Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Democrats keep control of Senate as Republicans face setbacks

The Democrats will retain majority control of the US Senate with two of its candidates projected to win their pivotal races against Republican rivals, in a major boost to President Joe Biden, who welcomed the election results on Sunday, saying he was feeling “good” and looking forward to the second half of his term to fulfil the promises made to the American people.
Biden’s Democratic Party defied the historical trend of midterm elections breaking against parties in power, cementing its majority in the upper chamber of the US Congress.
In the November 8 midterm election, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada is projected to defeat Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, while Senator Mark Kelly is set to defeat Republican Blake Masters in Arizona.
The result, the best midterm performance for a sitting party in 20 years, means the Democrats will now have 50 seats in the 100-member Senate – with the Republicans currently on 49. Georgia is still waiting on a Senate result and will hold a run-off election on December 6, after neither candidate won an outright majority.
The United States Senate has 100 seats and in the existing Congress, both the Democrats and the Republicans had 50 members each with Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democratic, casting her vote in case of a tie, in her capacity as its chairperson. In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a beaming Biden said of the election results: “I feel good. I’m looking forward to the next couple of years.”
“I’m not surprised by the turnout. I’m incredibly pleased by the turnout. And I think it’s a reflection of the quality of our candidates. And the — they’re all running on the same programme,” Biden said.
Biden, 79, said winning a 51st seat from the Georgia runoff next month would be important and allow Democrats to boost their standing on key Senate committees.
“It’s just simply better,” Biden said. “The bigger the number, the better.”
Retaining Senate control is a huge boost to President Biden over the remaining two years of his first term in the White House and how much leverage his party will ultimately have.
“This election is a victory — a victory and a vindication for Democrats, our agenda,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters in New York. He described it as a victory for the American people.
“Once again President Biden defied expectations. These midterm election results show ‘best midterm performance for an incumbent President ‘s party in 20 years since George W Bush’s GOP gained seats following 9/11,” Ajay Bhutoria, deputy National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee, told PTI on Saturday after the Nevada election results.
Before the elections, political pundits and pollsters predicted a “red wave” which was not to be seen anywhere during the November 8 midterm polls.
Four days after the elections, the opposition Republican Party is struggling to gain the majority in the House of Representatives, which as per the pollsters, looked like a wave for them.
As of Saturday night, the Republicans had either won or were leading in 213 seats as against 203 of the Democratic Party, with 218 being the halfway mark. This better-than-expected performance by the Democrats is attributed to the people-friendly policies of President Biden and the tilt of the youth towards him.
Republicans say they are confident they will secure majority in the House even as they voice dismay that the size of their numbers over Democrats is likely to be far smaller than pre-election predictions that forecast a “red wave” of Republican winners filling the House chamber in January, when the new Congress is sworn in.
The victory is a major boost to President Biden in the second half of his term, both for his legislative agenda and his ability to appoint top judges and other key officials.
“Under President Biden’s leadership, Democrats have shown surprising strength. Democrats have also been successful in governors’ races, winning in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania and the Senate seat in Pennsylvania,” Bhutoria said.
“With votes still being counted across the country, Republicans still have the opportunity to win control of Congress. But the results are uplifting for Democrats who were braced for sweeping losses,” he said.
“This is the first time we have an Indian American Lt Governor in Maryland – Aruna Miller and we also have 5th Indian American congressman in the house -Shri Thanedar. Overall, people voted for President Biden’s call to save and protect the Democracy, abortion rights and economy, restoring the soul of our nation,” Bhutoria said.
The New York Times described the Saturday results as “a decisive moment in an extraordinary midterm election in which Democrats defied historical patterns and predictions of major losses.”
Control of the House has still not been decided, several days after an Election Day that fell short of predictions that Republicans would sweep to power in Washington in a repudiation of President Biden’s leadership, the daily reported.
The Washington Post described it as welcome news for Biden, who it said was staring down the possibility of humbling defeats as the election neared.
“Now, the Senate, which oversees the confirmation of executive branch personnel and federal judges, will stay in his party’s corner. A Senate majority will also give the president and his party more say over legislative debates on domestic and foreign spending and other major issues,” the daily reported.
According to Republican Sampat Shivangi, national president of the Indian American Forum for Political Education, the elections brought surprising and unexpected results.
“It was assumed that Republicans will have a heyday and win easily both the House, and Senate and President Trump will ride the wave and announce his candidacy for Presidency in 2024,” he noted.
However, the performance of the Republican Party has been far below expectations.
“The US Congress will have a slim majority for Republicans,” he said.

SourcePTI
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