Republicans blame Trump for the poor result

Majorities in both houses of Congress are still open. In the Senate, however, it looks like Democrats may be able to defend their control before the Georgia runoff.

House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is confident of victory. But it is still uncertain whether his party will actually gain control of the upper house.

Alex Brandon/AP

On the third day after the US midterm elections, a decision on future control is still open in both houses of Congress. Although this is very unusual, this is mainly due to the fact that many of the individual races are very close to each other and there will only be small majorities in both chambers. This makes every seat crucial.

Numerous results are still missing from western states where censuses take years longer. One of the reasons is the increasingly widespread use of early voting or postal voting. For example, in Arizona, ballots cast in this way can only be processed the day after the election, and the verification of signatures takes a long time. In California four years ago, it took more than three weeks to decide the final spot. And in Nevada, mail-in ballots can still arrive Saturday if they are postmarked on Election Day.

Hardly a controllable majority

The race for the Senate could still be decided at the weekend. Seats are still open in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, where the second round will take place in December. But in Arizona, Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly is well ahead and should also have an advantage in the remaining votes. In Nevada, Republican challenger Adam Laxalt leads by a few thousand votes. This should be made up for by postal votes that have not yet been counted. Election experts from the platform FiveThirtyEight and the Cook Political Report consider it likely that the Democrats will be able to occupy both seats.

That would have given the party 50 seats in the small chamber regardless of the Georgia runoff, securing the majority thanks to the deciding vote of Senate Vice President Kamala Harris. This would be an important achievement because it would allow President Biden to continue to confirm nominations such as those for judges.

On the other hand, in the House of Representatives, a Republican majority is still likely. 218 seats are required in the large chamber. The party has yet to reach that magic number, but NBC’s Decision Desk estimates it will end up with 220 seats.

In doing so, she regained the control she had lost four years ago. Such a thin majority is hard to hold together, as Democrats have seen over the past two years. Their caucus leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, no doubt has the special ability to do this, but the question is whether the Republicans will succeed as well — especially as Trump’s strong wing faces some more moderate lawmakers.

This is shocking to conservatives, especially given the favorable conditions for the opposition party with the highest inflation and one of the most unpopular presidents in decades. On historical average, the party that does not hold the White House wins about 30 seats in Congress, 4 seats in the Senate, and 4 or 5 state governorships in the midterms. Republicans gained at best a dozen seats in the House of Representatives, could lose one in the Senate, and so far have lost two governorships.

The cry from the conservative camp is correspondingly loud, and the culprit was quickly identified: Donald Trump. The former president helped dozens of candidates to be nominated with his support on the condition that he admit his lie about the stolen victory in 2020. As a result, the party lost key seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives, while Republicans with more distance from the former president would certainly have a good chance .

This is shown by the good results of Republican governors such as Brian Kemp in Georgia, Mike DeWine in Ohio and Chris Sununu in New Hampshire. They all did significantly better than the “Trumpists” in the senate races of the same states.

Only Trump is considered the winner

Rep. Liz Cheney, who is perhaps Trump’s staunchest opponent in her own ranks and who will have to give up her seat to a loyal ex-president in January, called it a rejection of hate, resentment and Donald Trump on Thursday. It was a clear victory for “Team Normal” – that’s what the Republicans in the Trump White House called themselves who tried to bring the president to his senses.

Outgoing Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, whose seat the party lost to Trump’s nominee, also expressed direct criticism of the former president. According to him, the connection between “Mage candidates” and high losses is obvious with reference to Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again”. The ex-president interfered in the election campaign and thus damaged the party. So his influence will diminish.

Paul Ryan, once the party’s speechwriter and hopeful, made it even clearer, but four years ago he withdrew because of Trump’s course. Republicans would lose the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. “We have a Trump hangover. It’s a commitment,” Ryan said.

It is striking that such tones have so far only come from well-known critics or politicians who have resigned. However, it is quite possible that others have come to a similar conclusion. Not surprisingly, Trump himself is not one of them. He took to his new social media channel to talk about a great night and a very big win. He wants to announce his renewed candidacy for the presidency on Tuesday.

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