A Respite for American Democracy?

They turn on former President Donald Trump for his paltry results, which highlight the figure of a rising star in the Republican Party, Ron DeSantis

Against all forecasts, polls and bets that predicted a landslide victory for the so-called GOP (Grand Old Party), the reality is that, for now, experts’ results, projections and analyses and the commentocracy of liberal and conservative media agree that the red tide that was expected for this past Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections did not arrive.

Even in pro-Donald Trump media, such as Fox News, there is talk of turning on the former president for his paltry results and highlighting the figure of a rising star in the Republican Party, Ron DeSantis. DeSantis was re-elected as governor of Florida, along with Marco Rubio who returns as a senator for the same party, giving conservatives the biggest win of the night and putting DeSantis in the presidential race.

The group of gubernatorial candidates that New York businessman Trump had chosen to be his cortege, to shape the electoral system to his benefit in his race to 2024, also did not produce good results, which indicates that Trump’s strength runs deep in his most loyal bases, but is not generally persuasive.

Regarding the battle for control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, everything indicates that the Democrats will retain the first and be left without the second – though this is taking into account the results and the projections at the time I write this column.

What conclusions and lessons can we draw from these elections, which, like no other in the history of our neighbor, have aroused so much interest inside and outside the United States?

It seems to me, the most important of all is that people went to the polls to exercise their rights and that, although there have been few surprises, the electorate is not as naive and malleable as politicians and opinion leaders believe. Citizens felt strongly about issues such as abortion or the legalization of marijuana.

There is no doubt that Joe Biden’s midterm course will have more than one obstacle; the Republicans will do everything possible to maintain the legislative paralysis that dynamites the Democratic agenda. Growing social polarization is more than evident, but it is true that extremist positions are losing strength.

Perhaps the good news is that Trump and his triumphalist discourse emerge weakened from this election. We will have to see the final results and the position of the Republican Party leaders towards 2024: either Trump or DeSantis. And Democrats can take a breath and celebrate that the Republican campaign narrative, whose slogan was to defend democracy, institutions and civil rights, did not resonate with the electorate.

However, the terrain remains swampy and the country’s democratic life in abeyance. The Democratic Party will have to build its strategy for 2024 very carefully and assertively, because not only is its permanence in the White House at stake, but also the fate of the country’s democracy and institutions.

We live in a time of deep political instability, of constant threats to liberal democracy which have always been there, and the worst thing that can happen to us is that our main trading partner falls into the clutches of authoritarianism. This is not an exaggeration, it is a latent reality. And it’s not that I declare myself a Democrat, but it’s clear that Republicans have fallen into the traps of hate speech and divisive figures like Trump, and have lost their institutional and democratic vocation.

We will have to see if the results of these midterms will serve to calm the waters, or if they will further stir the authoritarian and intolerant impulses of the American hard right wing. Let’s hope it’s the former.

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