This year’s midterm elections did not result in the “red wave” that many political analysts had anticipated. Instead, Democrats retained control of the Senate, defying historical trends of defeat for the party in power.
Their victory was officially clinched Saturday night when Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada narrowly beat out Republican Adam Laxalt. Her win secured at least a 50-50 split in the Senate, giving Democrats the upper hand by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote, regardless of how the Georgia runoff between incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker shakes out next month.
The standout Senate race, however, occurred in Pennsylvania, where Democratic candidate John Fetterman flipped the state’s GOP-held open seat, defeating his Republican opponent Mehmet Oz.
“This campaign is about fighting for anyone who ever got knocked down, who got back up,” Fetterman said in his acceptance speech. “This race is for the future of every community all across Pennsylvania. For every small town or person that ever felt left behind, for every job that has ever been lost, for every factory that has ever been closed, for every person who works hard but never got ahead.”
Within the last century, there have been only three other instances – in 1934, 1962, and 2002 – when a president’s party dropped fewer than 10 House seats and either gained Senate seats, or simply did not lose any, in his first midterm election cycle, according to CNN.
This year’s outcome is particularly remarkable considering President Biden’s relatively low approval rating of 44 percent. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who had comparable ratings during their first midterms, witnessed Democrats suffer a net loss of more than 50 seats in the House and at least five in the Senate, as well as a handful of gubernatorial races.
Republicans appear to be on track to win the house, but by a smaller margin than expected. Considering the decisive defeat of most Trump-endorsed candidates, many conservative leaders are now laying blame on the former president for the GOP’s poor showing.