The initial results of the US midterm elections came as a huge disappointment for the ranks of the Republican Party. The Republicans were almost certain of a success in the midterm elections, which would renew all 435 members of the House of Representatives, one-third of the 100 total members of the Senate, as well as some governors. They expected to win the majority by a 3–4 seat difference in the Senate and by 25–30 seats in the House of Representatives, and to be successful in the governorate and state department elections to be held in many states. None of this happened. The US media, which recently seems to be inclined to the right, also fueled these expectations.
However, although the final results are not yet clear, the candidates supported by former President Donald Trump did not achieve as much success as expected. This situation not only caused the political movement called Trumpism to take a shocking hit for the first time, but also showed that the far-right policies fueled by the Republican Party will come at a heavy price.
Trumpism took a hit
Many pro-Trump candidates who questioned the presidential election results did not succeed in the midterm elections. In Michigan, for example, all three Republican politicians running for the State Governor’s Office, the Department of State, and the Justice Department lost the midterm elections.
On the other hand, differences of opinion within the Republican Party also surfaced. For example, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, known as an anti-Trump politician, was re-elected by a large majority. It seems inevitable that this will have consequences for Trump in the leadership race within the Republican Party.
In addition, the midterm results will affect the outcome of the ongoing Congressional investigation into Trump and prominent members of the Republican Party regarding the Capitol attack that took place in the first week of last year. Indeed, it has already begun to be discussed that the Attorney General, Merrick Garland, may be able to make a more confident decision to pursue legal inquiries into some key Republican politicians involved in the events, particularly Trump, based on the latest report of the House committee of investigation.
Democrats have succeeded
The Democrats, on the other hand, achieved incredible success despite President Joe Biden’s approval rating hovering around 44 percent. The US voters did not punish the Biden administration for the economic turmoil. It was seen that the pro-abortion policy of the Democrats was correct and received full support, especially from young female voters. Young voters voted for the Democratic candidates at a three-to-one ratio. Pro-choice voters have achieved a series of stunning successes. For example, in states such as Kentucky and Kansas, known as Republican strongholds, pro-choice candidates were able to win elections. In this context, it is understood that Democrats will succeed in minimizing the seat gap in the House of Representatives and maintaining the majority in the Senate, by gaining significant support from independent electoral groups.
Perhaps it would not be correct to describe Biden as the winner of the midterm elections. Since the Democrats will most likely not be able to secure a majority in both houses of the Congress, Biden will have difficulty governing the country as he wishes. However, this success achieved in the midterms will enable him to spend the last two years of his administration period in confidence. In the meantime, it will also ensure that some Democratic politicians, such as Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom, who won against their Republican opponents, stand out as names that can be preferred in the party’s search for a leader. In fact, it looks like the White House is content with how the midterm elections turned out.
The role of Barack Obama
It is also worth noting the role played by former US President Barack Obama in the unexpected success of the Democrats. Indeed, Obama has made decisive contributions to the success of Democrats with his impressive speeches in key states during his election campaign. For example, the influence of Obama’s speeches on Dr. Mehmet Oz’s election loss in Pennsylvania cannot be overstated. It should be emphasised that the campaigns of anti-Turkey and anti-Trump groups and the campaigning over the health of Fetterman, who is recovering from a stroke, also played a role in Oz’s loss.
The US midterm elections, which were one of the most expensive in American history and had a turnout rate of around 50%, were critical in achieving many firsts. For example, first-time female governors were elected in Arkansas, Massachusetts, and New York. It was the first time an African-American won the Maryland State Governorship. For the first time, a young politician belonging to the Z generation was elected as a member of the House of Representatives. First time a Native American was elected as senator in Oklahoma. This is the first time in Massachusetts that an openly lesbian person has been elected governor.
‘Biden’s growing influence wouldn’t be surprising’
In brief, the elections took place peacefully and without any serious problems, the candidates who said that they would object to the results if they lost were not respected, the young voters’ voting for freedoms gave hope for the future of democracy in the country, and finally, extremist politicians lost ground to a large extent. If the Biden administration manages to consolidate these gains in the next two years and a dynamic candidate can be identified for the 2024 presidential elections, the Democrats’ probability of staying in power for another term time may be increased.
In any case, it wouldn’t be surprising if Biden’s influence over his allies at the global level grew. In particular, Trump’s departure and the possibility of someone like DeSantis appearing in his place will push his allies to get closer to Biden in his remaining term. However, in such a situation, populist leaders such as Viktor Orban and Giorgia Meloni would be expected to distance themselves from Biden. It would not be surprising if President Erdogan had a similar reaction.
Turkish-American relations after US midterm elections
The final results, that may come out in a few weeks, are not expected to dramatically change present state of affairs in Turkish-American relations. I don’t expect any significant change in Turkish-American relations if the new balance in Congress is formed with the Republicans narrowly gaining the upper hand in the House of Representatives and the Democrats gaining the majority in the Senate.
First of all, relations with Turkey are not a priority issue in the US Congress at the moment. In addition, it is known that both Democratic and Republican members of Congress generally have a negative attitude towards Turkey. I do not think that this situation will change in the Congress that will be formed after the elections. The current mistrust in Turkish-American relations can only be overcome if the parties make joint efforts in accordance with the spirit of the alliance relations between them. I don’t think the parties have the necessary political will for this presently.
To say a final word about the congressional midterm elections, neither Democrats nor Republicans won these elections, but the American democracy.
The American Midterms and a global revolt against the future