Midterms : the President almost always looses, not necessarily his majority

George W. Bush in 2002 : an exception in the recent US politics history.

This Tuesday, the American people vote for the Midterms, decisive for Donald Trump. The United States will be “invaded” if the Republicans don’t win these elections, stated the current president. A decline is predictable for his party but Trump hopes to keep the control of the Congress.

The majority of the House of Representatives was lost by three presidents in the last 50 years

All the members of the House of Representatives are elected by each state every two years. In the recent history of American politics, only the Republicans of George W. Bush won this election in 2002, one year after the September 11 attacks. Before this, you have to go back as far as 1934, at the heart of the Great Depression, in order to find a winning president: the Democrats of Franklin D. Roosevelt gained a short majority in the lower house.

American electors are reluctant to give too much power to their president even if in the last 50 years, only three presidents lost their majority at the House of Representatives after the Midterms: George W. Bush, still him (2006) and the Democrats Bill Clinton (1994) and Barack Obama (2010). The last former president spent six of his eight years at the White House with a Republican house.

In brief, it’s almost certain that Trump and the Republicans will cede seats but not necessarily their majority. In addition, they numbered 240 representatives before this election, 43 more than the other side (197). A consistent margin for the president, very engaged in the campaign.

At the Senate, it’s very difficult not to loose seats at the Midterms

The composition of the Senate isn’t proportional with the population: every state has two elected representatives. The president has few chances to win seats, even less keep his majority. In 2014, Barack Obama lost his Democrat majority at the Senate, and finished his second mandate with a Republican congress.

Contrary to the House of Representatives, the Senate swings more after Midterms: the five out of eight elections since 1986. Four times, it was against the occupant of the White House. Only exception: also in 2002, the Senate toggled in favour of George W. Bush and the Republicans, who achieved double benefits. In 1970, President Nixon won two seats in the higher House but they were insufficient so as to reach the majority.

With only 51 senators, the Republican leeway is very tiny. Fortunately for Donald Trump, most of the seats at stake this year are occupied by the Democrats, who will have difficulties in reversing the power balance. 

Thomas M

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