the Senate. If we take back the House, and we get the Senate majority, that is a very good night. A wave would have been New Hampshire and Colorado."
The most high-profile loss for Republicans came in Pennsylvania where the contest turned into a proxy battle between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. The Biden-backed Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated Trump-backed Mehmet Oz.
Pennsylvania mid-term election was the most expensive in America with up to $200 million spent by both the parties.
Pennsylvania is expected to be a key swing state in 2024 US presidential elections and that's why the result is significant.
Republicans still projected to win House
Though the Republicans have not succeeded in Red Wave, they are still projected to win the House.
In the 435-member House, Republicans are leading with 199 members against 172 Democrats, according to Fox News, which adds that result is yet to be called for on 64 seats. The majority-mark is 2018.
Different news and polling organisations have different projections at any given time. Formal results are announced much later, so "calls" made by news and polling organisations are considered to be equivalent to results.
Polling forecaster and analysis wesbite FiveThirtyEight reports, "Republicans are in line for a majority [in House] because they gained many of the seats they were supposed to capture, and they are also well-positioned to win some toss-up races as well as seats in which they were underdogs...Elsewhere, the GOP flipped slightly red-leaning seats held by Democratic incumbents."
Together, notes FiveThirtyEight, these should get the Republicans past the 218-majority mark.
Democrats beat expectations, breather for Biden
Biden administration has battled low approval ratings and flak over inflation and the general state of economy in recent months.
Then there are ideological and polarising aspects such as abortion rights and border protection that have dominated the election cycle.
Beating the expectations, the projections so far appear to have favoured Biden, particularly with the flipping of Pennsylvania seat in Senate.
"The pick up is a big boost to Democrats' hopes of clinging to the Senate as the Red Wave that Republicans hoped for has yet to materialise in the House," notes CNN.
Mid-term polls are also considered to be an indicator of the re-election prosepcts of the sitting president.
"The midterm election results strengthened President Joe Biden’s hand and weakened former President Donald Trump’s. That is the starting point for the road to the White House," notes Washington Examiner, adding that Biden appears to have performed better in mid-term polls than former Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Both Biden and Clinton went on to serve a second term.
Examiner further notes, "Biden was the big Democratic winner. He was able to hold together the anti-Trump coalition enough to stave off defeat in a number of competitive races. His campaign travel schedule, anti-MAGA [Make America Great Again] messaging, and predictions that the race would swing back toward the Democrats in the end appear to be vindicated. He looks stronger than Clinton or Obama did the day after their first midterm elections, and they both won a second term."
Significance of US mid-term polls
At the time of going to vote, the Democrats' majority of House and Senate was very thin, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the 51st tie-breaking vote in the Senate. Kamala serves as the President of Senate, similar to the Speaker in India. This weak position in the Senate has strengthened to the extent as Democrats managed to flip the seat in Pennsylvania
If Republicans secure majority, the legislative agenda of Biden and fellow Democrats is bound to be stalled. It comes at a time when Biden is pressing for climate change measures, abortion rights, voter rights, gun regulations, etc.
The US President depends on the US Congress to fund the government as budget is passed by the Congress. If a party opposed to the President wins Congress, then it might lead to a gridlock where budget's passage is delayed because of ideological and political tussle. This leads to shutdowns where the government runs has no money to run its offices and pay salaries.