Following the US midterm elections and the results which shocked both Pollsters and Voters alike, I got the opportunity to sit down with Daniel Drache, author of Has Populism Won? The war on Liberal Democracy, and talk about the future of US democracy.
Daniel Drache, a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at York University in Toronto, Canada discussed with me the results of the election and how that could have occurred, the major divide being felt within the Republican Party, and the potential implications this could have on the democracy of the country.
First, we analysed what the results reflected, with Drache declaring with absolute certainty that “the pollsters were so far off the mark in what they said”
The pollsters claimed that Biden was “an unpopular president, 40% approval rating. Here is inflation, the price of gas and food and that’s all Americans cared about”.
Evidently, that was not the case.
The pollsters “misnamed kitchen table issues”.
“It may have been true in the past that often kitchen table issues were always a preoccupation for the family and for people who are struggling to come to terms with global capitalism and economic crisis”, but with further discussion, it is clear that in 2022 other issues have risen to prominence, sweeping these ‘kitchen table issues’ out of the main spotlight.
“Abortion rights for women, a massive issue, and in the US, because it is such a balkanised system, it is very difficult to say what plays out in west Virginia or Georgia, or what plays out in California”
“For only 28% of women to say roe vs wade was a decisive factor in voting, there is something wrong with the media, because they have this binary idea that is either kitchen table or la-la land, and their underestimation of these issues, this kind of determinism that a lot of the media has, really misleads us”.
The discussion then inevitably led us to the Republican party and their underperformance according to what the polls were suggesting.
Instead of focusing on integrity and reliable candidates, the party “spent over $6 billion just to obtain one seat in the senate and 5 in the house”
“There were actually more election deniers and right-wing populist extremists in the Republican caucus than previously”.
Reflecting on the Senate win, Drache suggested that it might not be as monumental and important as suggested by others.
“Is it much of a majority with Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin as it is unclear whether these two moderate Democrats will back Joe Biden, as in the past 2 years they have blocked getting rid of the filibuster and voted against the Build back better program?”
But the question that remains at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and even left us questioning the endless possibilities, is the uncertainty of who will lead the Republican party to the 2024 election.
By now we all know that Donald Trump has announced his bid for the 2024 presidency, what lies ahead for his most likely competitor?
“If someone said 6 months ago that DeSantis could actively challenge trump, they would have said this is a wild idea, forget it”
“Because he won such a large majority, and increased his vote share by a lot, it doesn’t seem so far off the mark anymore”
“The media has normalised Desantis, he’s an extreme anti-vaxxer, he’s attacked schools, banned critical race theory and his not-so-veiled defence of white privilege, he’s on the far-right end, but he might be far cleverer than Trump”.
From this discussion, it’s clear to state that whilst the result was surprising and somewhat positive for the Democratic party, to say they don’t have many hurdles they will have to overcome is a complete lie.
The issues at the heart of American voters were not what we were led to believe throughout the entire campaign, and priorities other than the ‘kitchen table’ issues are important too.
Far-right-wing populists in the Republican party have claimed victory in this election, and how their primary elections will turn out is too soon to predict.
But did it have a positive impact on US Democracy?
Simple answer, no. “This is a complete falsehood to think that this was a triumph for liberal democracy across the board”.
Featured Image: CNN