The Guardian view on the US midterms: Blue Wave wanted

The Guardian view on the US midterms: Blue Wave wanted

Note : The Democrats have taken control of The US House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would work to restore checks and balances and be a buffer against Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s “assault” on Medicare, Medicaid, affordable healthcare, and on Americans with pre-existing conditions.

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These elections are more important than any in recent memory. Only a vote for a Democratic Congress can constrain Donald Trump and his campaigns of hate

The United States midterm elections are always important. But the elections on Tuesday matter in ways that few midterm contests can have matched. Yes, it will take more than one election to mend the damaged and angry political mood that, in the last two weeks alone, has seen a fervent Donald Trump supporter send bombs to several Democrats, and a white supremacist commit the most heinous act of antisemitic violence in the country’s history. The man in the White House is not the only thing that must change. But the journey has to start somewhere. You only have to imagine how much more difficult the journey will otherwise be to grasp the exceptional responsibility that rests on the shoulders of US voters on Tuesday.

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 “Mr. Trump was the product of already existing toxicity, shaken faith and declining prestige “.–The Guardian

Donald Trump is not the sole reason why American politics have become so toxic, why Americans’ faith in their institutions has been so shaken, or the influence of the US for good in the world so diminished. In many ways Mr Trump was the product of already existing toxicity, shaken faith and declining prestige. But he has turbo-charged this decline deliberately, as a matter of conscious policy. He seeks consistently to be the president of some of the United States, not of the country as a whole. Against those who do not support or agree with him he deploys only hate and scorn. He lies and provokes as a matter of strategy. This is a president without precedent, and although in the US democracy is strong, it is not indestructible.

Take the issue of voting rights. It is often assumed that the US constitution embodies a federal right to vote. It does not. Voting is administered by the states. Most states are in Republican hands, and the districts that will send members of Congress to Washington this week have frequently been gerrymandered. In many states, including North Carolina and Wisconsin, Republicans have imposed restrictions on early voting, postal voting and voter identification, all of them designed to prevent black Americans from voting. In Georgia, officials tried to close seven out the nine voting places in a predominantly black area on the pretext that disabled access was inadequate.

The US constitution is celebrated for its checks and balances. Yet partisanship is now so entrenched and unbending that institutions themselves are beginning to creak. The White House is in the hands of a lying and rule-breaking racist executive who, apart from all his policy failings, refuses to release his tax returns, blurs the distinction between official and personal interests, meddles in investigations in which he has no business and who deployed thousands of US troops for a purely partisan reason. Meanwhile, since the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, the supreme court is now more firmly than ever under partisan rightwing control, opening up the near certainty of an attempt to overturn US abortion rights.

So there is a strong constitutional case, as well as a strong political one, for recapturing the legislative branch from its dishonest and sycophantic right wing Republican leadership. Democratic control of the House of Representatives would constrain Mr Trump by investigating issues that have been shamelessly ignored by the current House leadership. Democratic control of the Senate, a long shot, would clip his wings even more. Democratic failure this week, by contrast, would be – and would be taken to be – an electoral endorsement of Mr Trump.

This is a pivotal election for Americans, for American democracy, and for the rest of the world. Yet it comes at a time of decent US economic growth and high employment, when Republicans are energised, and Democrats are divided about their future course. It is far from guaranteed, in the light of 2016, that Democratic enthusiasm and money will turn into the blue wave that we want. But there is no more important political task anywhere in the world today than to seize this moment.

One thought on “The Guardian view on the US midterms: Blue Wave wanted

  1. All of the votes from last Tuesday haven’t even been counted yet, but already people are turning their attention to the 2020 election. Election exit polls always tell important stories. This year, however, those stories may be especially important for what they can tell us about the 2020 race for president. What I saw from this midterm are: (1) Republicans have a big woman problem; (2) the Latino vote has not changed; (3) this year’s turnout is a warning sign to the GOP; (4) Trump and other Republicans may be saved by non-college white voters; and (5) older voters are turning to the Democrats.

    The GOP’s standing with female voters — who always cast a majority of ballots — is perilous and is getting worse, thanks to Donald Trump. Overall Democrats won the female vote by a 19-point margin. That is the biggest advantage for the Democrats, in midterms or in presidential elections, in at least ten years. White women broke evenly this year after Obama lost white women by 7 points, and Hillary Clinton lost them by 9 points. This is especially troubling for Republicans.

