By: Maryellen Kane
Note: This article was written before the results of the election.
As we watch the leaves turn color and the temperatures get cooler in November, we also await the results of the 2022 midterm elections. There is a lot of pressure on this year’s ballot, as we carefully watch the races for all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 35 Senators, as well as 36 state governors. Though often overlooked by voters across the country, midterm elections are quite significant. With Democrats only holding the majority in Congress by a very slim margin, this year’s midterm elections could drastically turn the tide of American politics (CNN).
Occurring every two years (or the middle of a presidential term), midterm elections can be a critical time for the United States government. This year, in particular, the stakes are high. While President Biden will not be on this year’s ballots, the Congressional elections will have a significant impact on how he moves forward with policy decisions in the second half of his term. In 2022, every member of the House of Representatives will be up for election, as they serve only two-year terms. Only about one-third of incumbent Senators are on the ballot, however, because they serve six-year terms. This means that the majority in Congress has the potential to flip to Republicans. In the House, Republicans need five seats to gain the majority, while they need only one Senate seat. (The Washington Post). According to Politico, the race in the Senate is currently too close to call, but it is predicted that Republicans will secure the lead in the House.
A change in the majority party in Congress could have a significant impact. If Republicans take the majority in either chamber of Congress (or both), they will now have greater power and influence to attempt to accomplish their agenda on a broader scale. Among the many legislative tasks on the Republican agenda, it is likely they will focus on reducing government spending in areas such as Medicare and Social Security. While it appears to be unlikely at this time, if Democrats maintain their majority in Congress, the most significant areas of debate and possible action will almost assuredly be abortion access and election integrity (Vox). Such matters of the economy and abortion rights are some of the main focuses for most voters this election cycle, which has caused an increasing turnout. Legislative action regarding these issues could depend on the state governor and legislature elections being held this year. Among the many states holding elections for governor and members of Congress, the races in battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, and Wisconsin are particularly noteworthy (The Washington Post).
A lot rests on the results to come from the 2022 midterm election cycle. Historically, midterm elections have had the ability to drastically change the upcoming years in American politics. This year’s midterm election cycle is especially crucial, as it can potentially uproot Congressional leadership, and spark significant legislation on some of the most hotly debated issues today. Eligible voters across the country are heavily encouraged to participate in midterm elections in order to be a part of the change they want to see in the country.