Repercussions of U.S. midterms

Americans voted in the midterms elections, which are traditionally viewed as a crucial barometer for the man sitting in the White House, but also have implications for Washington’s policy both on the domestic and international front.

As the implications begin to sink in, there are several different frameworks that will play out. Whatever the case, these midterm elections will take into account the discord and growing polarization of a country sinking from division and a nervous breakdown as well as multiple foreign policy disasters.

The polls, prior to voters heading to the ballot boxes, suggested the Republicans will enjoy a night of success but Democrats have performed better than expected in some key races, defying what was broadly expected to be a Republican sweep.

These midterms will also see the extent to which former President Donald Trump can return to power as hundreds of candidates received his public endorsement. In essence, he has already put in place a loyal foundation of allies to promote a much-anticipated run for the presidency in 2024.

Trump’s candidates and fanbase are strong election deniers, arguing that the 2020 Presidential election was plagued by fraud and rigged in favor of Joe Biden, this is feared to set the stage for chaos in 2024.

Nevertheless, here are what the different scripts to these midterms could read out for the future of Washington’s domestic and foreign policies.

If the Democrats retain control of the Senate while the Republicans take the House of Representatives, despite the rare bipartisan position of both parties toward the Ukraine war, reports emerging from the U.S. suggest there is growing unease among the Republicans toward Kyiv. Those same Republicans who could potentially sit in the House have expressed opposition to the rising costs of assistance that is being sent to Ukraine.

According to several U.S. reports, the developments and the crisis in Eastern Europe do not top the agenda for the Trump-backed Republican Party candidates. This may spell less money and support for Kyiv.

With regard to other issues in West or East Asia, there is little expectation for positive changes from Wahington’s meddlesome policies toward Iran, Syria, Iraq, or China as the Biden administration has demonstrated the same approach of his predecessor when it comes to America’s hegemonic aspirations.

A Republican-controlled House will not be interested in climate change and is expected to make a green agenda far more complicated with Republicans able to lure their pro-coal and oil voters more effectively.

President Biden and his party may also face a string of investigations and may have a lot of answering to do from a Republican-controlled House.

This could include everything from the recent FBI raid on Trump’s Florida residence to the disastrous way the U.S. military fled Afghanistan following 20 years of occupation that brought nothing but chaos, insecurity, and increased terrorism to the country. The Biden administration’s southern border and COVID policies will be under scrutiny by the House as well.

In addition to that, angry Republicans are likely to launch an investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter, for alleged tax fraud. This is while the January 6, 2020 committee set up to probe the Capitol Hill insurrection may be dissolved.

Some Republicans argue that Biden’s liberal border policies constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors” something that is eligible for impeachment. Just like Trump was impeached, there is a chance that a Republican House will try and impeach President Biden.

While it is looking a little unlikely, but should the Republicans take both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Biden will turn into a lame-duck president. Issues such as Ukraine, China, Iran, and China as noted earlier would most certainly be implemented with more force and have more chance of playing out.

One of the key issues to consider in this scenario would be the continued U.S. backing and support for Ukraine. This would depend on how much power is handed to the Trump candidates who stand to the right of the Republican Party. The messages they have delivered on the campaign trail about American priorities will change Washington’s direction and have geopolitical implications.

The belief in Moscow is that not much will change and neither is Russia depending on the midterms to continue what it describes as a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Nor does the Kremlin expect Washington’s support for Kyiv to dip significantly anytime soon.

The Russian online news portal and TV station, Tsargrad, said the elections would ultimately lead to America’s undoing. “At a critical juncture in world history, this election could have a major impact on the geopolitical environment,” it wrote.

“It could also be the detonator of domestic centrifugal processes that could end the United States as we know it today,” it said, referring to the possibility of civil war due to political polarization and distrust of election outcomes.

“A Republican victory in the U.S. congressional elections will not lead to a revolution in U.S. foreign policy and an end to Washington’s support for Ukraine,” Alexei Pushkov, a Russian senator and foreign policy specialist, pointed out in a social media post.

“However, the Biden administration will find it more difficult to push financial aid programs to Kyiv through Congress, and the position of U.S. critics of unlimited aid to Ukraine will markedly strengthen.”

When it comes to climate change, the U.S. can essentially be written out of any international agenda to advance a greener planet.

Domestically, there will be obstructions and opposition to Biden’s foreign and domestic agenda with every bill the President tries to introduce. Such is the polarization of the country, even issues where there used to be a degree of bipartisan cooperation in Biden’s first two years, such as gun control following the Uvalde school massacre and matters related to infrastructure, will see Republicans block the Democrats’ every move.

Should the Democrats retain control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate; apart from the White House’s climate change pledges, there are very strong, clear indications of a renewed commitment to continue military aid to Ukraine and the same policy of attempts to contain the economic and military growth of countries such as China, Iran, and Russia. Essentially, it would be business as usual for the administration of President Biden.

Biden’s domestic agenda would move ahead. The extent to which policies could be realized depending on the strength of the Democrats’ Senate majority. If the party manages to expand its majority, it might be able to remove the filibuster. This is the mechanism that requires legislation to get 60 votes to pass and which has frustrated Biden’s attempts to push through legislation.

Going into the election the Democratic party of President Biden, controlled both chambers of Congress, but by very narrow margins. In the Senate, a 50-50 split meant a casting vote went to the vice president, Kamala Harris.

This does not take away the fears of political subversion and violence around these elections, with very much depending on how voters react to the outcome in the days, weeks, and months to come. A concern that has been expressed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Things could turn messy should the candidates that support the idea that the country’s political system is rigged with fraud not be selected for power.

In any case, Biden’s popularity is historically low while his age is historically high. An exit poll by NBC has found that most people think the President’s policies are hurting the country and its finances.

The results of the midterms may be disputed and the possibility remains that the U.S. political system will face fresh turmoil and further crisis in the coming years.

Tehran Times