Monday, November 14, 2022


By Lily Hikam*)

The US midterm elections has just finished. When I used to live in the States, it seemed just ike any other Tuesday, since many people would be too lazy to vote in a midterm election. But this year, you wouldn’t feel that if you were to read or watch the news. The news would have you believe that this midterm elections is more than just an election, rather the final stand to “protect America’s democracy”. But, how accurate is such an assertion? What follows is my two cents.

Let's start from the incumbent's views. The Democrats as the current party in control of both the Executive and Legislative branch, chose to focus on abortion rights, gun control and safe guarding democracy as their rallying cry and main issues to get voters to turn up at the voting booth. Yet as important and crucial as these issues are, these are not universal issues that have the broadest appeal to all Americans. Rather these issues the Democrats chose to run on seemed to have the most appeal to the college-educated socially liberal voters who were already inclined to vote for the Democrats anyway.

But to the majority of Americans, including those 26 million Americans who have to work two or more full-time jobs just to make ends meet, these issues are not enough to get them to take time off from work or fill out an absentee ballot since nowhere in those 3 issues did the Democrats address their economic concerns or the material conditions of their lives.

In the United States, where the federal minimum wage is still a measly $7.25 (an amount that hasn’t changed since 2009) and inflation as well as economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the American working class hard, it’s only logical to assume that the number one issue for most Americans would be the economy and the inflation. Yet, somehow this big thorn in the majority of Americans’ side isn’t being addressed by either parties.

So it comes as no surprise that the House of Representative is poised to being taken over by the Republicans. The Democrats, however, as of now still managed to hold on to their narrow control of the Senate with the final outcome to be decided by a runoff election in Georgia. Democratic voters and acolytes may breathe a sigh of relief now that their gambit of protecting America’s democracy seemed enough to dampen the red wave that was predicted to happen. But the real test comes after the elections. Will the Democrats be able to keep their promise of codifying Roe v Wade, the constitutional right to abortion in the US which they have promised voters they would do since Obama’s administration in 2008, strengthening gun control or safe-guarding democracy? Or will they roll over on all their legislative agenda using the Republicans as an excuse as to why they can’t pass anything?

Only time will tell, I guess. The Midterm Elections last Tuesday can be interpreted in many ways, perhaps. It can be seen as the Democrats’ victory from their Senate races win, but it can also be seen as the Republicans’ win since the Speakership of the House is predicted to move to Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). But like the proverbial "seeing the unseen", I would say that the true winner of the Midterm Elections is Corporate America, the undefeated champion of all US elections.

*) Post Doctoral Fellow at University of Leiden, the Netherlands




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