More than two days after the polls closed for the United States midterms, two Senate races and over two-dozen House races are yet to be called.
However, a Republican-led House of Representatives is now an inevitable reality, given their performance in the toss-up seats. In the Senate, the Democrats will find their political salvation.
As per the pollsters, the Republicans haven’t done as well as they would have wanted to. Many predicted a sweep in both Houses of Congress for the Republicans, but that now looks like a far-fetched possibility.
For Trump, the midterms were his launchpad for 2024. Not that simple anymore. A new challenger has emerged in Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida.
Trump, who backed DeSantis’ within the Republican party, was now downplaying his biggest competitor for the Republican primaries ahead of 2024, stating that he would meet the same fate as Jeb Bush, and that ‘Ron DenSanctimonious’ was playing games.
According to a survey reported in the Financial Times, DeSantis has been gradually rising amongst the Republican ranks.
Amongst the voters of the Republican party, his popularity has increased from 8 per cent (of the total surveyed Republican voters) in March 2021 to over 25 per cent in November 2022.
DeSantis’ victory in the midterms also strengthens his case. While in 2018, he defeated his rival by less than 35,000 votes, the margin has now increased to over a million in 2022, with close to 60 per cent of the vote share. However, his hold within the rural, less-educated voters remains weaker than that of his counterpart.
Trump, on the other hand, is not losing ground either.
While his popularity among Republican voters was at an all-time low after the violence in the US Capitol at 40 per cent in January 2021, close to 50 per cent of those surveyed still back him for the race in 2024. Trump is not losing, but he’s not winning a landslide either. Courtesy DeSantis.
One aspect is favouring Trump though. He endorsed over 200 candidates for the races to the House, Senate, and for governor positions.
Of the 211 reported seats, 165 seats have already reported a victory for the Republicans. The party has also retained all Republican-leaning Senate seats and equalled Democrats on the toss-up seats.
Finally, what does a Republican-led lower house amounts for the regime of President Joe Biden?
For starters, companies are anticipating investigations by the Republicans on environmental and social governance, and why responding to the investors’ interests has taken a backseat. Congressional hearings could also shift focus back to Big Tech companies.
However, what the markets and businesses, especially those trading with China, would want to know is if Trump is making a public bid for the White House in 2024, for that would usher in a new set of permutations.
For Republicans, it would be all about DeSantis and if he is able to displace Trump, and for Trump, it will be about coming out of the political woodwork.
The house of Uncle Sam remains as divided as ever.
Tushar is a senior-sub-editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @Tushar15_
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