Despite success at the polls, Democrats face challenges nationally

Even if Democrats hold on to the House and Senate, they face challenges legislating nationally, according to Washington Post reporter Patrick Marely.

Gretchen Whitmer addresses supporters at an election night event.

FILE - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer celebrates her re-election at the Michigan Democratic election night watch party at MotorCity Casino in Detroit, Mich. on Nov. 8, 2022.

The midterms are often a referendum on the party controlling the White House, with the president’s party historically doing poorly in midterm elections. Since 1900, the president’s party has only increased its total number of state legislative seats twice.

But the anticipated “red wave” did not happen. Whichever party wins the House and Senate will only do so by a narrow majority, if at all.

So, why did Democrats do well? And did they perform well enough to accomplish their legislative agenda?

“The Dobbs decision was this sort of tectonic event that rippled through politics in a way.” — Patrick Marley, Washington Post

Listen: How Democrats staved off Republican challenges nationally in the midterms.



Patrick Marley is a national reporter focusing on voting issues in the Upper Midwest for the Washington Post. He says that Democrats will have a difficult time accomplishing their agenda, regardless of the final results, due to the small margins the majority party will have in the House and Senate.

“It does seem that the Republicans will have a small majority in the House,” says Marley. “And it’s certainly possible that they will control the Senate by one seat. So in either case, narrow margins, but even if it’s just the house, that flips, it’s going to make Biden’s job much tougher.”

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