The last US election reflects the division, polarisation and corruption of US society
After the final vote count in the US, certain (but not conclusive) conclusions can be drawn about the immediate future of US public and political life, possible adjustments and changes in foreign policy, and the dynamics of further polarisation in society already on the eve of the presidential election in 2024.
It should be noted that the vote was not only about candidates for the US Congress. In Congress itself, there was a fight for 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate, and for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In addition, 36 of the 50 states were electing governors. And in 27 states there were still elections for secretaries of state.
Therefore, the Democrats and Republicans competed not only for the legislative body, but also for the executive power.
Important states such as Ohio, Louisiana, Kentucky and Florida in the Senate went to the Republicans. Democrats from serious wins went to California, Pennsylvania and New York. In the House of Representatives, the Republicans already have 211 seats, while the Democrats managed to get 192.
Despite the overall picture, initially the states of Arizona, Alaska, Nevada, and Georgia were in a slump. As of November 18, the counts showed a small Democratic lead in the Senate races in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia.[i]
In the midterm elections, as before, social media technology was used to campaign among voters. Pew Research Center data shows that more than 8,000 candidates represented in the election actively used Twitter for their propaganda. A total of 3.4 million tweets were made and approximately 14,000 messages were circulated every day in October. Race was mentioned most on Twitter, followed by the word abortion and education in third place. In other words, it was noticeable that the candidates and the electorate were mainly concerned with domestic issues. Next came the economy, foreign policy and crime respectively. Democrats as a percentage made more tweets (55%), while Republicans made only 33%.[ii]
It’s hard to say what impact Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter had. On the eve of the election, he urged his followers to vote for Republicans, but it can be assumed that given the Democrats’ lead on Twitter the day before, his opinion did not have the desired effect.[iii]
Although after the deal was implemented, there was a heated debate about how it would affect the company’s free speech policy.
If one makes a comparison with the 2018 election, it is noticeable that the Republicans went on the offensive, starting to win back lost ground and gaining sympathy from groups of people who were on the side of the Democrats.
When the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives after the 2018 elections, just over half of the voters were women and the party had a huge advantage among them. Although women made up a similar majority of voters in 2022, the Democrats’ lead seems to have diminished markedly. Also, in 2022, Republicans increased their support from the male electorate.
Early exit polls confirmed that Americans support abortion rights. Only just over a third of voters said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. But while Republicans in the House of Representatives won the support of almost all voters opposed to abortion rights, they also won the support of a quarter of voters who said it should be legal.
Young voters have traditionally supported the Democrats, and winning them by a huge margin helped the party in 2018. Republicans took advantage of that advantage this year. Democrats and Republicans got equal votes from older voters in 2018, but Republicans got majority support from them in 2022.
Republicans also won a majority of the white women’s vote, which is considered an important target group split by the two parties in 2018. Republicans also justified predictions that their results among Hispanic voters would be better than they were four years ago. Preliminary exit polls put Democratic support among Hispanic men at 63% in 2018 and down from 55% in 2022. Republicans appear to have reduced the Democratic advantage among Hispanic women, although Democrats still enjoyed the support of about two-thirds of them.
Most US voters lived in the suburbs in both 2018 and 2022. But while suburban voters were evenly split when Democrats took control of the House of Representatives four years ago, in 2022 they switched sides to Republicans. The already strong Republican lead among rural voters became even greater, and Republicans even took advantage of Democrats in urban areas.
With a Republican president in 2018, many Republicans claimed that the economy was in good shape. In 2022, under a Democratic president, Democrats are likely to find it better. Overall, more than two-thirds of all voters said the economy was excellent or good in 2018, but in 2022 that’s just a quarter of voters. Democrats sought support from moderates, while Republicans leaned on conservatives.
Back in 2018, 37% of voters said they were Democrats, compared with 33% who said they were Republicans and 30% who said they were independents. In 2022, Republicans had the advantage. When they gained control of the House of Representatives in 2018, the Democrats had the advantage among independent voters. In 2022 that actually wasn’t the case.
Both Democrats and Republicans improved among those who believed the parties would succeed. But Republicans gained the lead among voters who had no favourable opinion of either party. Democrats, on the other hand, lost their lead among voters who view both parties favorably.[iv]
In terms of religious identity, last time around 88% of members of Congress identified themselves as Christians, compared to no more than 65% in American society itself. Congress was more likely to be Protestant (55% vs. 43%) and more likely to be Catholic (30% vs. 20%) than the general U.S. adult population.
Ninety-six members of Congress (18%) identified themselves as Christians, without specifying denomination. The total number of Protestants in Congress has remained relatively stable of late: about 300.[v]
Members with a Jewish (Judaic) identity also accounted for a large proportion of the Congress, exceeding their representation in the general public (6% vs 2%). The shares of most other non-Christian groups (Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Unitarian Universalists) more closely matched their share of the general public.
