November 8, 2022, marks the United States midterm elections. The outcome will dictate the final stint of Joe Biden’s presidency term and, naturally, the entire country. But this year’s volatile economic climate could have a more significant impact on results than in previous years.
Every two years, the House of Representatives members run for re-election, meaning every one of the 435 House seats is up, as are 35 Senate seats. Plus, local, and gubernatorial elections are happening around the country.
A Brief Look at What’s at Stake
At the time of writing, the Democrats have control of the house, holding 221 seats to the Republicans’ 208. With 50 individuals from each party, the Senate is split equally. However, Kamala Harris has the tiebreaker vote, putting the Democrats in control, regardless of how slight their lead may be.
Unfortunately, the current president’s party tends to fare badly during midterms — within 24 months of Barack Obama’s presidency, the Democrats lost the house, and the Republicans lost following two years of Donald Trump.
Should the Democrats lose the House on November 8, the party will find it even harder to pass legislation. Yes, the Biden agenda is already stalled. Still, they’ll come up against increasing challenges when enacting policies on voting rights, reproductive rights, climate change, and gun control if the votes fail to swing their way.
The 3 Economic Issues Set to Impact the Midterm Elections 2022
The state of the economy will be at the top of voters’ issues lists when they head to the polling stations in a couple of weeks’ time, according to expert economists.
Despite the fact there are plenty of hot-topic problems, such as crime, immigration, and abortion, voters are also battling with hard-hitting inflation rates, concerns over a possible recession, and falling stock markets — so much so that financial issues are outweighing the rest.
With less than three weeks to go before polls open, the top three economic problems that could affect how Americans vote are as follows:
As per a government report in September, consumer prices skyrocketed by 8.3% in August compared with the same time in 2021. Even though that’s a decrease from the 40-year high of 9.1% in June, the percentage is still unbelievably high.
Economists say individuals will either suffer inflation or be taxed in the future. And currently, the country is dealing with high inflation rates in response to the COVID-19 stimulus spending.
The Fed’s decision to raise interest rates in the hopes of balancing supply and demand to eventually decrease costs has been met with controversy amongst Wall Street investors and potential homebuyers. By eroding demand, the US central bank risks flooding the country’s economy into a dark recession.
According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the Biden administration has added over $4.8 trillion to the US deficit, meaning the nation is having to pay for policies they never planned to fund.
June 14, 2022, saw at-pump prices hit the all-new high of $5.06 per gallon on average. But even though these figures have dropped for four months straight, there are still growing concerns that US residents will have to pay more to fill their tanks again soon.
OPEC and other oil-making countries agreed to cut production of two million crude-filled barrels every day to shore up prices.
However, this decision is dubbed “basic malpractice” energy experts – especially since The White House has worked tirelessly to decrease oil prices recently.
Biden even opted to tap the country’s US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, utilized only during states of national emergency.
The Housing Crisis
Finally, housing (the most interest-rate-sensitive economy sector) will also impact voters’ decisions.
Interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages have more than doubled over the past 12 months, and homes are 16.5% more expensive than last year. Such facts could see millions of citizens priced out of buying a house. Not to mention that rent prices have increased.
The consequences affect the most financially vulnerable demographic. Although, there may be hope for non-economically driven voters as those who purchased homes during times of low interest rates are in better monetary standing.