    This year’s midterms saw Democrats making big gains among many constituencies, but Latino voters were not one of them. Although the Democratic Party’s advantage with Hispanic voters was 40 points, it was only a two percentage point gain over the 2016 election when Trump lost Latinos to Clinton by 38 points. Political pundits expected two years of Trump’s anti-immigrant presidency to cause even more deterioration in his support among Hispanics, but that has not happened. Republicans did better in both the 2016 and 2018 elections than Mitt Romney did in 2012 when he lost Latinos to Obama by 44 points. This is a cause of worry among Democrats heading into the 2020 presidential contest.

    Midterm elections historically benefit Republicans because of high turnout among older GOP voters. Always the turnout in midterms is older and whiter than in presidential years. And always that has benefited Republican candidates. Until this year. The ages of voters in this year’s midterms fit historical patterns but the outcome didn’t. Voters aged 65 and over cast 26 percent of all votes, whereas those under 30 cast only 13 percent. But despite this older electorate, the GOP lost the national vote in House elections by approximately six percentage points. This is really bad news for Republicans since in a presidential year there will be many more younger voters headed to the polls. And they will be less friendly to Republicans than this year’s electorate.

    Voters without college educations have been the key to Donald Trump’s political success. They played a huge role in his 2016 victory, and continue to make up the bulk of his support. These are the wildly enthusiastic people who attend his rallies and wear their red MAGA hats. And these are the voters who showed up for the GOP in the midterms. White voters without a college education made up 41 percent of all the ballots cast this year, a record high. They made up just 34 percent in the 2016 election and just 36 percent in the previous midterms in 2014. And they favored Republicans by a margin of 24 points. Of course this gain for the GOP is offset by the fact that Democrats won college graduates by 20 points this year. In 2008 Obama won college graduates by a margin of only 8 points. Democrats must not ignore Trump’s appeal to non-college whites if they want to win in 2020.

    Older voters are always the most reliable voters, with the highest turnout rates. And older voters have always been strongly Republican. But this may no longer be true. The GOP edge among over-65 voters was just two percentage points this year. Given the edge for Democrats among young voters, this could be a big problem for Republicans in 2020. In the 2014 midterms the over-65 group voted for the GOP by a margin of 16 points. This is an unexpected deterioration that Republicans must deal with in 2020 if they want to win. If the 2018 voting patterns of older voters appear also in 2020 it will spell doom for Trump and other GOP candidates.

    2020 is two years away and I do not expect Donald Trump will change. As the Chinese saying: 狗改不了吃屎, literally a dog can’t stop himself from eating shit; figuratively bad habits are hard to change. I expect political fighting to become more ugly and toxic, as Trump will continue to become more aggressively dividing the country by appealing to and consolidating his deplorable base of “poorly educated” racists, religious fanatics and right-wing extremists who make up one-third of the electorates and who will listen to him no matter what. They are the same tribe who simply adore Trump’s dictatorial streak, far-right agenda, racism, lies, egotistical tantrums, pettiness, misogyny, and bullying. And I hate to say that Trump’s toxic strategy might work to get him reelected, for I see no one on the Democratic side who has the statue to stand up to him. Hillary Clinton is hinting she might run again. P-L-E-A-S-E … tell me it ain’t so ….

    Frankly, the only one I saw coming out shining from this midterm is Beto O’Rourke, even though he lost. He almost turned the state of Texas blue for not taking a dime of PAC (Political Action Committee) money. Beto helped Democrats flip dozens of seats in the state legislature of Texas. He showed why even in defeat millions of Americans love him, for he is real. His emotion was authentic and genuine. Democrats should not be disappointed that O’Rourke didn’t win. Rep. O’Rourke is a political star who will have a national platform going forward. Beto O’Rourke has risen to prominence, as Democrats should feel very optimistic about the future.

    With other rising stars like Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams, the Democratic Party is developing something that the dinosaur party of Trump is sorely lacking. Democrats are building the next generation of diverse and great leadership. The future is going to look like what the Democratic Party is building, not what the Republican Party is trying to hold on to.

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