Midterm elections show hardening divide among electorate

Party control of Congress remains unclear two days after Election Day as national divides continue to run deep. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 6 | Party control of Congress remains unclear two days after Election Day as national divides continue to run deep. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Party control of the House and Senate remained up in the air Thursday, with midterm election results showing U.S. voters remain as divided as ever.

President Joe Biden, who may have to operate in a divided government for the second half of his term, with Republicans poised to take the House and a shot at capturing the Senate, as well.


But the predicted "red wave," with Republicans expected to take a large advantage in the House, hasn't happened.

In the Senate, Democratic incumbents Mark Kelly in Arizona, Raphael Warnock in Georgia and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada are all locked in tight races that could go either way. Warnock will compete in a Dec. 6 runoff against Republican former NFL star Herschel Walker.

The continued divisions in the country showed up in different ways during the midterms.

In the Senate race in Pennsylvania, abortion emerged as a strong issue. In exit polling, many voters said abortion was one of their top issues. Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who campaigned on codifying abortion rights if he was elected, defeated celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz for a key seat flip.


In the state's governor's race, Democrat Josh Shapiro, who said he would veto any legislation that sought to limit abortion rights in Pennsylvania, easily outdistanced state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who wanted to ban abortion after six weeks and institute criminal penalties for providers.

Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson told the Philadelphia Inquirer the group views "Pennsylvania as being such a critical state on so many different levels for protecting access."

"This is the first time [since the U.S. Supreme Court abortion decision] that Pennsylvanians have to actually express their outrage, their frustration, their betrayal," she said.

Many incumbents and candidates, all Republicans, who questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election in which Biden defeated Donald Trump, found success at the ballot box on Tuesday.

More than 220 Republicans who questioned the election won seats in the U.S. House and Senate and in state races for governor, secretary of state and attorney general, the New York Times reported.

Eighteen House Republicans, representing 64% of the state's total representatives, cast doubt about the 2020 election yet won their seats on Tuesday.

More than two dozen election deniers won seats, including Alabama incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey and Indiana's new secretary of state, Diego Morales. Morales had called the 2020 presidential election a "scam."


Political scientists John Sides, Chris Tausanovitch and Lynn Vavreck wrote in their recent book, The Bitter End that the divisions could be the result of a hardening of positions, where it has become more difficult to compromise or work with the opposing party.

"As it does in the body, calcification produces hardening and rigidity: People are more firmly in place and harder to move away from their predispositions," they said. "Growing calcification is a logical consequence of growing polarization.

"New events tend to be absorbed into an axis of conflict in which identity plays the central role. And this means smaller fluctuations from year to year in election outcomes."

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