Pundits and polling ahead of Election Day predicted that a "red wave" was coming for the House, with the GOP needing to flip just five seats to win the majority. But it quickly became clear on election night that Republicans would not see the huge returns many had anticipated. That the GOP won control by such a thin margin suggests that widespread enthusiasm for former President Donald Trump and his MAGA movement may be declining in some areas of the country.
Over the summer, Democrats gained a narrow lead in the polls after the conservative-leaning Supreme Court's decision to rescind federal abortion rights in June.
But Roe v. Wade's demise — despite abortion rights being widely popular nationwide — wasn't enough for voters to totally shun the GOP. The party's vow to destabilize the economy and push spending cuts to Social Security and Medicare should they take control of the House apparently wasn't enough to repel most voters.
Republican control of the House is a disaster for President Joe Biden’s agenda, which will most likely be set ablaze by the GOP in the next Congress. Without a majority in the House, Democrats can all but say goodbye to their hopes of passing progressive climate, education and racial equity measures.
What's more, with their newfound majority, Republicans are expected to follow through on threats by some members to impeach Biden and several members of his administration. They're also likely to disband the House Jan. 6 committee and launch their own partisan investigations.
In a saving grace for Democrats, the party was able to maintain control of the Senate, which at least allows them to continue confirming judges.
A legislative stalemate is bound to take hold in the next Congress given the power dynamics. But Biden, who had one of the best midterms for any president in 20 years, has a lot to be optimistic about this election cycle.