Republican hopes of riding a “red wave” to power in the US Congress dimmed Wednesday, as Joe Biden’s Democrats mounted a stronger-than-expected defence in a cliff-hanger midterm election.
With the majority of Tuesday’s elections called, Republicans appeared to be on track to recapture the House of Representatives for the first time since 2018, but the Senate remained in doubt, with estimates favouring Democratic.
However, by early Wednesday, the Democrats had won the lone seat that had changed hands, with John Fetterman, a muscular proponent of progressive economic principles, triumphing in Pennsylvania.
Early results in the House revealed Republicans were on pace for a majority, but only by a few seats, a far cry from their projections.
Top Republican Kevin McCarthy, who aspires to be the next Speaker of the House, adopted an enthusiastic tone in the early hours, telling supporters, “It is evident that we are going to take the House back.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, told NBC that the election “certainly isn’t a Republican wave, that’s for darn sure.”
Four crucial races
Midterm elections have historically seen the president’s party lose seats, and with Biden’s approval numbers in the low 40s and Republicans hammering him on inflation and crime, analysts projected a drubbing.
That would have prompted serious issues about whether America’s oldest-ever commander-in-chief, who turns 80 this month, should run for re-election.
Instead, Biden is expected to come out of the elections in considerably better position than any of his Democratic predecessors, Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, who both took a beating.
If the 44-year-old regards his triumph as a presidential mandate, he will almost certainly face a hard fight from another Floridian – Trump, who has promised a “exciting” announcement on November 15th.
Among other elections, Maura Healey will become the first openly lesbian governor in the United States, while in New York, where previous polls had Democrats worried, Governor Kathy Hochul defeated a Republican challenge.
Trump claims deception.
Trump, who is being investigated for stealing top-secret papers from the White House and attempting to overturn the 2020 election, has gone back to his old tricks of making unfounded charges of fraud.
In Arizona, Trump and his selected candidate for governor, Kari Lake, claimed voting equipment malfunctions.
Officials in Maricopa County’s most populous county claimed roughly 20% of the 223 polling sites had printer problems, but no one was denied the right to vote.
Biden has warned that Republicans pose a grave threat to democracy, citing their increased acceptance of voter conspiracy theories that sparked last year’s Capitol storming.
In the run-up to the election, a far-right invader came into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and bludgeoned her husband with a hammer.
Kenneth Bellows, a 32-year-old law student voting in Phoenix, said rapid inflation is “hurting Americans who are simply trying to get by.”
“We don’t need any of the insane awakened talk that is now circulating. What we actually need is to focus on everyday kitchen-table politics, such as keeping taxes down “He stated.
But, at a soul food restaurant in Pittsburgh, Lasaine Latimore, 77, claimed Democrats were best positioned to help Americans.
“All I want is my health insurance and more money for teeth and glasses,” she explained.
A Republican triumph could impede Biden’s legislative programme, with Congress scuttling his climate change ambitions and scrutinising billions of dollars in US aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.