Author and analyst, Iveta Cherneva, gave her opinion on the 2022 US Midterm Elections, exclusively for Novinite.com
For our readers, who may not know, can you explain what happens during US midterm elections and why are they important?
The midterms are largely a check on the party currently holding the power centers in the US government – the Presidency, the Senate, the House and the state-level leadership such as Governors.
If a rule exists in US politics, that is the trend that the opposition carries the midterms. In this case, the Democrats held the Presidency, the House and the Senate for two years, and that's why now the House and the Senate are about to flip and turn red, controlled by the Republicans.
Such a shift is important because in the US political system, the President badly needs the support and acquiescence of the House and Senate to be able to accomplish anything. For the past two years, US President Joe Biden was able to pass legislation supported by the House and the Senate. All that is about to change now.
What are the contested states and what is the Republicans' chance of taking the Senate?
The Republicans will take control of the Senate by a tight margin. The Republicans need to flip just one state to gain control over the Senate which right now is a tie between Republicans and Democrats.
The race for the Senate seat in Georgia is going to be very tight. That's why you see most of the money being spent on Georgia. Democratic incumbent, Senator Raphael Warnock, has already spent over USD 60mln, making him the biggest campaign spender in the midterms.
Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which were both carried by Democratic President Biden in 2020, are also facing a very tight race.
Nevada is also a toss-up state, with the first Latino Senator Democratic candidate trying to hold on to her seat. Arizona will also be a one to watch.
What do you think are the most important issues the midterms could affect?
The economy, inflation and gas prices are the most important lines according to which the Republicans will win the House and the Senate. This is where many Americans see Biden as failing.
Abortion is overrated as a make-it-or-break-it issue; it won't tip the scales sufficiently to give Democrats the boost they need to cross over the finish line.
How are these elections going to affect the current geopolitical issues that the US is facing?
In my view, the main foreign policy issue to be influenced by the midterms is the war in Ukraine. This is where a renewed Republican control will make a difference. Funding for Ukraine might be slashed if the Republicans take hold of the House and Senate. Right now, European politicians worry about what would happen to the Ukraine funding if the Republicans win the midterms.
Last week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that a Republican-controlled House wouldn't continue to issue "blank check" funding for Ukraine. That brought worries in both Kyiv and European capitals. If the Republicans win, Ukraine can't continue to count on the US the same way. So far, Ukraine has received USD 93bln in military and humanitarian aid, most of which coming from the US government. The US government has promised over USD 60bln for Ukraine. The scale of the funding will likely change, as Republicans take charge of the House.
Traditional Republicans' national security concerns are with the economic recession and border safety. Republicans won't continue writing "a blank check", as McCarthy said. The US won't have a lot to spend on Ukraine in comparison to funding to secure the border, for example – an issue which will receive a priority treatment once the Republicans win. Republican Senator Rand Paul has called for creating a Director General to oversee where the money for Ukraine goes, while some Republicans running for Senate as Trump candidates have openly stated that they don't care about funding and supporting Ukraine in the war against Russia. The tension is along traditional Republicans and Trump's Republicans lines. Trumps' candidate will pressure for cutting funding to Ukraine and for peace talks with President Putin, and Trump's candidates are the ones who will prevail in the midterms.
What roles will Donald Trump and Joe Biden play in these elections?
At the moment, former president Donald Trump has the upper hand in shifting the scales one way or the other. The Trump effect refers to the fact that whoever Trump chooses - wins. That was the case in the primaries, when the Republicans chose in advance who the candidates facing the Democrats will be. That is also the case then in the races against the Democrats. Former President Trump picks the winner. This is my impression. President Biden doesn't have that effect in elections.
Recently, Trump and company registered the super PAC (Political Action Committee) called Make America Great Again (MAGA), which is Donald Trump's motto. Former President Trump is waiting for the midterms to pass in order to announce his bid for the Presidency in 2024. Trump is still powerful enough to pick his winning horses.
What is your prediction for these midterm elections?
The Republicans, especially the Trump candidates, will win taking control of the House and the Senate in a red landslide. That will turn the tables around. The Republicans will redesign many of the political processes. The January 6 Commission, for example, will disappear. Many things will change. We will witness Trump's return.
More from Iveta Cherneva:
The US Midterms are a Referendum on Trump
The US Midterms: Republican Control means more Focus on Eastern Europe
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