- Lale Hanalp
Mid-term elections analysis
On November 8th, the US held the midterm elections, which are elections held every 2 yrs to elect the house of representatives and ⅓ of the senate. Following the 2020 election, Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency. Those three bodies have to align if new laws are to be made, each holding tremendous power of their own,
The result of the elections have seen The Democrats maintain control of the Senate, with 48 seats to the Republicans' 49. The House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans. They currently have 221 seats, having passed the magic 218 threshold needed to win control of the lower chamber of Congress. Losing the House will make it difficult for President Joe Biden and the Democrats to pass laws during the next two years of his term of office. This is not the Republican landslide that people were expecting; it is closer than predicted. For the next two years in America under Biden's presidency, the results of the midterms will have a significant impact on whatever Biden wishes to do in his legislative agenda that has to get through Congress.
The problem for Democrats, like Biden, is that history is not on their side, as presidents almost always do horribly in their first midterm elections. Whoever is in control makes it near impossible to make major legislative achievements, and his appointments have to go through the Senate, so if there's a judicial vacancy or even a Supreme Court vacancy, the republicans will make it hard for Biden to get his person through.
Control of Congress by the party out of power means investigations. Republican lawmakers have floated January hearings on Hunter Biden's, Joe Biden’s son’s, business dealings and business relationships he's had with Russian and Ukrainian entities. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who is poised to lead the House Judiciary Committee, is planning to dig deeper into Hunter Biden in the majority by pursuing sensitive banking records and investigating the Justice Department's handling of investigations of Hunter Biden over gun crime handlings. Furthermore, a major congressional probe of the withdrawal from Afghanistan is underway, as Biden's own officials have described the end of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan as a "strategic failure" and "an ugly final phase." A new committee to investigate China's political and economic influence on the United States Republicans who have criticised the Biden administration's response to COVID-19 and federal guidance around masking, vaccine mandates, and school closures could be in a position to revisit the decision-making inside major federal health agencies and the White House. They have vowed to subpoena (order someone to attend court) Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top medical adviser for Biden and Trump. Republicans clearly intend to scrutinise and check the Biden administration. You can also expect to see the Congress dig in on almost every element of the Biden agenda. This means that those who harbour suspicions about Biden will be included in the investigations, posing a threat to Biden's presidency in 2024.
Ron DeSantis won the governorship in Florida; he is tipped as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024 and is a possible rival to former President Donald Trump. The Republicans also won the race for governor in Nevada, taking it from the Democrats. while, in turn, the Democrats took control of the governor's mansion from the Republicans in both Massachusetts and Maryland. The governor heads the government's executive branch in each state or territory and, depending on the individual jurisdiction, may have considerable control over government budgeting, the power of appointment of many officials (including many judges), and a considerable role in legislation. This means the Republicans will potentially have significant power to implement their policies and stop Biden from passing legislation, undermining his role as president and potentially hurting his chances of gaining another term in the 2024 elections.
Most Americans, in particular republicans or “election deniers” have formed an echo-chamber for the claim President Biden's election was faulty due to corrupt voting and false ballots, according to Kari Lake, candidate for arizona governor, “Trump will “come back with a vengeance” and “hundreds of thousands phoney ballots were dropped into drop boxes and they were counted”. At least 126 election deniers have won House, Senate and governor seats, 48 have lost their races. - make paragraph
There are four House races involving election deniers yet to be called: Alaska's sole seat, where Sarah Palin is the Republican nominee, Lauren Boebert's race in Colorado, and two districts in California
Americans are not only focused on who's in power but the issues that they are facing. In a time of issue voting the top two issues of voters minds as they cast their ballots are rising prices and abortion. The midterms are also a big check on the national mood, signalling to politicians what the American people are concerned about and what they like. There is a lot to learn in terms of setting up the next presidential election. This is unsurprising as 44 states have prohibited abortion after a certain stage of pregnancy. Abortion was a top issue, with 27% of people saying it was their deciding factor, after the Supreme Court overturned a ruling which had given nationwide protection for abortion rights.-Republicans took a hit at the polls because that's the price to pay for a major policy gain. Almost a third of people surveyed said inflation was the issue that mattered most in deciding how they votedA large majority of voters also said rising prices have caused them hardship in the past year. Laying the blame for historically high inflation at the feet of President Joe Biden and his unified Democratic government, Republicans have repeatedly called for an end to the "spending spree" in Washington. That said, voters were sharply divided along party lines - inflation was by far the biggest issue for Republicans, while for Democrats, abortion was top.
What does this mean for the comeback of Trump?
There are many challenges facing Trump if he were to run for presidency. One being his horrendous moral and legal status, he made history in becoming the first president in US history to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives. Secondly, Trump is fighting law enforcement investigations on several fronts. The Trump organisation is on trial accused of aiding some of its top executives to avoid paying income taxes on the compensation they received on top of their salaries. New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the investigation was “active and ongoing” whilst Trump called it a “political witch hunt”. Unsurprisingly, the former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg pled guilty to receiving untaxed benefits valued at $1.7m. This creates a clear image of Trump not being a ‘law abiding citizen’ and enhances his foul reputation of fraud and corruption. This does not bear well for his plans to run again in 2024.
On top of his inability to follow through with taxes, Mr Trump has misled investors concerning the value of his assets, seeking $250m and a lifetime ban on Mr Trump operating businesses in the state of New York. The case now has ‘significant evidence’. If Mr.Trump cannot keep hold of his own funds and stay true to his economic status, how will he maintain the US’s? Trump's moral and not least legal identity is, if possible, being even more so damaged. He is being sued for defamation after a rape claim from EJean Carroll after he called her a liar for saying he raped her in a New York department store. He is currently being investigated by The FBI and the Department of Justice on the handling of classified documents after leaving the White House. Trump has and will continue to be called unhinged and is liked by a majority of the population, despite his popular views it is not a secret that he is clearly a criminal and not a man that should be the face and mind of America.
However, If Trump is convicted, he could still run. In the annals of US political history, only three elected officials have ever been permanently barred from holding future office. In a poll between 17 and 19 October, 53 percent of Republican primary voters said they preferred Mr Trump, to 29 per cent for Mr DeSantis and six per cent for Mr Pence. Meanwhile, Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger, has said he “would love” to run against Mr Trump in a primary election “even if he crushed me”, although he is not running.
Overall, although it looks bleak for Trump and his ability to regain the title of president, it is not unlikely that even though Trump will not run, an individual of similar ideology will take his place.