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US mid-term elections: Seven important messages

The US House of Representatives is seen through a reflection of the Capitol dome on the morning of the midterm election, in Washington, DC, on November 8, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

By Mohammad Mahdi Abbasi

The 2022 US midterm elections, which many had been looking forward to for a long time, have finally come to an end, while contrary to all predictions, the results have been anything but a “red tsunami.” The Republicans had been constantly promising a red tsunami in recent months, and the Democrats had been haunted by that nightmare for so many days.

Although the final results of the congressional elections have not come out yet and while Democrats still have a chance to retain their majority in the Senate, a Republican victory in both houses – even if it happens – would be very narrow and hence fragile. The Republicans failed to perform satisfactorily even in the gubernatorial elections across the United States, in particular in competitive states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, where they lost to the Democrats.

The 2022 elections, regardless of the results, will be recorded in history as one of the most important mid-term elections in the United States. The elections will be a turning point in many developments across the US and will have important consequences for prominent political figures and various movements. Here, I will shed light on 7 important messages and consequences of the midterm elections:

  1. The first and foremost message of the 2022 elections is that it put an end to the political life of former US president Donald Trump, who was going to announce his 2024 presidential bid next week, but is now advised against such a move by his close advisers such as Kayleigh McEnany. That is because many candidates endorsed by Trump, including Mehmet Oz, Blake Masters and Don Bolduc, lost in Senate elections in their states. Also, Kari Lake, the controversial Republican candidate running for governor of Arizona, who was endorsed by Trump and considered by many to be Trump’s running mate in the 2024 elections, is as of now behind the Democratic candidate. In the House of Representative elections, many candidates who had denied Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 and who had the endorsement of the former US president suffered defeat. One of the most prominent cases is John Gibbs, the Republican candidate in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, who lost to his Democratic opponent Hillary Scholten. Many American political experts argue that Trump has emerged as the biggest loser of the 2022 elections and is to blame as the main reason the red tsunami did not materialize.
  2. As much as Trump and some of his endorsed candidates performed poorly in the elections, Ron DeSantis, the conservative governor of Florida, performed well. DeSantis was re-elected as governor with a margin of some 20% and established Florida as one of the most serious Republican bastions for the future. The victory also helped DeSantis be tipped as a potential GOP frontrunner in the 2024 presidential elections.
  3. The elections injected new glimmers of hope into the Democratic camp. The top figures of this party were well aware of the dire economic situation of the American people and the low approval ratings of Joe Biden. They had predicted that they would be severely punished in the mid-term elections. But the story developed differently, and now they are hopeful about the next presidential election, especially about a figure like Gretchen Whitmer, who managed to get re-elected as the governor of Michigan and has a good chance to run in the 2024 elections.
  4. One of the main factors behind the success of the Democrats in these elections was the high turnout of young people, including Generation Z, at the voting booths. An early estimate showed that some 30 percent of young Americans aged 18 to 29 went to the polls in competitive states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, where most of their votes went to Democratic candidates, marking the second-highest voter turnout among voters under 30 in at least the past three decades.
  5. The 2022 elections showed that no party or movement should underestimate the issue of abortion. Many experts believe that the issue of abortion and the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade was the main reason behind the victory of the Democrats in many competitive states. The great success of the Democrats in Michigan and other Midwestern United States proves this claim.
  6. American progressives led by Bernie Sanders performed well in this election. All progressive candidates, including Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Cori Bush, managed to regain their seats in the US Congress. Also, three new and young members were added to this bloc. Gregorio Casar, Summer Lee and Maxwell Frost are the new progressive faces in Congress who got through a difficult path to victory, because pro-Israel lobbies such as AIPAC had spent a lot of money to defeat them, and now the US political establishment is left to deal with the reality of the growing popularity of socialist ideas in the country.
  7. The last message of this election is for Joe Biden. The 8% inflation rate, $4 gas price, scandalous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and relatively poor management of tensions between Russia and Ukraine are the most critical shortcomings of the US president’s record so far. Those shortcomings, coupled with a complete Democratic defeat in the elections, could have cost Biden dearly. But Biden knows very well that if it were not for the high turnout of young people, Trump’s support for the far right, and issues such as abortion, he would be the biggest loser in the 2022 US elections today, thanks to his poor performance in the last two years. Nevertheless, from now on, he has a more difficult way forward in order to overcome these crises, because the US president will no longer be able to easily get his plans and economic programs approved in a House of Representatives whose fragile majority is in the hands of the Republicans.

Mohammad Mahdi Abbasi is an Iranian researcher focusing on American affairs.

(This article was written originally in Persian and translated to English by Press TV staff. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

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