haass145_ Mario TamaGetty Images_usmidtermelections Mario Tama/Getty Images

Making Sense of Midterm America

A political earthquake in the United States was averted in the midterm elections. With the Democrats exceeding expectations, US foreign policy will remain mostly on familiar terrain for the next two years, until the 2024 presidential election – after which anything can, and possibly will, happen.

NEW YORK – Midterm elections take place in the United States every four years, halfway into a president’s term and two years before the next presidential election. At stake is one-third of the Senate, the entire House of Representatives, some governorships, and many state and local offices.

There is no national vote, but the results tend to reflect where the country stands and are interpreted as a referendum on the party in power (in this case the Democrats, led by President Joe Biden). And while votes are still being counted – and in some cases recounted – it is not too soon to draw some initial conclusions.

Above all, what was expected to be a decisive no-confidence vote in Biden for the most part failed to materialize. Republicans were widely expected to perform better than they did. The party in power almost always loses seats in midterms, as voters seek to express unhappiness and look for change, and many of the issues at the top of voters’ minds, including inflation, crime, and illegal immigration, ought to have resulted in big Republican gains. But voter concerns about other issues, from abortion rights to the health of American democracy, together with questions about the fitness of more than a few Republican candidates, worked in the Democrats’ favor.