Editorial: US poll results diminish Trump

In the outgoing Congress, the Democrats had a clear majority in the House of Representatives and a wafer-thin majority in the Senate. Both were feared to be in jeopardy in this election.

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, November 10, 2022, 10:10 AM IST
article-image
Joe Biden (L) and Donald Trump (R) |

The midterm US election this time around holds much greater interest for the world than at any time in recent memory. It is mainly because of the on-going Russian war against Ukraine. What course the war will take may depend on the political complexion of the US Congress.

In the outgoing Congress, the Democrats had a clear majority in the House of Representatives and a wafer-thin majority in the Senate. Both were feared to be in jeopardy in this election. But the early results available at the time of writing dispel fears of a Republican win. They may yet be on course to take back the House, but it is unlikely that the issue in the Senate will be settled decisively in their favour. Indeed, one of the key Senate races whose results were keenly watched was in Pennsylvania; it has gone over to the Democrats.

On three other key Senate seats, counting was in progress and the races were too close to call.In other words,the Democrats are not doing as badly as was feared while the Republicans have not done as wellas they had expected. Traditionally,the mid-termpolls tend to go against the party of the incumbent President. A number of domestic factors had further buoyed the Republican mood. They expected to exploit the high consumer inflation, record increase in bank lending rate which raises monthly EMIs on houses, automobiles,etc. And,above all,there was the listless leadership of the ageing President Joe Biden.

Normally,the mid-term elections aresupposed to be are ferendum on the performance of the President. No other President in recent memory has had such low popularity ratings as Mr Biden. Yet, in spite of the adverse factors, the Democrats do not seem to be doing too badly. Since the voiding of women’s abortion rights by the Supreme Court of the United States, women seem to have voted in larger numbers for the Democrats. Mr Biden’s campaign theme that ‘democracy is on the ballot', too, seems to have found resonance.

Not only did former President Donald Trump not accept his defeat in 2020, he insists to this day that “victory was stolen from him”.Surprisingly,a large number of Republicans echo that canard which basically questions the integrity of the country’s electoral system. Mr Trump, who had virtually established a stranglehold over the Republican Party, will have reason to rethink his plan to make a bid for the White House in 2024. If his party fails to make big gains, many of his followers might desert him.That may come as a relief to the traditionalparty bosses who were all strong-armed byTrump to cede control.

A diminished Mr Trump will help to restore inner democracy in the GOP, neutralizing the lunatic fringe. That in itself will be good for America—and a good augury for a world weary of instability and chaos. As the leader of the most powerful nation,and the leader of the democratic Western alliance,the US President virtually sets the global agenda. After the chaos of Mr Trump’s four-year interregnum, Mr Biden has helped restore ordering lobal affairs. A victory for the Republicans would have resulted in an abrupt disruption.

President Biden’s Ukraine policy, whereby the US led other Western nations in providing arms,ammunitions and other arsenal to the embattled nation to defend itself against Vladimir Putin’s aggression, is likely to continue uninterrupted. Ukraine can heave a sigh of relief. Most sensibly, Mr Biden has encouraged Ukraine to search for an honorable cease-fire with Russia. Given Mr Trump’s known softness for the Russian autocrat,amarkedly good showing by his partywould have encouraged Mr Putin to persist with his horrible war against a sovereign nation.

Now,that threat has passed. Ukraine cannot be made to surrender meekly.The Western alliance remains solidly behind it. On its part,India has no reason to change its merit-based stance on the Ukraine war.It has abstained from condemning Russia in explicit terms while pointedly counselling Mr Putin to end the war and respect a sovereign nation’s territorial integrity.Yes, despite Western sanctions,it has stepped up its imports of crude oil from Russia.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

G20 to benefit humanity as a whole

G20 to benefit humanity as a whole

Editorial: Middle path needed for judicial appointments

Editorial: Middle path needed for judicial appointments

Need to end ‘missed opportunities’ in AIDS battle

Need to end ‘missed opportunities’ in AIDS battle

Self-restraint needed in reporting criminal investigations

Self-restraint needed in reporting criminal investigations

Editorial: Keep film festivals above reproach

Editorial: Keep film festivals above reproach