Expert Explains | Midterms 2022: In battle for the soul of America, what’s at stake for the stars and stripes?

In many ways, the midterm elections in the United States on November 8 are as important as the presidential elections of the past two years. At stake is control of the US Congress, important for legislation and important appointments.

More importantly, the election results could undermine the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s administration forever and signal the return of Donald Trump and Trumpism in all its Frankenstein-like manifestations. If there is, in the wrong way, the star of the political firmament, it is Trump, and the stripes are represented by the deep lines that he has dug in the country.

This election is a battle for the soul of America; the fight to determine what it is that is today the ‘America dream’. And the polls show that the Democratic Party will be on the losing end of this battle.

The Republicans could win the House of Representatives decisively, and the Democrats would be very lucky to take control of the Senate. The latest evidence shows that the composition of the Senate will depend on the results in four important states – Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Arizona – and possibly New Hampshire.

American politics in the next two years, in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, could see conflict on a scale not seen in recent history no.


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For liberal voters, and what was once formed by the American middle, the main problem in the election is the deep involvement of Trumpism to destroy democracy, driven from the far end of the Republican right who believe in a ‘big deal’ that Trump doesn’t. lost the last presidential election – it was stolen from him.

Today, many liberal voters would argue, it is Trump who controls the Republican Party, not the other way around. The favorable half-term results would make it very difficult to deny him the presidential election two years later. For those who oppose Trump and his politics, including neo-conservative scholar Robert Kagan:

“This is how fascism came to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there are salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a TV huckster, a phony billionaire, a book egomaniac ‘tapping into’ popular resentments and insecurities, and with the entire national political party – out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear – falling in line behind him “


However, for most voters, the state of the economy remains the biggest concern. A New York Times poll found 26% of voters see the economy as the most important issue in the country – more than any other issue, and CBS News reported the poll The survey found that “65% of voters believe the economy is slowing down and 68% say the Biden administration can do more to prevent inflation.”

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The electorate is deeply divided along political and ethnic lines, and there is a wide economic gap between the rich and the poor. On almost every issue that matters, there is a Manichean divide between Trump supporters and the rainbow group that once stood for Biden: deep business, no debate conflict, significant differences in health care, concerns about overcrowding in courts (including the Supreme Court), and street violence in many Chinese cities with Minneapolis (where George Floyd’s “killing” inspired the Black Lives Matter movement), Atlanta, Dallas, Cleveland, Raleigh, Los Angeles, and New York.


The main theme of the 1973 Supreme Court decision in ‘Roe v. Wade’, deeply rooted in the American psyche, has backfired this year. The case deals with the legal nature of the Texas law that makes it illegal to have an abortion except in certain special circumstances, but is drawn into serious issues related to choice and women’s rights. Roe created legal protections for women’s right to make decisions about their own health, and opened the way for greater political, social and economic participation. and the economy of women in public life. The conservative supermajority in the Supreme Court has now withdrawn the constitutional protection.

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Robert Reich, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, recently wrote: political right in the dark days of Senator Joe McCarthy’s communist ghost-hunting in the early 1950s; civil rights protests in the late 1950s and early 1960s; anti-Medicare in the mid-1960s; for small government in the 1970s; for tax cuts for the wealthy in the 1980s; for balanced budgets in the early 1990s; against universal health care in the 1990s and early 2000s; against LGBTQ rights in the 2010s. Today I’m not particularly concerned about Republicans’ political preferences. Today I’m concerned about the survival of our liberties.”

In 1968, Paul Simon wrote his song America, while he was touring the US with his friend Kathy: “’Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, even though I know she’s asleep / I’m empty and sick and I don’t do it. ‘don’t know why / Count the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike / They’ve come to find America / All come to find America / All come to find America. “

Tuesday’s vote will be about finding – or losing – America.

Mattoo, one of India’s leading commentators on international politics and Indian foreign policy, is a professor at the School of International Studies in JNU, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Melbourne. He is a former Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.


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