Hi Thomas, Regional elections were held in some parts of the US on Tuesday. What exactly was at stake?
‘National elections for president or senate, for example, are held every other year even in the United States. Elections are held only between several states, including the governor and the state parliament. It happened again on Tuesday.
Although this is happening on a regional level, you notice that the entire country is watching closely what is happening there. A year before the presidential election, the results are an important indicator of the mood of voters, the issues they care about and how they see Democrats and Republicans positioning themselves.
What conclusions can the parties draw from the results?
“Republicans will not be happy. Their worst fears have been confirmed: More than a year later, the abortion debate is still a critical issue for them.
In the summer of 2022, the national right to abortion was repealed. This represents a political landslide, as many conservative voters do not support it. A year ago, you saw an unprecedented good result for the Democratic Party in the midterms. Now Republicans are hoping to find a friendlier political landscape, but no, voters don’t seem to have swayed toward the Republican Party on Tuesday.
It was released a day earlier, on Monday The New York Times A poll For the battle between Trump and Biden. What came of it?
“That poll was damning for Biden. Trump appears to be doing significantly better than Biden in five of the six most important swing states. It’s a big shock among Democrats. If that poll comes out, Trump will win.
‘Because the US landscape is so polarized, these swing states – Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin – decide the winner. Other states vote Democrat or Republican almost by definition: New York, for example, doesn’t really stand a chance of electing a Republican president where I live. But in swing states the effect is double.
‘For example, as you sometimes hear, the fact that Trump has become so popular is not because of the lawsuits against him. Trump is less popular than he was in 2020. Biden seems very unpopular. It has to do with his old age – he turns 81 this month – and voters’ distrust of his economic policy.’
But doesn’t this week’s Democratic victory show something entirely different?
‘You can look at that result in two ways. Biden actually responded with glee. He and those around him certainly feel empowered. They are using the results to assuage fears that polls are building among Democrats. And the fact that abortion still alienates Republican voters, even in conservative states, is valuable information for Biden. He will use it in his campaign.
“At the same time, Biden’s name is not on the ballot in this election. One of the biggest winners, re-elected Democratic governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky, campaigned deliberately without mentioning Biden. So we can conclude that the Democrats have done better even with Biden as president. Voters don’t so much have a problem with the Democratic Party or their ideas, but it’s really a “Biden problem.”
Abortion offers strategic opportunities, but the point about Biden’s age still stands. If you already think he’s too old to be president, you probably will next year, too. Any Democratic candidate would score better than him, according to the poll. This is one of the most painful elements from the poll for Biden The New York Times.’
Has the electoral contest already been decided?
‘No absolutely not. So much can happen in a year. Take the war between Israel and Hamas, which is now a politically divisive issue in the United States. No one could have predicted that this would happen two months in advance. No one knows which forces will decide the pitch.
‘That battle has now led to a great division among the Democrats. We haven’t seen it here in a while. While Republicans have been openly at odds recently, Democrats seem to be forming a solid coalition. But now the progressive part of the Democratic Party believes Biden needs to rein in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This is still not possible with the moderate part of the party and with Biden. Progressive and young voters are at risk of deserting him, as are voters of Arab background. In a very close presidential election, those are votes he cannot afford to lose.’
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