Defying Expectations, Democrats Hold Their Own in Midterms


Allison Hunter Korn

Democrats managed to maintain control of the Senate during tight midterm elections.

Miriam Stodolsky, Contributing Writer

On November 8th, millions of Americans headed to the polls to vote in the midterm elections. This year, the entire House of Representatives and about a third of the Senate was up for election, along with dozens of statewide elections. Despite many political forecasters predicting a sweep for Republicans, this rout failed to materialize. Democrats mustered a strong showing overall, managing to win tough elections across the country.

Midterm elections … usually serve as a litmus test for the current president.

Midterm elections, so-called because they occur halfway through a presidential term, usually serve as a litmus test for the current president. While President Biden has managed to pass some major legislation so far, including the Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan Act, midterm elections threatened to erase the narrow Democratic margin necessary to continue this. This seemed especially likely considering that the minority party typically gains control of Congress during midterms. 

Worries over inflation were also expected to benefit Republicans. A Gallup poll from October 2022 found that 20% of Americans ranked high cost of living or inflation as the most important issue facing the country, the highest percentage for any issue. Yet while economic concerns tend to benefit the minority party, Democrats still won many key races. According to a Reuters exit poll, inflation was the top concern for voters, but abortion was only a few percentage points behind in terms of impacting how people voted, which almost certainly benefited Democrats.

In Massachusetts, the midterms included a governor’s race and statewide referendums. Though Massachusetts has a long record of Republican governors, Democrat and former attorney general Maura Healey swept to power this year. Healey will be Massachusetts’ first elected female governor, and the first openly lesbian governor in America. Two notable ballot measures also passed: Question 1, which will allow Massachusetts to tax millionaires at higher rates to raise revenue for transportation and public education, and Question 4, which will allow undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses. Adam Gould ’23, who worked for a Congressional campaign this election, told the Register Forum, “I was really excited by the ballot results for Questions 1 and 4; I’m looking forward to the increase in revenue for our schools and transportation!” 

Sasha Lennox ’23 recounted her experience as a first-time voter. “Not only was it perfect timing since my birthday was October 26th … but also, I’ve been hearing from a lot of people that this election was really important and that it’s going to determine what happens politics-wise in the next two years, until the next election.” Lennox continued, “I was following the elections, but mainly the parts that were more extreme … I know more about Dr. Oz and Herschel Walker than I know about our first lesbian governor that we just elected, which, by the way, is amazing.”

Gould also had overall positive reflections. “On the national stage, the Pennsylvania results were an exciting progressive win that will hopefully be a step toward a Senate that works better for the people of this country. The first Gen Z member of Congress was just elected and it’s time for a new generation, our generation, to win power.”

This article also appears in our November 2022 print edition.