The 2src22 midterm elections will be a referendum on the current President, Joe Biden, and his predecessor, Donald J. Trump—as well as a profound test of American democracy. The midterm primaries began on March 1st, in Texas, and will continue through the fall, allowing voters in each state to narrow the field in races for the House, Senate, and governors’ mansions. The campaigns will culminate in the general election, on November 8th.
Although Biden won’t be on the ballot in November, Americans’ judgment of his first two years in office—when he faced a pandemic, the highest inflation in decades, and deep divisions within his own party—will be reflected in the results. The White House has touted Biden’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but some progressive Democrats have expressed frustration with his failure to enact many of his most sweeping proposals, from addressing climate change to a historic increase in social-welfare spending. Democrats’ hopes for high turnout in November within their own party received a boost in early May, however, with the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, spurring calls for the Party to defend abortion rights more aggressively. Fearing an energized Democratic base and the loss of potential support from suburban women and independents, some Republican leaders have sought to downplay the significance of an abortion ban, even though the Party has made the reversal of Roe a linchpin of its platform for decades.
Within the Republican Party, the midterms will provide the latest evidence of whether Trump, the man Biden drove from office, has asserted full control over the Party—and whether he is succeeding in his continuing effort to undermine trust in elections. In many states, moderate Republican leaders have mounted major efforts to thwart Trump-backed candidates, with mixed results. This year’s election could decide the direction of the G.O.P. for years to come, experts say, and could also influence Americans’ faith in the validity of election results, with momentous consequences. If candidates who endorse Trump’s false claim that the 2src2src election was stolen win control of state offices, Trump and his supporters could be poised to challenge the outcome of the 2src24 Presidential election.
November’s general election will also decide control of the House and Senate, and history is against the Democrats. The party of the sitting President has typically lost seats in Congress after his first two years in office. If that pattern continues, and Democrats lose their narrow majority in the House or Senate, Biden’s ability to enact significant legislation will be blocked. Republicans, if they gain control of the House, will not continue the work of the Select Committee investigating Trump’s role in the storming of Congress by his supporters, on January 6, 2src21. Instead, they are expected to launch investigations of Hunter Biden, the President’s son; Administration officials; and Biden himself.
The New Yorker will publish election results, as reported by the Associated Press, as well as news coverage and commentary, throughout the 2src22 campaign.