With midterms for Congress occurring today, pressure on both political parties to win the elections is increasing. At the moment, the Republican Party holds the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are enough available seats, however, for the Democratic Party to take both branches. Traditionally, the party in power loses some seats in Congress during midterms, but President Donald Trump and the Republican Party have been making an effort to keep this shift from happening. The midterm elections are poised to be extremely interesting.
If history repeats itself, the Democrats have a good chance of taking control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Presidential popularity and campaign fundraising are two key statistics that have predicted previous “wave election” years, during which the party in power loses control of Congress. In the past, any time a president has had an approval rating of less than 50%, the opposing party has taken over both the House and Senate. Trump’s current rating is 42%, and so it could be another wave election year. The amount of donations each party has received also often predicts a wave year, as funding can be fairly representative of how much support each party has, and therefore how the elections will swing. This year, the Democratic Party has received about $200 million more than the Republicans ($430 million compared to $230 million), a number that highly suggests the Democrats could dominate Congress after midterms, as usually the party with the most financial support wins significantly more elections.
Despite the evidence that the Republican Party will lose seats, there are also indications that they will maintain control of Congress. The strong economy that has developed under the Trump Administration is likely to gain votes for Republican candidates. Because of a 3.7% unemployment rate and a US GDP growth of 4.2% this year, voters who elected Trump in hopes of a stronger economy will likely be happy with the current administration and continue to support Republicans. Historically, the biggest problem the reigning party has had during midterm elections is getting voters to actually turn up. People who oppose the dominant party are more likely to have complaints, and therefore will be more likely to want to vote. This year, however, that may not be a problem for the Republicans. Controversial events, such as the Kavanaugh hearing, have given Trump and his party something to rally behind, causing Republican citizens to be more passionate about voting.
Regardless of how the midterms swing the House and Senate, there could be drastic consequences. Democrats fear that if Republicans maintain control of Congress, Trump will be able to institute all of his ideas without any resistance, giving him too much power. On the other hand, Republicans worry that if Democrats win over Congress, it could lead to an impeachment attempt, which could serve to divide the country even further. Because of these possible results, the midterms might be some of the most important elections in the nation’s history.
News Editor: Elizabeth Needham, Emanuel Abebe
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