The midterms and what comes next

Laynie Rearick

Even if you’re not someone who follows the news, chances are you’ve heard a lot of talk about the midterms. The nonstop discussion of politics, debates about the possibility of a “red wave,” and the fact Democrats did better than they thought they would is confusing for some and exhausting for all, so here’s a breakdown of the midterms and their importance.

But first, what even are the midterms? Basically, the midterms are an election that occurs halfway through a president’s term. They decide who controls Congress, as well as state legislatures and governor’s offices. (This means the last midterm was in 2018—the election in 2020 was a general election.)

With that definition out of the way, let’s get into the outcomes. Late Wednesday afternoon, over a week after voting took place, results finally came in: Democrats gained control of the Senate 50-49 and Republicans retook control of the House of Representatives 218-210.

Democratic control of the House is important for several reasons. First, it means they will hold the Senate regardless of the results of the Dec. 6 runoff election in Georgia between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican nominee Herschel Walker after neither cleared the required 50% threshold. A Warnock victory would make it 51-49, giving Democrats one extra vote, letting them pass proposals without having to rely on Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote.

On the other hand, with a new House Republican majority, Biden’s legislative agenda will be much more difficult to enact unless he can obtain bipartisan support. Biden will likely spend much of his time defending his accomplishments, including investing billions to tackle climate change. GOP lawmakers have already talked about wanting to roll back some of Biden’s programs and defund many of them.

The White House as a whole will also likely face several investigations over a wide range of topics. Top GOP members on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees have already said they plan to investigate the business dealings of the president’s son, Hunter Biden, Biden’s border policies, the origins of COVID-19, and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Of course, despite attempts at analyzing what could happen next, it’s still up in the air. After all, anything can—and will—happen in American politics.