November 09, 2022

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

Last night Melissa and I set up in front of the TV to watch the results of the midterm elections.  Melissa prefers one of the news channels so this was the venue chosen to view the returns.  While the in depth coverage provides insights, the main information comes as the various polls close (mostly on the hour) across the nation.  We started watching at 6 pm CST, which is after the first polls closed in two states but as all the polls closed in seven states.  Three more states closed at 6:30 pm CST and by 7:00 pm CST, two states had initial closes and 17 more had their final close.  Our own state polls closed at 7:30 pm CST and 15 others had their final close by 8:00 pm CST.  By 9:00 pm CST three more states had closed, and another had an initial closing.  After three hours of listening to pundits (mostly repeating the same thing), Melissa had enough and went to bed.  That left the last 5 states to close their polls, with Alaska being the last to close at 12:00 am CST.  I switched to a rival news channel to get another perspective and then to our local news at 10 pm CST to hear local results.

When I looked online, I found the midterm election refers to a type of election where the people can elect their representatives and other subnational officeholders (i.e., governor, state congress, and members of local councils) in the middle of the term of the presidential executive.  In the US, the president and vice president are elected every four years in indirect (electoral college) presidential elections.  National races in the US are for the Senate (six-year terms) and House of Representatives (two year-terms).  The Senate has one third of its members up for election every two years while the House has all its members elected every two years.  For elections to the Congress, the midterm is a reference is the president’s term.  There are three classes of US senators, and each election replaces one class.  A “midterm election” appears as one third through the term of one class and two thirds through the other, while still midway the term of a president.  In addition to federal legislative bodies, governors of 36 states and three territories are also up for election during a midterm.

Democrats were facing historic headwinds entering the midterm elections, as the party that wins the White House traditionally suffers major setbacks in the ensuing election.  This was compounded by a rough political climate fueled by record inflation, soaring crime, and a crisis at the nation’s southern border, and heightened by the President’s low approval ratings and a Republican jump in opinion polls heading into the midterm.  The expected Red Wave failed to materialize.  Initial reports indicate Democrats defied expectations, and potentially defended enough seats to maintain control of the Senate, although likely not enough to keep Republicans from taking the House.  As is also often the case, the battle for power in Congress stood too close to call this morning.  We may not know who won the Senate for some time, as Georgia’s contest appears headed to a runoff election to be held in December.  Nothing like Democracy to build expectation.

THOUGHTS:  It was suggested the true winner in the 2022 midterm election is democracy itself.  Despite early claims (and lawsuits) of fraud and miscounts, more than 40.7 million people voted early in the 2022 general election.  Turnout on election day is likely to be on par with 2018 midterm turnout, which broke records previously set more than a century earlier.  Even as 345 candidates across the US are asserting the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” and that American elections are deeply flawed; voters still decided to cast votes.  Now we need to wait for the inevitable delays to make sure those votes are being counted.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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