Midterms in the USA: Republicans are doing worse than expected – politics

In English there is the phrase “beyond the pale”, which can be translated as “not quite up to par” or “can’t be done at all”. Most recently, the phrase was used conspicuously often when it came to candidates from the Republican Party in the midterm elections in the United States. Among them are many conspiracy supporters supported by Donald Trump, gun fanatics and opponents of vaccination. Denial of the 2020 election result is also common among candidates republican still widespread and for a long time it seemed nothing and no one is too far “beyond the pale” to care for Grand Old Party to compete

Members of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate were elected on Tuesday. In some states, new governors were also elected and abortion rights were voted on. A “red wave” was predicted to roll over the country in this election. Red has traditionally been the color of Republicans, and almost as traditionally, the ruling party gets hit by voters in the midterm elections. But this year it was different.

Democrats lost seats in the House of Representatives, as might be expected, in part because Republicans in many of the states they govern have redesigned electoral districts to give their candidates better odds. A “landslide victory” for the Republicans, as had been feared, was not in sight on Wednesday. The count was tied the day after the election and was far from a clear Republican majority. Even prominent Republican MPs like the right-wing conservative Lauren Boebert from Colorado had to worry about their re-entry into Congress.

In the Senate elections in Pennsylvania, the Democrats even achieved a symbolically and politically important victory: Democrat John Fetterman defeated Republican Mehmet Oz and thus won a new seat for the Democrats. Pennsylvania was previously represented in the Senate by Republican Patrick Toomey. Actually, gains for the Democrats were not expected in this chamber either.

In the event of major losses in the Senate and House of Representatives, Joe Biden’s government would become practically paralyzed for the remaining two years of the legislative period, since the Republicans could then block almost all decisions and laws. This does not seem to be the case now, because even if the Republicans should win a narrow majority after the full count, Biden’s government could probably still push through many of its projects, since not all Republicans in Congress and Senate always vote for the party line. Biden was correspondingly satisfied. There was no “red wave,” said the US President. Regardless of the final majority, he was ready to “work with the Republicans.”

However, it could be a month before clear conditions prevail in both chambers. In Georgia, none of the candidates made it past the required mark of more than 50 percent of the vote. Raphael Warnock of the Democrats and Herschel Walker of the Republicans are both just below, with Warnock about a percentage point ahead. A third, independent candidate took the rest of the votes. Now a runoff between Warnock and Walker must be decided at the beginning of December.

This unexpectedly strong performance by the Democrats may also be due to the fact that the Republicans, with their increasingly radical, right-wing conservative policies, have overdone it. Conspiracy advocates like Lauren Boebert who still claim the 2020 election was “stolen” and sometimes they too pose in front of the Christmas tree with their heavily armed underage childrenare probably too “beyond the pale” for many voters.

This is also supported by the fact that abortion rights had been confirmed in Michigan, California and Vermont. In August, the conservative US Supreme Court questioned this right. Although it has been less present recently, the discussion about abortion has probably mobilized many democratic voters who felt their basic rights were being attacked.

In addition, there are many diverse candidates who were able to assert themselves, even among the Republicans: Maryland gets its first black governor in Wes Moore, in Massachusetts the openly lesbian Maura Healey becomes governor, and Arkansas is governed for the first time by a woman, namely Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump’s former press secretary.

However, the victories of such candidates cannot simply be counted as a success for the former US President. Republican Ron DeSantis, who has long been considered a serious rival to Trump for the 2024 presidential election, was reelected in Florida. He already threatened his former protégé with unpleasant “revelations”. The situation is similar in Ohio, where best-selling author JD Vance won the Senate election. He is also a supporter of Trump, but had sharply criticized him until a few years ago. It is quite possible that he too will soon turn against the Trumpists.

The danger that emanated from this election – a massive influx of election deniers, right-wing extremists and conspiracy supporters into American institutions – seems to have been postponed, it has not been averted. Enough supporters of Trump and his ideology are already in important posts. However, the modest performance of the Republicans and the cracks in the party that are slowly becoming visible also show that not all Republicans hope for Trump’s return – and certainly not a majority of Americans.

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