The control of the two Chambers in the United States is still pending and it is possible that this will be the case during the next few days, after a very tight midterm elections in which the Democratic Party has not had results as bad as expected, nor has it swept away the Republican wave that conservatives expected.
The election verdict is expected to take days to confirm, especially because of the narrow results.
In the Senate, according to projections, Republicans appear with a slight advantage of 48 seats compared to the 47 that Democrats have, but there are still five contests to be decided, those of Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Alaska.
According to media projections, Alaska, Nevada and Wisconsin would have Republican representatives and Democratic Arizona, while in Georgia the candidates will probably have to go to a second round after none of them obtain the necessary 50% of the vote (there is a third candidate).
In recent days, much of the efforts of both parties have focused precisely on Pennsylvania. Therefore, the victory of the current Democratic lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, John Fetterman, for the Senate has stoked the hopes of those of Biden. He did not have it easy, because despite his popularity in the region, he faced a television celebrity: Mehmet Oz. Known as Dr. Oz, he is a doctor who has made a name for himself thanks to his controversies as a promoter of alternative medicine, pseudoscience and miracle treatments. And, of course, he is one of Trump's lieutenants, a proponent of conspiracy theories and even a climate change denier.
According to the current scenario, if when the scrutiny advances these results are confirmed, the Republican Party would not achieve the majority of the Upper House and Americans would have to wait for the results of the second round in Georgia to see if Joe Biden's party loses the majority of the Senate, which today has thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
The House of Representatives still does not decide
As for the lower house, the House of Representatives, it is not yet known which formation will control it for the next two years.
According to the projections of the main US media, theRepublicanssecure197 seats, to172 of the Democrats, but both are still far from the 218 needed to secure the majority.
Although there are still days, or even weeks, to have a complete x-ray of the composition of the US Congress for the next two years, one of the certainties of election night is that the expected Republican wave did not exist and that Joe Biden will not have results as bad as the Democrats feared.
In addition, in the gubernatorial elections, the Democratic Party has managed to snatch two governorships from the Republican Party, that of Massachusetts and that of Maryland.
Although both states are progressive, for the past few years they had been governed by Republicans, and will now return to Democratic control.
Biden congratulates some of the winners by phone
U.S. President Joe Biden phoned some of his party's midterm winners on Tuesday, including Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who represents New York.
Biden, who is in the White House, spoke by phone with37 Democrats who have already been declared winners in these elections. In addition, he sent a text message to Democrat John Fetterman, who will be one of two senators from the key state of Pennsylvania.
One of his first calls was to the until now attorney general of the state of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, who after Tuesday's elections will become the first woman to be elected governor of her state and the first openly lesbian governor of the country.
In addition, Biden spoke with Rhode Island Governors Dan McKee; Colorado, Jared Polis; and California Governor Gavin Newsom, who were re-elected to their seats, as well as progressive Peter Welch who was just elected senator from Vermont.
The US president also spoke by phone with Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, who was re-elected for a district of the state of Delaware, and with centrist representative Abigail Spanberger, who was facing a hotly contested race in a district of Virginia.
It should be remembered that in these elections the435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 in the Senate are at stake, in addition to numerous state positions, such as governors and secretaries, among others. The Democrats were challenged to retain, if not expand, their majority in both chambers, while the Republicans aspired to regain control of the US legislative branch. The provisional results confirm the polarization of the electorate, with the conservatives winning seats in the House of Representatives (it remains to be seen whether they will succeed in snatching the majority); and at the same time the Democrats gambling control of the Senate.
These are the most expensive midterm elections in history. The total expenditure amounts to about 16,700 million dollars (16,600 million euros) and the result will undoubtedly mark not only the remainder of the legislature, but also the future of the next presidential elections.
In a day that passed without shocks or incidents in the electoral colleges, Americans went to the polls on Tuesday to choose who will sit in the Capitol from January 1, 2023. All the polls and statistics were against the Democratic Party.
As Juan Verde, political advisor to the Democratic Party, explains, "no president with an approval rating below 50% has been able to win seats" in the midterm elections. And Joe Biden's popularity is at 42%. The problem was that his position, despite holding control of both Chambers, was somewhat delicate, especially in the Senate, where there was a technical tie where the vote of the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, was decisive to tip the balance in favor of the interests of the White House. In the best possible scenario, a window now opens for even the tie-breaking vote not to be necessary.
