Red Wave Swells for Midterm Elections



U.S. Vice President Joe Biden listens as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the release of the Cancer Moonshot Report at the White House in Washington October 17, 2016.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque – RTX2P85D

Andrew Zhang, Staff Writer

In the distance, an undulation of the ocean quickly approaches towards the direction of the sandy shores. In the next moment, the undulation rises in a crescendo until it turns into a giant wave with bubbles of foam on top that crash onto the beach. This metaphor can describe the “red wave” that is expected to happen during the 2022 midterm elections, in which Republicans can expect to flip Congress. 

So what exactly are the 2022 midterm elections? They are elections that will happen during the middle of the presidential term and will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. US citizens will vote for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 seats in the Senate. 

As usual, there is much speculation about the outcome of the election, and indicators all point to a red wave. Historically, the president’s party fares poorly during the midterm elections. Examining the data from historical house elections, there have only been two midterm elections since 1946 when the president’s party gained seats in the House: the election of 1998 when Democrats gained a mere five House seats during Bill Clinton’s presidency and the election of 2002 in which Republicans netted an eight-seat gain during George Bush’s term. From 1946 to 2018, the president’s party lost seats in the House, and there have been many elections in which the president’s party lost between 40 and 60 seats. Therefore, historical trends predict an ominous outcome for Joe Biden’s Democratic party. 

Another indication of the outcome of the midterm elections is the president’s approval rating. Data of midterm elections from 1994 to 2018 from FiveThirtyEight shows a correlation between presidents’ approval ratings and the number of seats won or lost during midterms. Higher approval ratings correlate to gains in House seats, and negative approval ratings correlate to losses. Thus, midterm elections are often seen as a referendum on the current presidency. According to Norfolk Daily News, during Biden’s presidency, there has been a 40-year high inflation rate of 8%, a 50% increase in the cost of gas, and rising costs of food and other necessities. Vox News also reported low ratings for Biden, stating, “[Biden’s] approval rating is the second-lowest of any president’s at this point in their presidency since modern polling came into use.” Voters will likely voice their discontentment with the current president in the midterms. 

The last predictor of midterms is recent gubernatorial elections. Three states–California, Virginia, and New Jersey–had elections for governor. In Virginia, a traditionally blue state, the Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin won over Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Furthermore, in New Jersey, a solid blue state, Phil Murphy beat his Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli by a thin margin of just 3 percent. Both the elections in the blue states of Virginia and New Jersey show a drastic Republican shift in the current voter base that will flip the house red.

The Democrats successfully gained 41 seats in the house during the 2018 midterms. In 2022, it seems the tides have changed, and a red wave is about to come.