Democrats beat expectations in U.S. midterms as vote count continues

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Vote counting continued Wednesday after the U.S midterm elections, with Democrats at risk of losing their control of at least one of the two chambers in Congress amid high inflation, though they exceeded expectations and beat Republicans in a number of hard-fought races.

The midterms usually serve as a referendum on the incumbent leader.

But President Joe Biden, whose popularity remains low, has sought to make Tuesday’s elections about his predecessor Donald Trump and “extremist” Republicans aligned with him, warning that they threaten democracy and basic rights, including through their denial of the results of the 2020 presidential race.

The election outcome will likely define the 79-year-old Biden’s remaining two years in the White House and his potential re-election bid in 2024.

It may also shape the political future of Trump, 76, who has actively rallied for Republican candidates in the midterm cycle and appears eager to run in the next presidential election.

In Tuesday’s contests, all 435 seats in the House and about one-third of the 100 seats in the Senate are on the ballot. In addition, 36 out of 50 states will elect governors.

The Democratic Party currently holds a slim majority in the House. The Senate is evenly divided, but Democrats hold the majority due to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.

In the run-up to the elections, polls have suggested that Republicans will likely secure a majority of the House, while the Senate has been viewed as a toss-up.

A Republican-controlled House could stall Biden’s legislative agenda, ramp up oversight of the administration and launch congressional investigations into the president’s son Hunter, who has been accused of engaging in shady business dealings in Ukraine and China.

On the diplomatic front, no substantive changes are expected in the current U.S. stance to pursue a tough China policy, due to bipartisan consensus on the issue.

But the Biden administration’s efforts to support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion could be complicated as some Republicans have questioned the ballooning costs.

During the election campaign, Republican Party members criticized the Democratic administration for creating historically high inflation through what they view as “wasteful” government spending. They also accused Democrats of being soft on crime and illegal immigration.

A Supreme Court decision in June to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion lifted optimism among Democrats that the strong public backlash could help them defy the historical trend of the president’s party losing House seats in midterm elections.

Over the summer, Biden also scored a series of legislative wins intended to lead to major investments and job creation in the country.

But with the economy and inflation remaining at the top of voter concerns, Republicans were seen regaining momentum in the weeks ahead of the elections.

 

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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