Historically, first midterms are cold showers for presidents. : NPR

A man casts his ballot during the 2022 midterm elections on Election Day on November 8, 2022 in Lansing, Michigan.

Photo Bill Pugliano / Getty

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Photo Bill Pugliano / Getty

A man casts his ballot during the 2022 midterm elections on Election Day on November 8, 2022 in Lansing, Michigan.

Photo Bill Pugliano / Getty

The midterm elections are expected to push back the president’s party won two years earlier. This week’s vote certainly a protest to President Biden, but a much weaker protest than has been widely heralded.

Furthermore, the results can also be read as a rebuke Before President Donald Trump. While not on the ballot, Trump promoted representatives in the primaries who accepted his statements about the 2020 election. Trump was able to secure the nominations. GOP for many of his good guys and some won this week. But in the races for senator, governor and secretary of state, his position is not good.

More than some Republicans feel Trump’s overly long shadow has caused its party to suffer a major wave this weekend.

Obama’s first midterm test was “barrage”, George W. Bush was “smashed”

Republicans have been looking forward to partying like it did in 1994, the year they won a majority in the US House of Representatives for the first time in four decades and in the Senate for the first time in eight years.

It was also the year they ended Democratic dominance in the South for the first time in more than a century, winning most of the region’s governorships as well as its seats in both houses of Congress. .

Republicans this fall were at least expecting another “Tea Party” celebration like when they won 63 House seats during President Barack Obama’s first term a year ago. decades. He calls it a “shedding”.

Democrats have also had “big wave” years, such as 2006 when they captured the House and surprised many by pointing to a ceiling majority in the Senate. It was a step backwards for the Republican president at the time, George W. Bush, who called it a “smash.”

The Democrats also had a big wave in 1974, electing 76 of the House freshman nominees in one day. They became known as the “Watergate children” after the scandal that spawned them: Earlier that year, evidence involving the crime forced Republican President Richard Nixon to resign. While the offending incumbent is gone, his Republican successor, Gerald R. Ford, pardoned him in September and the cloud over the GOP has not yet cleared.

Historically, mid-terms do not bode well for presidents

The first midterms are usually showers for White House occupants.

The average loss of seats in the House of Representatives has been 28 since the Second World War. It was 43 seats when the president Poll in Gallup approval rating less than 50%. And for Democrats, in particular, the last four have lost an average of 45 House seats in the middle of their first term after they were elected.

You have to dig deep to find exceptions to this historical rule. President Roosevelt achieve seats in both houses of Congress during his first term (1934) when his New Deal was widely accepted in the depths of the Great Depression. George W. Bush also added several seats in both the House and Senate during his first term (2002) during a period of national trauma following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In either case, the push for midterms and additional seats on the Hill incentivizes those presidents to promote their programs and projects. That, of course, has led to a lot of controversy and mixed results – such as Bush’s invasion of Iraq – that are still controversial (and topics to be discussed separately at another time).

But what about those weird midterm elections that don’t lead to a clear sign from the sky? What about people who point not only in one direction but in many directions at once?

In 1962, a struggling first-term President John F. Kennedy lost only four seats in the House (there was hardly a dent in the Democratic bloat there) and actually won it. three seats in the Senate. There are two reasons why he got out of the first midterm exam unscathed. One was that his popularity skyrocketed after his steady performance during the Cuban missile crisis that fall. (Kennedy sent the Navy to intercept Soviet ships carrying missiles to bases in Cuba that could be used against the United States.)

The other was the lack of “relationship” associated with Kennedy’s narrow victory in the Electoral College in 1960. Kennedy’s advantage in the national popular vote was six figures in five. that year, and the Democrats added only a modest 10 seats nationally that year.

Biden’s partnership is non-existent, as his Democrats actually lost seats in the House in 2020. George W. Bush also won the election in 2000 without adding much to his party in the process. House of Commons.

All three presidents will certainly want more votes in Congress during their first two years in office. But the lack of the same means they have fewer first-term incumbents to defend, which helps them avoid bigger losses in the first midterms.

There weren’t many dramas in 1970

Another warm voter gave Nixon some signals during his first presidency in 1970. The opposition Democrats added a dozen seats to their existing majority in the House while the opposition Democrats added a dozen seats to their existing majority in the House of Representatives. actually lost a few seats in the Senate. Majority control was unaffected in both chambers. Nixon never looked back, campaigning for re-election the following year and sweeping 49 states.

Two decades later, President George HW Bush had a single midterm election in 1990 and hoped to build on the gains the GOP had made recently in the South. His party won a few seats here and there but lost a total of seven seats in the House, a glaring disappointment. Bush was able to at least limit Democrats’ interest in the Senate to an additional seat. But there was no sign that year that President Bush would first struggle in the 1992 primaries and then lose to Bill Clinton.

Each of these divided government cases has pitted presidents and both parties in Congress against each other. Ages of divided government have also forced office workers to operate with opposing winds and currents. Both executive and legislative branches are forced to seek the advice of the voters themselves, to discern the mood of the voters and get something done.

When leaders of both parties are well-intentioned, compromises are sometimes reached to change the law – even in a tightly divided Congress where neither side can prevail.

The challenge for the days and months ahead is to once again find a recipe for at least limited bipartisan cooperation, and to do so even as the next election looms in 2024.

Georgia races show voters are resisting Trumpism

Georgia races show voters are resisting Trumpism

We have two reporters following the results: senior political editor and reporter Domenico Montanaro, and national political correspondent Don Gonyea.


We still have our senior political editor and reporter Domenico Montanaro in attendance, as well as our national political correspondent Don Gonyea. And, ladies and gentlemen, what are we going to do about the outcome in Georgia, where Republicans have a lot of energy, focusing a lot on false claims that Donald Trump was somehow robbed. year 2020? Republicans are then the ones who have to come up with new rules. And even under the new rules, those who refused to vote didn’t do that well. How do you understand that?

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: To me, it says that candidates like Raffensperger and Kemp, who have a long history with voters and have been talking to voters for years and years, can still be successful. in one – within a Republican in the state of Georgia, by no means do they broadly represent what the Republican Party looks like in that state. But I think their success is a statement.

INSKEEP: Domenico Montanaro, why don’t you set up – set the stage for us here? We have a very close Senate race in Georgia. Herschel Walker is the Republican candidate. He seems to be 50% short. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, also looks 50% short. Could be an interesting couple of weeks in Georgia if those results hold.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: That’s right – Warnock is very close to that 50% threshold – 49.4% of the vote. He just needs to get above 50% to be able to avoid a spill that’s going to happen on December 6th. I wanted to comment on, you know, was – you know, talking to the Secretary of State. Rafflesperger. You know, Georgia has really stood out here in the past – in the past year or so after the January 6 riots on the Capitol, where, you know, Georgia Republicans can, unlike other places, to resist Trump and be politically viable. And you’ve seen the foreign ministers who in the foreign minister races do pretty well those who don’t refuse to vote.

INSKEEP: Okay. It’s Domenico Montanaro and Don Gonyea.

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