POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - WORLD

US midterm elections

‘Next 2 years of US politics bound to be as divisive and bitter as previous 6’



US president Joe Biden is likely to see his agenda thwarted if the Republicans take over Congress during the 2022 midterm elections.  Photo: Shutterstock

US president Joe Biden is likely to see his agenda thwarted if the Republicans take over Congress during the 2022 midterm elections.  Photo: Shutterstock

As US midterm election results are being counted, US citizens and the world look at the possible outcomes for the country.

The current economic situation will have been at the heart of motivations for the 46m Americans who voted ahead of Election Day, 8 November. Though the reversal on abortion rights might attract support for the blue Democrats, the Republicans are likely to receive support from voters frustrated with their economic struggles. The economic situation has brought down the popularity of Biden’s administration, who has been blamed by the Republicans.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate are on the line. At the time of publishing, results were still too close to predict the outcome; however, by gathering 199 seats in the House of Representatives so far, the red Republican party is likely to reach the 218 seats necessary to regain control over this part of Congress.

The Democrats had gathered 172 seats so far for the Lower House.

In the battle for the Senate, the results so far remain on a knife-edge, with Republicans and Democrats each holding 48 seats of 100, reports the Associated Press, as of late Wednesday morning.   

A risk for Biden administration

Some Republicans had predicted a “red tidal wave” to take over the country throughout the night, but the Democrats fared better than expected. The acquisition of either the Senate or the House of Representatives by the Republicans will, however, allow them to halt Biden in his agenda.

“I think we've witnessed pretty much a stalemate,” Josip Glaurdić, associate professor of political science at the university of Luxembourg, tells Delano. The potentially red House could “mean that the January 6 committee will wrap up its work. That will be some relief for Donald Trump.”

It will just be two more years of constant campaigning, without much legislative progress on virtually any front.

Joseph Glaurdićassociate professor of political scienceUni.lu

For Amcham CEO Paul SchonenbergPaul Schonenberg, “If the Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives, and even more so if they gain control of the Senate as well, the country will shift to a more conservative agenda with less appetite for social spending and more support for police and border controls.” A “mandate for radical agendas” on either side of the binary system is unlikely though, seen how closely the elections are fought, Schonenberg explains.

Regardless of the results, according to Glaurdić, “The next two years of American politics are bound to be as divisive and bitter as the previous six. Especially if Trump announces he is running for reelection and if he is indicted by the Justice Department. It will just be two more years of constant campaigning, without much legislative progress on virtually any front.”

On the international level

Whether the outcome of the elections will have an impact on the rest of the world is debated. In his opening remarks for a debate on democracy on the night of the elections, deputy chief for the US embassy in Luxembourg, Michael Konstantino stated that “regardless of the outcome, we will continue supporting democracy in Europe.”

A statement corroborated by Amcham’s CEO, who told Delano that “our Amcham here in Luxembourg and the other Amchams in each of the other EU countries, will continue without significant change but with a lot of ongoing work supporting companies, their employees and promoting economic prosperity for the benefit of all our citizens.” 

[The Republicans] are not interested in multilateralism, and that could make things even more difficult.
Jean Asselborn

Jean AsselbornLuxembourg foreign affairs minister

Luxembourg foreign affairs minister Jean AsselbornJean Asselborn (LSAP) on the potential outcomes of the results appeared more worried about a red victory. “We’d again be facing blocks for the judge nominations, the budget, climate policies,” he told RTL in an interview on 9 November. “You can imagine what an impact the US has on climate, social aid in the country, or foreign affairs if the Republicans--who are extremists--again get a majority… They’re not interested in multilateralism, and that could make things even more difficult, on top of all the misery that’s currently going on in the world.”