Blue midterms

A problem faced by all political candidates, particularly those operating in highly-polarised environments, is that the positions they have to adopt to get ahead in their own party can prove to be a serious liability when presented to the general electorate. This can be offset to some degree by a tacit understanding between politicians and voters that certain policies are for internal party consumption only, and that, once the election is won, they will be quietly abandoned.

Recent history has destabilised this arrangement however; the example of Donald Trump, who in office was even crazier than he had been on the campaign trail, seems to have convinced floating voters in the US that aspiring public servants should be taken at their word.

Thus the widely-predicted wave of Republican success has failed to materialise, and the Democrats have done remarkably well for an incumbent party at this point in the electoral cycle. Trump-backed candidates touting election-denial and abortion bans have largely floundered, leaving the man himself with a somewhat more difficult path to the GOP nomination in 2024.

It’s not all good news of course; the House is still on course to turn red, which will stymie Joe Biden’s modestly progressive programme, and control of the Senate may once again depend on the outcome of a run-off election in Georgia. The longer-term outlook is a little brighter though; Trump’s new vulnerability will embolden party rivals like Ron DeSantis, and the resulting struggle for the hearts of the ever more extreme Republican base can only further alienate the mass of the electorate.

That doesn’t mean that that Biden can relax about his re-election – the GOP will be redoubling its voter-supression efforts in response to this setback, the economy is still a potential time-bomb, and there may be any number of as-yet unknown crises waiting to break out in the next 2 years – but the odds on seeing Trump, or a Trump-clone, back in the White House are a bit longer than they were 24 hours ago.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: