The US midterm elections have special weight this time. It will be decided for President Biden how much he can still achieve politically in the next two years.
In the middle of President Joe Biden’s term in office, the momentous midterm elections are coming up in the USA. The midterms will determine the majorities in both chambers of Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives – as well as numerous governorships and other important offices.
Biden’s Democrats are at risk of losing their majority in Congress, which would severely limit the president’s political leeway over the next two years. According to polls, the Republicans have a good chance of taking over the majority in the House of Representatives. Head-to-head races for several seats are expected in the Senate, which is currently only just controlled by the Democrats.
Why are Tuesday’s elections so important – for Biden, for Trump, for the US and beyond?
If the Republicans conquer one or possibly both chambers of Congress, Biden will no longer be able to push through any major legislative initiatives from January. In addition, he and his government are threatened with various parliamentary investigations and possible impeachment proceedings. If the Senate also falls to the Republicans, Biden would also no longer get any personal details at the federal level that have to be confirmed in the chamber. This would apply, for example, to the politically important filling of federal judge posts.
The United States has never really calmed down since the turbulent 2020 presidential election and the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. Biden’s hopes of reuniting the country after taking office were dashed. The political atmosphere is extremely tense.
Shortly before the election, a brutal attack on the husband of top Democrat Nancy Pelosi increased fears of politically motivated violence. Democrats and Republicans are so irreconcilable and sometimes hostile to each other as rarely, have fundamentally different plans for the country in various policy areas – for example, in terms of migration, social security systems and the issue of abortion. If the Republicans take control of Congress, the next two years are likely to be marked by a deadlock, the inability to reform, and party-political struggles.
Although it is not a presidential election, the “midterms” could also have consequences beyond the borders of the USA. Republicans in the House of Representatives have threatened to slow down or even block large-scale US aid to Ukraine if they capture the Chamber of Congress – which could potentially tip the tide of the war in Russia’s favour.
However, observers suspect that the threat is more of an attempt to build up pressure in order to wrest a concession from the Democrats elsewhere. Overall, it is also important how the US elections and their counting are carried out. Should there be turmoil similar to the 2020 presidential election, it would further tarnish the image of American democracy abroad.
The first meaningful results are expected early on Wednesday morning, Central European time. According to forecasts, the Senate majority will depend on several close races. There could therefore be uncertainties in the counting of votes, possibly also legal challenges to the results. Therefore, according to experts, it could take several days or possibly even weeks to determine which party will have the say in the Senate in the future. Biden also called on citizens to be patient before the election.
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