Non-US Guide to US Mid-2022


Can Joe Biden Avoid the Midterm Election Curse?

Republicans are building momentum heading into Election Day on Tuesday with high hopes of taking back the House. Some close races will decide the Senate. If the GOP takes one or both chambers, they will be in a position to kill Biden’s domestic legislative agenda. However, policies will struggle to overcome the president’s veto, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass. For the next two years America could be run by a divided government, with anger, financial disputes and partisan investigations.

In the lower house, all 435 seats are up for grabs, where members of parliament serve two-year terms. Democrats currently hold a tight control of the chamber, but Republicans only need a five-seat net gain to take the majority.

In the 100-seat Senate, a total of 35 seats are being contested. The chamber, which incumbents serve for six years, is split 50-50, with Democrats now in control as Vice President Kamala Harris casts a vote to break the tie. But Republicans only need a net gain of one seat to take control.

There are other races to watch as well, including 36 gubernatorial contests, and many more lower places. Statewide Secretary of State races have taken on special significance this year since they control statewide elections — including the 2024 presidential race. There are also state legislative elections and ballot initiatives, including access to abortion, changes to voting systems, gun control measures, and the legalization of recreational marijuana.

In every election, candidates tell voters that this is the most critical election of their lives. This time they might be right.

A Republican wave would bring together many candidates who swear that former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election was stolen. The former president would arm a Republican-controlled House against Biden before the 2024 presidential vote; Rep. Kevin McCarthy – who would likely be the Republican spokesman if the Republicans win – has not ruled out impeaching Biden, despite the lack of evidence that he has committed an impeachable crime.

A surprise Democratic victory would allow Biden to build on his social, health and climate change legislation, and balance the judiciary with liberal judges after four years of Trump’s selection of conservatives.

The cliché from Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid” is everywhere this election season. But it should be, “It’s inflation, stupid.” The cost of living in the US is at a 40-year high, making voters upset. High gasoline prices haven’t helped either, and the sense of post-pandemic normalcy promised by Biden remains elusive.

The president has struggled to frame the economic challenges into a strong political message or reassure voters that prices will soon drop. Some Democrats are now wondering why their candidates ignored the real concerns of voters by spending so much time arguing that Republicans would destroy US democracy.

Democrats had hoped that the conservative Supreme Court’s repeal of abortion rights would cause a GOP backlash. This could play out in some areas, but the economy has repeatedly been the primary concern of voters in the run-up to Election Day.

Republicans haven’t had to work too hard – their strategy has been to blame everything on Biden – despite the fact that inflation is mostly driven by external factors like the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Democratic positions on education, crime and immigration have been seen as extreme and left of the mainstream.

House bells: The best way to see where the results are going is to pick a few races that will turn the election. If Republicans start winning big in 2020 in suburban areas and House districts where Biden was far more popular than Trump, it’s a good bet they’re headed for a banner night.

Given the narrow margin in the House, Republicans can effectively win a majority by picking up contested seats in a state like New York. One unfortunate battle is in a new seat created by post-Census redistricting: Colorado’s 8th Congressional District; if the Republicans win, they’re on a roll.

Another close race is in Virginia’s 7th District, where former CIA officer and Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger is running against conservative Trump, Republican Yesli Vega, seeking re-election. If Democrats can hold on in this redrawn district, redistricting made more favorable to them, it doesn’t mean they’ll win the House, but it could indicate they’re keeping the GOP surge below a landslide. Spanberger, one of the most powerful Democratic incumbents, has not hesitated to criticize the president or his party.

And look at Michigan’s 7th District, where another former CIA operative and Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin is running for re-election. Slotkin is a moderate who has distanced himself from progressive politics and criticized his party for not doing more to address the economic pain Americans are facing.

Senate Battlegrounds: In the Senate, watch out for neck-and-neck battles in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia. If Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan loses her re-election bid in New Hampshire, it’s a sure sign that it’s GOP night.

Pennsylvania is the Democrats’ best chance to take the Republican-held seat, but candidate John Fetterman suffered a setback before winning the party’s nomination in May. Even outside the campaign this summer, Fetterman dominated his Republican challenger, but the pair’s latest debate opened new questions about the lasting effects of the stroke on the Democratic candidate.

Republicans are trying to win Democratic-held seats in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia. If a candidate in Georgia doesn’t get 50% of the vote, he’ll be back in December, meaning there could be weeks of uncertainty over who will lead the Senate for the next two years.

This is the first national election since the 2020 cataclysm, when Trump refused to accept defeat and tried to stay in power. Biden took office two weeks later with a message of healing and national unity. But the vision that America’s better angels could unite a polarized country has failed. Trump still won’t admit he lost, and is using the lie that he was illegally forced from power to catapult his much-anticipated re-election bid. Millions of Americans believe it, and they’ve built a strong base of supporters that could lead the GOP to power in Congress.

A key development to watch on Tuesday is whether Republicans who lose races concede, or like Trump, win and cite voting irregularities that don’t exist. Another source of tension will emerge in the race, where Republicans appear to be leading the vote count until large batches of early and mail-in ballots are tabulated simultaneously. Trump used such a scenario to cast false doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election.

We don’t have to guess. The GOP is already telling us that they will make Biden’s life miserable and try to destroy his re-election hopes. McCarthy told CNN in an exclusive interview that the White House wants to investigate everything from the origin of Covid-19 to its exit from Afghanistan.

The GOP also wants to target Biden’s son Hunter for his business dealings, and will seek to discredit and stop the FBI and Justice Department investigations into Trump. In the Senate, a Republican majority would make it extremely difficult to confirm Biden’s cabinet appointments, foreign ambassadors to key officials and judges. A period of harrowing disruptions over budgets and the US government’s debt ceiling is expected, a crisis that could send the global economy into deeper turmoil.

History shows that newly elected presidents almost always face a backlash in the midterm elections two years later. That is why they include the main priorities of the legislature at the beginning of the mandate.

If Democrats don’t do as badly as some fear, Biden will get a boost as he considers whether to run for re-election. If Republicans win, new questions will arise about his prospects in 2024. The President will turn 80 in a few weeks, an opportunity to celebrate, but also an unwelcome reminder of his political responsibilities.

All is not dark for the president, however. His two Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, faced debilitating voter reprimands in the midterms, but achieved an easy readjustment two years later. The question is whether Biden has the energy and political skill to use what would be an extreme Republican Congress as a foil.

The former president has made it a test of loyalty for Republicans in 2020 by ramping up false claims of election fraud that have forced Republicans to pay for his protection. how he walks

Trump was instrumental in his party’s loss of the House in 2018 and the Senate and the White House in 2020, and it could be devastating again, as the proteges he picked in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Ohio carry huge responsibilities as candidates. If Republicans do well on Tuesday night, Trump will take credit. If they don’t meet expectations, he will blame everyone else.

Either way, the former president looks set to run again in 2024 – a campaign that could lead to a political collapse, with the possibility of him being impeached for keeping classified documents or wrongdoing after the 2020 election.

But here’s the bottom line. Tuesday’s Republican victory, especially in the House, means that Trumpism has returned to power two years after it left in disgrace.