US midterm elections evoke uncertainty in political landscape

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Photo used with permission from U.S. Embassy in Canada

U.S. citizens rushed to polling stations Nov. 8 to cast their ballot in the midterm elections. The outcome of these elections can play a decisive role in the government’s legislation for the two years until the next midterm elections in 2024.

Nassef Sawiris, Media Team

For the U.S. midterm elections Nov. 8, citizens headed to polls to vote for senators, House of Representative members and governors. Midterm elections occur every two years on the first Tuesday of November, and the resulting positions determine the balance of power in the two houses of Congress until 2024.

Social Studies Teacher Terry Gladis said it is important individuals to participate in elections as voting is one of the most fundamental rights available.

“I’m a believer in the fact that the most important right that you have is the right to vote and participate in elections,” Gladis said.

According to The Washington Post, a smaller share of U.S. citizens cast their ballots in this year’s midterm elections than in the previous 2018 midterm elections.

Antonio Reis (’25) said he cares about the progression of U.S. politics and therefore keeps close track of the election results.

“Seeing how the political landscape in the U.S. changes and what that means for the rest of the world is always something I’m super engaged in every time it comes around,” Reis said.

Reis said the way a given administration is handling issues often affects the midterm election results. Reis said while Biden’s dealings with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting inflation impacted the elections, Trump’s involvement in electing members of the U.S. Supreme Court that contributed to the overturn of Roe v. Wade also harmed the Republican party during the elections.

Jemma Granite (’25) said this midterm election carries more weight as the outcome will determine legislation over the remainder of Biden’s presidential term.

“It’s more significant to me than previous midterms,” Granite said. “It decides a lot of storage issues around the economy, around crime, around social division and around reproductive rights.”

It decides a lot of storage issues around the economy, around crime, around social division and around reproductive rights.”

— Social Studies Teacher Terry Gladis

Granite said gun control laws differ between Democrats and Republicans and those dynamics come into play during the midterms.

“If Democrats are able to dominate the Senate and have a numerical advantage with Democratic members of the House, there will be less school shootings,” Granite said.

Meanwhile, Gladis said Biden’s attempt to emphasize restoring a representative government was ineffective forthe Democratic party in the elections.

“Biden made a big push right before the midterms in talking about democracy being a very big issue in terms of [the fact that] we need to restore democracy to the United States of America,” Gladis said. “I honestly thought that Biden made a mistake by really pushing the idea of democracy and not focusing on inflation and some of those other hot topics.”

In this year’s election, Republicans were victorious in their efforts to retake control of the House of Representatives as they gained eight seats to reach a total of 218 members, according to the Associated Press. In contrast, Democrats have retained control of the senate with 50 seats and may add an extra seat in December as the results in Georgia are yet to be concluded, per Georgia.gov.

Gladis said polling is beginning to become less of a relevant metric to conject the outcome of elections in the U.S. Polling-based predictions compiled by FiveThirty Eight were inaccurate and have continued to decline in accuracy, according to The New Yorker.

“In 2016, FiveThirtyEight was completely wrong and again this year their numbers were skewed in saying that there was gonna be this huge Republican red wave,” Gladis said. “When it comes to polling, there are a lot of people that don’t tell me the truth. So, you should hedge your bets.”

With election results, Gladis said he believes the House of Representatives was guaranteed to be taken back by the Republicans.

“A month or two before I was like there still might be a chance for the Democrats to keep the Senate,” Gladis said. “I never thought that they could keep the house just because everybody’s up for re-election, all 435.”

Granite said the Republicans regaining control of the House of Representatives will have implications for the Biden administration.

“If the House is more dominated by Republicans, that’s actually going to affect the legislation that he’s able to pass on his own, like a personal agenda as the president of the United States,” Granite said.

Bottom line is, it has opened the opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to work together and reach across the aisle.”

— Social Studies Teacher Terry Gladis

Granite said without the Democrats having control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Republicans will effectively enter a gridlock with Biden in his future jurisdictions. According to FiveThirtyEight, the president’s party historically loses ground during the midterms.

“There’s not really gonna be any point of the Senate being heavily Democratic if the House of Representatives is heavily Republican because they’re sort of, like, the initial eyes on decisions that Biden makes and the legislations he wants to pass in his agenda,” Granite said.

Ultimately, Gladis said the fact that the Republicans and Democrats each have a house can potentially lead to new opportunities for collaboration between the two parties.

“Bottom line is, it has opened the opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to work together and reach across the aisle,” Gladis said. “The fact that matters is because the Republicans have the house, it still gives them a ton of leverage.”