As the recent primary in Delaware attests, this year’s midterm elections continue to offer unexpected twists and raise large questions. Will the Republicans take over the House and possibly the Senate? Or has the Republican wave ebbed? What role will President Obama play in rallying seemingly dispirited Democrats — and what effect will reaction to the sluggish economy play in rallying Republicans? Is the Tea Party more an asset or a liability to the G.O.P.’s hopes? What effect will the inevitably narrowed partisan majorities have in the last two year’s of Obama’s first term? And how will contests for governorships and state legislatures around the nation affect redistricting and the shape of politics to come?
On October 4, a panel of Brookings Governance Studies scholars, moderated by Senior Fellow E.J. Dionne, Jr., attempted to answer these questions. Senior Fellow Thomas Mann provided an overview. Senior Fellow Sarah Binder discussed congressional dynamics under shrunken majorities or divided government. Senior Fellow William Galston offered his views on the administration’s policy prospects during the 112th Congress. Nonresident Senior Fellow Michael McDonald addressed electoral reapportionment and redistricting around the country.