Thursday, 01 Dec 2022

You did it!: Biden basks in midterms afterglow after beating expectations

You did it!: Biden basks in midterms afterglow after beating expectations


You did it!: Biden basks in midterms afterglow after beating expectations

Today, Joe Biden will quietly ring in his 80th birthday over brunch with his family in Washington. It's a milestone none of his predecessors reached while serving in the White House and one that looms large as he considers his political future.

Yet the president enters his ninth decade at a moment of unexpected strength. Democrats defied history in the midterm elections, keeping control of the Senate and shattering Republican hopes of a "red wave" in the House.

The verdict - a beat-the-odds performance by his party and the defeat of several election-denying candidates backed by Donald Trump - offered validation to a president who saw the elections as a test of American democracy.

In the afterglow of the election, Democrats have piled on praise - a major reversal for Biden, who spent much of of the second year of his presidency weathering the blame for what many anticipated would be a crushing rebuke from voters. But instead of a repudiation, he found vindication.

"You did it, Joe!" Vice-President Kamala Harris exclaimed at a post-election event with supporters. "This victory belongs to Joe Biden," Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, his one-time rival for the Democratic nomination, said last week. And when asked how Democrats overcame tremendous headwinds and the weight of history, Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee, credited the president: "I have to thank Joe Biden."

With the midterms behind him, and a possible re-election campaign before him, Biden's allies are hopeful voters will come to see the first half of his term as they do: a hard-won success story.

Biden entered the White House at a period of profound tumult for the nation: in the shadow of the 6 January insurrection and the depths of the coronavirus pandemic. While vowing to confront the nation's most urgent crises and shore up America's standing abroad, Biden set out in pursuit of an ambitious agenda.

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