Mid-term elections, what's next for the United States?

The most viable scenario is that the "reds" win the House of Representatives and tie in the Senate with the Democrats. The results modify the partisan control of both chambers. The U.S. electorate "races" to the center.

Mid-term elections, what's next for the United States?
Biden and his party held off the Republican offensive in the U.S. midterms. Photo by Clay Banks / Unsplash

The Republican "red wave" in the recent elections in the United States did not come as expected and this fact will have a significant cost for Donald Trump since it will make it possible for new and young political actors to gain strength, while the Democrats will have to decide whether Joe Biden will be a candidate for the presidency again in the 2024 election, said José Luis Valdés Ugalde, Mariana Aparicio Ramírez and Juan Carlos Barrón Pastor, specialists from the UNAM.

In the distance press conference "Mid-term elections, what's next for the United States?", the former director and expert of the Center for Research on North America (CISAN), José Luis Valdés Ugalde, explained that normally this process is lost by the party in power, in this case, the Democrat. "They are usually a form of a referendum on the incumbent government."

Although they are still ongoing -and in Georgia, where the vote was close and there will surely be a second round-, the most viable scenario is that the Republicans win the House of Representatives (equivalent to the House of Representatives in Mexico) and tie in the Senate with the Democrats.

Biden and his party were able to contain the Republican offensive and its most recalcitrant sectors. "It is a very important achievement that prevented a major threat to American democracy, such as the one that was thought to be going to happen, and in that sense, the Republicans failed and Trump did not triumph as he thought he would."

If the Democrats win a majority in the Senate or obtain a relative majority, the main issues that would affect the relationship with Mexico would be human rights, murders of journalists, respect for institutions, the fight against corruption, migration, and the fight against climate change.

The Republicans have among their priorities: drug trafficking, particularly fentanyl, as well as human trafficking and undocumented migration; organized crime; and energy policy.

Although the relationship with Mexico was not a central issue in the campaigns, with the victory in the House of Representatives, the Republicans would have control of the chairmanships of important committees for Mexico, such as foreign affairs, agriculture, and judicial affairs.

The Latino vote continues to be overwhelmingly pro-Democratic and defines the election in districts and even in governorships. "It has a presence within the decision-making apparatus and the U.S. political process", and its importance will be growing since it is the first demographically recognized minority, above African-Americans.

The US mid-term elections modify the partisan control of both chambers

In her participation, the academic coordinator of the Observatory of the Binational Relationship Mexico-United States, of the School of Political and Social Sciences, Mariana Aparicio Ramírez, considered:

The US mid-term elections modify the partisan control of both chambers. On this occasion, the 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the Senate are up for renewal. In the first case, the "analyses point out that the Republicans will take control of the House with a majority, but limited margin". Meanwhile, in the states "there are surprises".

The possible results point to an interesting scenario for the Joe Biden administration, for example, the loss of the Democratic majority in the lower house that could represent a brake to its legislative agenda. It is still an ongoing analysis; "everything can change".

The U.S. president is concerned about the rising inflationary situation, which impacts the pockets of the middle class. Society resents the negative effects of the trade war with China, because the implementation of tariffs causes price increases in imported products with a view to an alleged benefit to local products, which in practice did not decrease their value, but did affect the population.

As for Mexico, she explained, it is identified as an ally or trading partner. As part of the North American economic dialogue this year, value chains, semiconductors, and small and medium-sized enterprises were included in a high-level agenda. "Trade policy is a determining factor."

A state of disappointment and surprise

In turn, CISAN's academic secretary, Juan Carlos Barrón Pastor, mentioned that even though they give a slight advantage to the Republicans in the House of Representatives, there is a state of disappointment and surprise. There is no euphoria or the expected "red wave", which creates a positive outlook for the current administration.

The electorate "runs" towards the center, and when issues such as abortion or the legalization of marijuana are put on the table, it becomes more nuanced. In this process, he stressed, socio-digital networks paradoxically represent a balance and are part of the shift away from the radical discourses that were known in 2020.

Trump may be upset; he should not only be concerned about the resilience of the Democratic Party on this election day, but also about the strengthening of Republican political actors in Georgia or Texas and, above all, of Ron DeSantis who, in Florida, scored an important victory and is a figure that can compete with him by winning reelection as governor, he concluded.

What are the midterm elections in the United States?

In the United States, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the Senate are up for election in the midterm elections. Most of the time, the opposition party wins, which makes the rest of the president's term harder.

In the United States, the legislative elections, or "midterms," are held in November, two years after the presidential election. People vote for one-third of the Senate and the members of the House of Representatives. There are also elections for the governors of 36 states and some local offices.

The midterms are a chance for the opposition to gain more power in Congress and get a sense of how the voters feel about the president. Most of the time, they have limited the power of the ruling party, which loses seats in both houses unless there is a crisis.

The midterms: a key election

During midterm elections in the U.S., all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33 or 34 of the 100 Senate seats are up for grabs. The lower house of Congress is called the House of Representatives. Its members are chosen every two years based on how many people live in each state. The Senate is the upper house. Each state elects two senators every six years. Together, they make up the legislative branch of the U.S. government. It is their job to make and pass laws and declare war.

If the president's party has a majority in Congress, the president is more likely to be able to decide which issues will be talked about and which bills will be put to a vote. But if the opposition has more votes than the government, it could stop these plans. This also happens when a Supreme Court justice is picked since the Senate has to agree with the president's choice. Because of this, the midterms are very important for the rest of his term.

Elections of governors and local representatives are also key at the national level. States are responsible for implementing laws passed by Congress, except federal laws, or legislating from Supreme Court rulings. For example, the right to abortion, formerly guaranteed by Roe v. Wade, has different requirements from state to state.

Historical trend: tapping the president

After midterm elections, the party of the president often loses seats in Congress. Since 1934, it has only won seats in both houses twice. Even though his supporters may be bored with him after two years in office and not want to vote, the opposition often gets together and changes the balance of power in Congress. In both cases, they may also think that the government is not keeping its promises.

Only President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, in 1934 and President George W. Bush, a Republican, in 2002 were in office when their parties won seats in both houses. In both cases, there was a crisis at the time. During the Great Depression, each party gained nine seats in each chamber. The Democratic Party gained nine seats in each chamber, and the Republican Party gained nine seats in each chamber. The Republican Party also gained nine seats during the Great Depression because Bush was so popular after 9/11.