Midterm blues

A couple of weeks have passed without a change in Prime Minister, and this relative stability has allowed my attention to drift from what is, in global terms, the sideshow of UK politics to the rather more consequential events on the far side of the Atlantic.

For a while over the summer it looked like the Republican assault on women’s rights would provoke enough of a backlash to preserve Democrat control of both houses of Congress, but as winter has set in the cold economic winds seem set to blow Joe Biden’s legislative programme off course by delivering GOP majorities in the House and perhaps the Senate.

Some commentators are predicting a descent into civil war should the Republicans prevail; that seems a little hyperbolic, or at least I hope so. My take is that the MAGA-fication of the GOP is a blind alley; the influx of assorted kooks and oddballs will fracture the party into a myriad of conspiracy-obsessed factions that will consume themselves in internecine hostility long before they pose any serious threat to the integrity of the nation.

That’s not to say that there won’t be a great deal of unpleasantness ahead, especially once Donald Trump declares his candidacy for 2024, an announcement that may come as early as tonight. Detaching oneself from reality is not a recipe for long-term political success though; as this year in British politics has shown, eventually the facts catch up. Whether the US electorate will figure this out this while they still have the right to vote is the big question; I guess we’ll have a better idea of the answer by this time tomorrow.

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