In the current election, there has been a phenomenon of changing preferences among the Jewish electorate – while about 65% still voted for Democrats, statistics show that support for the Republican Party is steadily increasing, with 33% of respondents voting for the Reds, up from 30% in 2020 and 24% in 2016.
Sam Markstein, national director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said that the Republican candidates “offer concrete solutions to issues that are important to Jewish voters”. These issues include “reducing skyrocketing living costs, combating the rise in hate crimes, championing school choice, putting America first on the world stage again, supporting our allies in Israel and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jewish community in the fight against anti-Semitism,” Markstein told the Jerusalem Post. He noted the “record level of support in Florida with 45% of the Jewish vote”.
In New York, Jewish Republican candidate Lee Zeldin tried to beat incumbent Democratic governor Kathleen Hockhel, but failed. Zeldin received about 80% to 90% of the Hasidic neighbourhood vote in Brooklyn and an overwhelming percentage of the orthodox Jewish vote. But the progressive Jewish vote mostly went to Hawkhal.[vi]
The same can be said of the black population. On the eve of the US election, a Deutsche Welle report said that Wisconsin was a swing state that could change hands during the midterm elections. The city of Milwaukee has been a Democratic stronghold and black voters have been an important pillar of support. But this year, Democrats couldn’t count on the black vote because Republicans were gaining momentum and voter turnout was falling. Issues such as inequality, inflation and public safety fuelled frustration. Two black people commented on this situation in a report that aired:
– Sometimes it’s a hard sell because nothing changes for these people.
– Vote Republican. And elect something new. And give us a chance.[vii]
As you can see, there were many predictions and statistics that the Republicans would pull ahead. However, that did not happen. Although they took the majority in the House of Representatives, it seems that the numbers could have been much better.
Paul Craig Roberts, in his reaction to the election, noted that “there are many indications that a lot of things are wrong with the vote count. Polls show that Biden’s approval rate is only 36% and that the vast majority of Americans don’t want Biden to run for re-election in two years. So how does this preference align with Tuesday’s vote count?
Consider also public discontent: record crime, record inflation with high food and petrol prices, rising interest rates and falling housing costs, mass illegal immigration, forced ideological treatment of schoolchildren with transgender theory and critical racial theory, Biden’s Covid vaccination mandates which led to health injuries, deaths and destruction of careers, Biden’s quarantine over Covid which destroyed businesses, jobs, supply chains and raised prices, Biden’s “Russian” sanctions which disrupted energy supplies and raised prices on everything. Given all this discontent, how could Fetterman, who has suffered a stroke and has speech problems, and who wants to free criminals from prison, get a seat in the US Senate from Pennsylvania?
Finally, consider the Diebold voting machines that went out of business in New Jersey, Arizona and Texas, and the Gateway Pundit report that in Detroit, Michigan, ballots were delivered out the back door in the early hours of Wednesday morning, well after the legal deadline
Now ask yourself what is worse: a stolen US election or an American electorate so unconcerned that they have left in power a political party that leads us to war with Russia and China, that hates and persecutes white people, that has politicised the FBI and Department of Justice into a Gestapo serving democratic power, that fervently believes that parents treat children badly and should have no say in their education (brainwashed), this demonisation of normality and normalisation of perversity, this. .. I could go on and on. The voters had a chance to express their dissent, but according to the results of the vote, they did not. If the vote count was fair, the conclusion is that we should write off the American people as creatures too stupid to survive as a free people. That’s why I prefer to believe that the election was stolen again.”[viii]
Of course, electoral fraud in the US is nothing new. In general, as elections over the past decade have shown, the electoral system itself is rather flawed and has a number of vulnerabilities. But if in 2020. Donald Trump broke the general rule about contesting the vote, which led to his supporters taking over the Capitol and opening many criminal cases, this time no one seems willing to take drastic measures. The most high-profile cases where there are doubts about the authenticity of the election results are likely to be challenged in the courts.
Apart from this problem, the election has demonstrated a lack of unity among the Republicans, which may make it difficult for them to work in Congress and consolidate their efforts with the executive authorities on the ground controlled by their partisans.
The clearest manifestation of such internal bickering is former President Donald Trump’s rather harsh statement to the governor of Florida. Ron Desantis won the governor’s election by a convincing margin, but Trump not only characterized him as “average Republican”, but actually insulted him (calling him Ron Desantimonious) and labeled him a puppet that establishment conservatives use against him and the entire Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement. In doing so, the former president attributed his victory to the fact that he was the one who supported him in the 2018 midterm primaries, arguing that the governor would have failed politically without his support.[ix]
This points to the possibility of further public polarisation and party fragmentation (Democrats also have different factions and differing views on a number of issues). Since Joe Biden has confirmed his intention to run for election in 2024, it is now up to the Republicans to respond. Although there is still plenty of time for the Democrats to choose another figure and recognise it as a unified leader in the party caucuses.