On November 8, the US midterm elections took place. Although in some states the votes are still being counted as of the date of the writing of this column (California’s 13th Congressional District and Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District), and in some cases there will be a runoff vote (Georgia on December 6), the picture is already clear, and it won’t undergo serious changes. In the 118th US Congress, the Republicans will form the majority in the House of Representatives and the Democrats will keep the majority in the Senate. Thus, the Democrats, who previously controlled both houses, were only able to retain control of the Senate – which is actually a good result.
The pattern that usually applies to midterm elections in the United States was also true for this election. This pattern is an established practice implying that if the president is elected from the Democratic Party, then the Republicans win the majority in midterm elections and vice versa. In this way, voters try to maintain a balance between the two parties, preventing the concentration of power in the hands of one party.
Still the predictions for the outcome of the midterm elections were only partially borne out, as the Democrats managed to maintain the majority in the Senate. President Joe Biden has also commented on this. During his first press conference following the midterm elections President Biden stressed that despite all the predictions by the press and pundits, the so-called giant “red wave” did not happen. According to the president the Democrats “lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic President’s first midterm election in the last 40 years. And [the Democrats] had the best midterms for governors since 1986.”
One of the active supporters of the Republican’s success in the midterm elections was Donald Trump, who took a specific stance on this election. First of all, he claimed that he should get all the credit in case the Republicans win. However he should not be blamed for their defeat. Trump was most probably also expecting the red wave, as on the eve of the midterm elections, he said that he was going to make a very big announcement on November 15. It was obvious what the former president implied by that. That was his decision to run for president. Although the result was not a total victory for the Republicans, on November 15 Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States “to make America great again.”
In these elections there were candidates who had received direct support from former President Trump. Among them, the most problematic candidate for Armenians was Mehmet Oz, a Turkish national, who was running for Senate as a Republican candidate from Pennsylvania. Dr. Oz is a surgeon by profession, and now a famous TV star, who managed to get Trump’s support during the spring primaries. Oz’s opponent in this state was the Democratic candidate John Fetterman. There was a really serious battle between the two, in the framework of which millions of dollars were spent on advertisements by Oz. Despite his great efforts, Oz lost to the Democratic candidate by 51.2% to 46.4% of the vote. Given that Dr. Oz is also a citizen of Turkey and has deep ties to Turkish business elite and political circles, which in turn are connected to Erdogan, Oz’s defeat was particularly important to the Armenian community and its lobbyists, who had worked relentlessly to prevent Oz from entering the Senate.
The Impact of the Midterm Elections on US Policy towards Armenia