Will the Republicans conquer Congress or will the Democrats retain power in the US? Three scenarios are possible in the midterm elections – and they would have different consequences for the US and the world.

The midterm elections could turn American politics upside down. This is due to the US political system and the separation of powers between the President and Congress, which in turn is divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate. The president won’t be re-elected for another two years, but Joe Biden’s power could be severely curtailed by the upcoming midterm elections.

In the elections, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs. In the Senate, to which each state sends two deputies, 35 of the 100 seats are voted on. Currently, Biden’s party, the Democrats, has a slim majority in both the House and Senate, giving him the ability to push his political agenda through. If the Democratic Party loses its majority in one or even both chambers, both parties will probably block each other in the coming years.

These three scenarios are possible in the midterm election – and these could be the consequences:

How likely is this scenario? The chances of the Conservative party gaining a majority in both chambers in the midterm elections are not bad. Forecasts by experts at political website FiveThirtyEight indicate that the Republicans will win the House of Representatives. The Senate is currently looking like a tie (then Vice-President Kamala Harris’ vote would have twice the weight as before). However, there are numerous tight campaigns for Senate seats – even a single surprise could tip the balance.

What would the consequences be? Should the Republicans gain control of the House and Senate, the balance of power in the US would change enormously. Congress is the legislature and is responsible for the laws, budget and control of the President and the departments. The Republicans could use their majorities to push laws through Congress – but these would probably regularly fail due to the veto of Democratic President Joe Biden. American politics would be at a stalemate. Still, Republicans would have enough power to block Biden’s policies.

Several issues offer potential for disputes: The issue that most affects Germany and Europe is American support for Ukraine in the fight against the Russian invasion. Since February’s invasion, the United States has put together multi-billion dollar aid packages for Ukraine, including $14.5 billion worth of military equipment. However, the Republicans already declared during the election campaign that they would examine all financial aid intensively if they won, and that there would no longer be “a blank check,” said Kevin McCarthy, who would become speaker of the House of Representatives if he won.

Should the Republicans in the House of Representatives really slow down or even block large-scale US aid to Ukraine, this could potentially influence the course of the war in Russia’s favour. However, observers suspect that the threat is more of an attempt to build up pressure in order to wrest a concession from the Democrats elsewhere.

Republicans may also try to pass legislation banning abortion across the board. President Biden has already announced that he will block such a law and further protect women’s rights.

The Republicans could also use the next two years until the next presidential election in this stalemate situation as an election campaign: They could campaign for their former President Donald Trump and, for example, put the Justice Department through the wringer, which is currently investigating Trump. In addition, they will probably specifically prevent finding bipartisan compromises with President Biden – because that could strengthen his resume.

How likely is this scenario? This scenario is possible in two variants, either with a Democratic Senate and a Republican House of Representatives or vice versa. However, the latter is rather unlikely. Democrats will have a hard time holding the House of Representatives. If they surprisingly manage to do that, experts assume that they will also win the Senate. So the currently likely variant is that the Republicans win the House of Representatives, but the Democrats can hold the Senate.

What would the consequences be? Endless negotiations would probably result. Because federal laws in the USA usually have to be passed with identical wording by the House of Representatives and the Senate. In this scenario, both chambers will concentrate on their most important agenda items and try to get them through if, in return, they nod off initiatives from the other party. Conflicts are likely to arise above all with “mandatory laws” that the Senate and House of Representatives have to pass together, for example when setting debt ceilings or state subsidies.

Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has already said Republicans will block raising the debt ceiling until Democrats agree to cuts to Social Security and renewable energy subsidies. This “shutdown” poker would bring the United States to the brink of default and could wreak havoc on the economy.

Republicans could also use a special tool: Only the House of Representatives can vote on impeachment proceedings. Republicans have already tabled eight impeachment resolutions against Joe Biden, and they shouldn’t stop at the President. Observers suspect that the Conservatives could also push for the impeachment of other senior officials in the Biden administration, including US Attorney General Merrick Garland and Vice President Kamala Harris.

How likely is this scenario? According to polls, this is the least likely scenario of the three. In the midterm elections, the party of the incumbent usually does worse than the opposition – and the current Democratic majorities are tight anyway. But the US finds itself in an unusual situation: inflation is rising, unemployment is low, the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling has thrown thousands onto the streets, the democratic base is reviving like never before, and many conservative voters are at odds with the extremists Republican wings. So there’s a chance, albeit small, that the Democrats could pull off the surprise coup.

What would the consequences be? Should the Democrats actually manage to retain their majorities, they would have political control in the USA for two more years. According to their announcements, they are likely to address two major issues: abortion rights and electoral integrity.

During the election campaign, Democrats took up the protection and recognition of elections after leading Republicans failed to recognize the last presidential election and plunged the US into chaos, which ultimately led to the storming of the Capitol. Since then, Joe Biden has regularly branded the conservative party as being driven by Trump extremists and interspersed with anti-democratic radicals. So far, however, he has revealed how he intends to restore confidence in the American electoral system,

One thing is certain, even with a majority in Congress, the Democrats are running out of time. The protection of reproductive rights in the United States is only likely to be enforceable if the Democrats hold majorities in both chambers and the White House – and who knows how long that would be the case, because Senate and presidential elections are already two years away.

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