Even so, for Biden it is not good news, because if he loses control of the House of Representatives he faces a more than likely political blockade. In the United States, any law has to go through both chambers to move forward. On the positive side, if, as it seems to maintain, the Senate will be able to balance the power struggle on some fronts.
No red wave
Trump also seems to be halfway there. Of course, the great 'red wave' he had promised has not reached Congress. Although it does seem to add seats in the House, the results are far from the best scenario for Republicans. Still, in his case, amoral victory is enough to clear his path to the conservative nomination for the next presidential election in two years. A few days ago it was rumored that he could announce his candidacy next week.
Although apparently nothing was at stake, if anyone has captured the attention of these elections it has been Trump, who has traveled throughout the country supporting Republican candidates, especially those known as 'deniers', that is, those who defend their conspiracy theories about the rigging of the last elections in which he was defeated by Joe Biden.
Beyond his possibilities as a future presidential candidate, in the short term, his goal was to seize power in Congress (especially in the Senate) to end all investigations into his role in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Now, his roadmap is complicated if Biden finally maintains the majority in the Upper House.
Effect on markets
Although it is still too early to anticipate the response of the markets, the alternation of colors in the Chambers of Congress could be positive for the markets. For example, "the scenario for risk assets is statistically good, since history shows that in these conditions risk assets behave well," explains Patrick Nielsen, deputy general manager of Mapfre AM.
In addition, the statistics show that, with specific exceptions, the stock market tends to rise during the twelve months following the mid-term elections. In part, this is explained by the reduction of uncertainty at the political level. But if there is also a legislative blockage, as would happen in this case, investors can discount that there will be no major regulatory scares that significantly impact business.
For Biden, the results could be much better than expected by most polls, so his political capital would suffer less than expected. Even so, the chances of moving his agenda forward are complicated.
In fact, controlling both Houses for the last two years has found it almost impossible for him to move forward with his program (he has had to make important concessions even to get the support of the congressmen of his own party), so if he loses one of them the scenario is even more complicated. Your only option will be to resort to the use of executive orders (a legal figure similar to the royal decree in Spain). That is, to use his role as president to impose laws bypassing the blockade of Congress. The problem is that this route is a temporary patch that can be removed with the same discretion by the next tenant of the White House.
The good news for Democrats is that if each House of Congress is controlled by a different color, the blockade is in both directions. This reduces the risk that conservatives will sacrifice the social policies approved by Biden, as they had promised to do if they won the election. And it could even prevent an investigation from being launched against his son, Hunter Biden, who has been involved in corruption allegations, as well as several drug-related controversies and sex scandals. Everything will depend on whether both sides are able to negotiate to find common positions or engage in a fratricidal war using their weight in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Avalanche of lawsuits
Now, it only remains to be seen if both parties accept the election results or initiate a legal battle that some advance intense and complicated. Although not decisive and unlikely to give a new turn to the results. In 2020, the struggle to certify until the last vote delayed the announcement of the winner by up to four days; and, on this occasion, there are doubts about what could happen, for example, in Wisconsin, with such a close result.
It should be remembered that, of the almost 600 Republican candidates whose names appear on this year's ballot, more than half belong to the denialist group that has encouraged Trump's conspiracy theories and still does not accept the results of two years ago.
And although the war is not expected to be so intense, the truth is that much of these elections have already been fought in the courts, even before the polls open. The polls predicted a result so close that everyone has struggled to scratch every last vote in their favor and annul the opponent's before even being cast.
In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan or Arizona, lawsuits have been filed to try to nullify thousands of mail-in votes (more than 44 million Americans have exercised their right remotely) or to reduce the electoral roll. Lawyers on both sides have closely followed the entire voting day on Tuesday, looking for the slightest loophole to support the annulment of a result if the balance tilts in favor of blue or red.
On Tuesday, in Arizona, there was an error with a batch of voting machines, which did not work properly. Although that did not affect any vote as such (since citizens were able to go to another school), it could be a gap to question the process in this state.