Mid-term elections: Why is the election field decorated every two years in the United States?

Millions of voters will exercise their right to vote in the mid-term elections in the United States on November 8. According to experts, the American economy, the issue of abortion, gun control and foreign policy will be the focus of voters’ attention in these elections.

Although these elections do not receive the same attention as US presidential elections, they play a very important role in determining the direction of government policies.

All 435 members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be elected in these elections. How do these elections affect American politics? To understand this, it is important to understand the constitutional structure of the state in the United States.

Interestingly, these elections are held every two years on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

Constitutional structure of the state

According to the US Constitution, there are three branches of the state: the legislature, the law-making body (Congress), the executive and the judiciary.

The President is the head of the administration and is elected every four years. Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States are appointed on the nomination of the President, who are approved by the Senate. The number of these judges is nine. Important matters like legislation, important administrative appointments and ratification of treaties etc. are decided in these houses.

The House of Representatives has important powers like introducing bills related to finance, taxation and other laws, impeaching federal officials. While ratification of trade and other international agreements and confirmation of presidential nominations are done by the Senate.

 

Two Houses of Congress

Congress consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are important for legislation. Any legislation must be approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate, after which the approved law is sent to the President for assent.

All fifty US states have equal representation in the Senate. Each state is represented by two senators. Representation in the Senate has nothing to do with the state’s population or area.

 

Senators are directly elected for a six-year term, but one-third of the Senate seats are up for election every two years in mid-term elections. Constituencies of senators are determined on geographical basis. The total number of members of the Senate is 100.

One-third of the senators are re-elected each time, so that three classes of senators are formed on the basis of the completion of the term. Among them, there are 33 senators in Class I and II, while Class III has 34 senators.

This year, as it was the turn of the third class senators to be elected, 34 senators will be elected in the mid-term elections.

In addition, there will be a special election of two senators to fill the remaining term of the seat vacated by Vice President Kamala Harris following the resignation of one senator.

In addition, there will be a special election of two senators to fill the remaining term of the seat vacated by Vice President Kamala Harris following the resignation of one senator.

The number of members of the House of Representatives is fixed at 435 and here each state is represented according to its population.

In the United States, the number of representatives for the states increases or decreases based on the census held every ten years, but the number of members of the House of Representatives is set at 435 in the Constitution.

Members of the House of Representatives are elected from population-based ‘districts’ in states that are similar to constituencies.

The results of the mid-term elections are announced at different times in different states. The successful members of Congress will begin their duties on January 3, 2023.

Balance in representation

The states of the United States are not homogeneous in terms of geography and population. But in the legislation, all the states have been given equal representation in the Senate for balanced representation, but in the House of Representatives, population has been made the basis.

For example, the state of Wyoming has the least population in the United States and the state with the largest area is Alaska. While California is the largest state in terms of population. The representation of these three states in the Senate is equal, that is, two senators are elected from each of them.

But in the House of Representatives, one each from Wyoming and Alaska, while 52 representatives are elected from California because the measure of representation here is population. Differences in area and population are thus balanced by equal representation in the Senate.

In addition to 435 members, the House of Representatives also includes representatives from five territories, including the District of Columbia, but they do not have the right to vote for legislation or to confirm appointments.

Present Situation of Representation in Congress

In the United States, the President is elected for a four-year term, while the members of the House of Representatives are elected for two years. This election is held two years after the presidential election and two years before the next presidential election, so it is called a mid-term election.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are important for legislation. Any legislation must first be approved by the House of Representatives. It must then be approved by the Senate, after which it is sent to the President for assent.

The President also has the power to veto legislation passed by Congress, but a two-thirds majority of Congress can override the President’s veto.

Apart from this, the House of Representatives has important powers like introducing bills related to financial affairs, taxation and other laws, impeachment of federal officials. Foreign trade agreements must also be ratified by this House.

Currently, the ruling party in the House of Representatives has 220 members of the Democratic Party and 212 members of the Republican Party. With this numerical advantage, the Democratic Party can pass legislation through the House of Representatives.

Both have fifty-fifty senators in the 100-member Senate. According to the Constitution, the Vice President heads the Senate. Currently, US Vice President Kamala Harris presides over the bipartisan Senate and can only use her vote to break a deadlock in the event of a tie.

Importance to the President and the ruling party

Separation of powers is very important in the Constitution of the United States and special care has been taken in the formation of institutions. The president and his party must pass legislation to implement the policies that they support and promote in the elections. , funding and many other decision-making matters require the support of Congress.

In the mid-term elections, if the president’s party does not get a majority in the House of Representatives, he faces obstacles in implementing his policy, and the same is the case with the Senate.

Although turnout in mid-term elections is lower than in presidential elections, it is considered a referendum on the president’s performance and policies. Also, recent history has seen a reduction in the seats of the ruling party in the mid-term elections held in the first term of any president.

If Republicans win more seats than Democrats in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, they will have the power to determine the direction of legislation in the House.

Currently, Democratic President Biden and his party’s priorities include environmental protection, abortion access and gun control legislation. While the party with conservative ideas has a different position on these issues.

In June this year, the US Supreme Court overturned a 1973 ruling on abortion rights.

In the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on abortion, ‘Roe v. Wade’, abortion was declared legal. However, the Supreme Court has now struck down this right, allowing states to ban abortion procedures at the individual level. Legalization has become an important election issue.

According to the Associated Press news agency, these elections are also very important regarding the accountability of the former US President Trump for the Capitol Hill attacks.

The Democratic-dominated House of Representatives wants to hold former President Trump accountable for the January 6, 2021, attacks on key government offices, including Congress, in the US capital, alleging irregularities in the presidential election at the time.

According to the ‘Associated Press’, a large number of Republicans likely to be elected in the midterm elections will become members of the House for the first time. Most of them are supporters of Trump and consider his style of politics ideal for them.

In addition to the House of Representatives and the Senate, the mid-term elections will also hold elections for governors in 36 states and several state legislatures.

The importance of these elections at the state level is not as important as the ongoing election for Congress, but because most laws are made at the state level in the United States, these elections cannot be ignored. The ‘special election’ of representatives is also held in this mid-term election.

According to the different laws in force in different states, early voting is also provided for mid-term elections in many states and voting is also done by mail in some states. Using these facilities, a large number of voters in many states exercise their right to vote before the election day.

Important point

The role of Congress in the US presidential election is one of the main points that make it different from the parliamentary form of government.

In a parliamentary democracy like India or Pakistan, the chief administrator of the country is the Prime Minister. He must have a majority in the lower house of the Parliament as it is the House (National Assembly or Lok Sabha) that elects him to the post.

In the United States system of government, the president is elected every four years in which the electorate directly elects the electoral college that elects the president. It is not necessary for the presidential candidate or his party to have a numerical majority in Congress to be elected president.

In this case, it is quite possible that after the election of the President, his party may not have a majority in the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections, but despite this, his government remains intact. However, it faces obstacles in legislation and decision-making.

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