Midterm election results expected to cripple Biden, turbocharge Trump for another White House bid

WASHINGTON: Americans trooped to polling stations on Tuesday for voting in midterm elections, with projected results expected to cripple Democrats and turbocharge a Donald Trump bid for a second White House term in 2024.
At the best of times, sitting Presidents fear midterm results given voters’ penchant for checking White House power by strengthening the opposition. Only thrice in modern American history (1934, 1998, and 2002) has the presidential party gained seats in Congress in midterm elections when the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate goes to the polls. Also at stake are the governorships in 36 states and a host of down-ballot offices.
Midterm elections are also seen as a referendum on the President. Pre-poll surveys indicate President Joe Biden, whose party is in control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, may not be able to pull off what Presidents Roosevelt, Clinton, and George Bush did.
The Democrats’ loss of its current five vote majority in the 435-member House is considered a certainly, with the most optimistic forecast projecting a 10-12 seat loss, and the most pessimistic projecting a 30-40 seat rout. Losing the Senate, currently tied at 50-50, is less of a certainty.
But the loss of one or both would seriously impair the Biden presidency in unprecedented ways in the two year run-up to the 2024 Presidential election.
Although such power split and political gridlock in Washington is not unusual, the pathology coursing through American politics has reached such toxic levels that many pundits believe democracy itself is in danger in America.
From generating scary talk about impending civil war to gloomy headlines about the fate of the world’s most powerful nation, the midterm poll has attracted unprecedented attention. More than 40 million people have already cast their ballot in early voting and already there is apprehension about delayed results in tight races whether the losers will accept the outcome — a turbulent precedent having been set in 2020.
President Biden has pitched the election as a fight not so much between Democrats and Republicans, but as a “battle for the soul of America” between moderates and extremists. But framing the election in existential terms appears to have made little impact on independent voters more concerned about the #1 kitchen table issue — inflation.
On his part former President Donald Trump has called on voters to deliver a red wave, amid feverish speculation that he will declare a fresh run for the White House after leading Republicans to a victory fuelled by his MAGA-base. At an election eve rally in Ohio, he stopped short of announcing a run, only saying “we will take back our magnificent White House” in 2024.
Illustrative of the depths to which US politics has sunk, Trump referred to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as an “animal” and “crazy” just days after her husband had his skull fractured by an intruder armed with a hammer.
Trump’s MAGA-base is suffused with ugly conspiracy theories about the attack, which has had little effect on the polls. Even mainstream Republicans have framed it in the context of growing violent crime and illegal immigration in the US given that the assailant came into the country illegally.

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