- Democrats maintained a Senate majority in a surprise midterm victory.
- In addition to abortion rights and fair elections, Democrats appealed to voters about their plans for the economy.
- It involves taxing businesses, approving Biden’s spending and cutting health care costs.
Democrats will retain control of the Senate for at least the next two years, in a surprise midterm victory.
“Tuesday was a good day for America and a good day for democracy, and a good night for Democrats,” President Joe Biden said. said on Twitter over the weekend, adding that Democrats have lost fewer House seats this year than in the first midterm election for a Democratic president in four decades.
The House is still too close to be convened, and in the event of a Republican takeover, a Blue Senate will have limited power. They would be able to confirm nominees from Biden’s judicial and executive branches, but not pass significant new legislation on partisan lines. Still, Democrats heralded the victory as voters’ rejection of far-right extremism and their desire to see abortion rights and fair elections preserved.
Those may be the big takeaways, but Democrats locking down the Senate — and likely conceding only a narrow majority to Republicans in the House — also signal that voters are in favor of the Democrats’ plan to rein in a tumultuous economy.
This is after the first polls showed otherwise. Ahead of Election Day, polls showed Americans were more concerned about the economy and inflation than any other issue, and they trusted Republicans more to fix them. It’s something few economists considered likely, however, and it appears the Democrats’ plan for the economy in the coming years has given them at least a slight edge needed to score upset victories. Marginal victories in Nevada and Washington, for example, were won by candidates aligned with Biden’s plan to cut costs for Americans.
But voters are likely not just looking for representatives who bow to the party line — several Democrats with upset victories have pointed to clear plans on the campaign trail to tackle inflation and the high cost of living. Below are three main ones.
Backing Biden’s spending, such as the IRA and a restored child tax credit
Republicans on the campaign trail have blamed Biden’s spending for the country’s inflation troubles, arguing that the $1.9 trillion U.S. bailout was a major instigator. Experts say if it was, the impact was not significant. Yet the GOP similarly united against Biden’s Cut Inflation Act.
But public favor for the legislation was strong from the start, with a Reuters/Ipsos poll from August showing broad support for the Cut Inflation Act’s individual measures, even as Americans were split on the package. in general.
And the voters came to support the politicians in his favor. This may be because redistributions like tax credits can, in theory, provide families with immediate relief from rising prices.
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, whose victory just secured the Democratic majority in the Senate by one seat, was a strong supporter of the IRA, for example. His Republican rival Adam Laxalt was fiercely opposed to it and related Cortez Masto to her Many times.
John Fetterman, the Democrat who beat Mehmet Oz for the Pennsylvania Senate seat, and Mark Kelly, the Democrat who held onto Arizona, also endorsed the IRA and Biden’s US bailout, with Kelly getting to IRA money for climate projects in his Region.
A spokesperson for Fetterman said Fetterman would support Biden stimulus initiatives going forward, for example, such as a restored enhanced child tax credit. Worth up to $3,600, it was originally part of the US bailout. The credit expired earlier this year, but briefly caused a significant drop in child poverty.
Tackling corporate profits as an inflation-fighting measure
Several of the Democrats who secured narrow victories criticized companies for making record profits in recent years without easing the burden on consumers amid record inflation.
Cortez Masto criticized oil and gas companies for “prioritizing payouts to shareholders rather than using their record profits to help lower prices and responsibly increase domestic production” on his campaign website.
Fetterman and Kelly made the same point in the weeks leading up to the election.
“In the Senate, I will fight for a fair tax code that ensures the wealthiest Americans and corporations don’t get away with ripping off the system and finally pay their fair share,” Fetterman pledged on his own campaign website. . “We can and must build an economy that works for all of us.”
A profit tax could, in theory, induce companies to lower prices and reinvest more of their profits back into business with expenses like wages.
Make health care more affordable by expanding Medicare and lowering drug costs
Democrats spent the back half of their midterms portraying themselves as strongholds for rights programs like Medicare and Social Security, and portraying Republicans as a threat.
That focus has paid off: Fetterman, for example, wants to expand Medicare, while Oz has only said he only supports expanding Medicare Advantage, which are plans offered by private companies that contract with Medicare.
“We finally passed a law allowing Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices and cap annual prescription drug costs, but we can’t stop there – we need to allow the importation of low-cost prescription drugs in from other countries and keep drug costs down for all Americans,” Fetterman says on his website.
While Medicare’s ability to negotiate drug prices might be the most direct way to cut costs for Americans, it’s a fairly small program and won’t fully kick off for four years.
Laxalt didn’t specifically say he wanted to cut or cut Medicare, but said he intended to “look for ways to cut costs,” compared to Cortez Masto, who pleaded for various types expansion of health insurance.
In addition to Medicare, Democrats like Fetterman have also called for allowing low-cost drugs to be imported into the United States, in addition to limiting the overall cost of drug prices.
“I’m going to work to bring down the cost of prescription drugs by continuing to go after drug companies that drive up prices,” he told a local Fox News affiliate.
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