Somalilandsun: Last Sunday the American president Donald Trump held his first mass rally since the November 3 election. He gathered a large crowd of onlookers in Georgia, ahead of the run-off that will decide the balance of power in the US senate
The election in Georgia was even, not only in the race for the presidency but also in the senatorial election. Georgia has an electoral system in which a candidate for the Senate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to be elected. A limit that was not reached by any candidate in the November 3 election. This means that a runoff will be held, a race that will ultimately determine the power balance in the US senate.
At least one of two senators seats
The Republicans must win at least one of the two seats in order to retain the majority in the Senate. Should the Democrat candidates win both races, the situation will be 50-50 in the Senate. In that case, Democrat Kamala Harris will have the casting vote in her role as the future vice president. Donald Trump traveled to Georgia to persuade residents to vote for the Republican candidates in the Senate election, but his speech was more that of a presidential candidate than that of a president out to support senators in need of presidential support ahead of an election. “I want to remain president,” Trump said, two minutes into the speech. Donald Trump is entrenched in a legal battle in order to overturn the results in a number of states, among those Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Voter fraud and polarisation
The fight has so far not been successful and many has seen the litigation as an uphill battle and a possible preparation for a run in 2024. The idea he is trying to sell is that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election, a claim that divides the American society. According to a resent YouGov poll, as many as 81 percent of registered Republicans believe there was voter fraud at a level where it could influence the outcome of the election. This, compared to only 3 percent of democrats. In total 40 percent of Americans believe in the idea of voter fraud at a lever where it could influence the outcome of the election.
This divide in the American society is driven partially by a shift towards the extremes in US politics. The Democratic party is moving to more and more towards the right and the Republican party under Trump is moving in the direction of Nationalism and protectionism, two isms´s that ten years ago wasn’t associated with the republican party. Protectionism is traditionally something associated with democratic governments.
The battle for the senate will determine the presidency
The January 5 re-election in Georgia is between Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and the challengers from the Democrats, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The state has not elected a Democrat senator in the past 20 years. Despite this, the November 3 election was close and before the run-off the Democrat candidates are in the lead. Republican strategists are currently worried that Trumps involvement might hurt the chances of their candidates and the party is now frantically raising money for the campaigns.
Interesting to note is the fact that Trump for a large part of the voter base is hugely attractive and enjoys a solid support. The republican party is at the moment divided between traditional Republicans and Trump and his supporters. During his presidency few in the Republican party dared to cross the president but as the election neared more and more felt a need to distance them self from him and his policies. After the election this has continued and the fear of many is that Trump might scare off undecided voters despite his huge popularity amongst core republicans. If the Republicans can manage to keep one or both seats in the senate, they can prevent Joe Biden and his future administration from carrying out much of their politics, something that would be a huge win for the Republican party.
The future for Trump and US politics
Paradoxically a win might cement the influence of Trump and Trumpism for the years to come, something that scares many republicans. The idea of Trump as a candidate in 2024 is not a far fetched one and most analysts view him as a probable front runner. The future of American politics is probably determined by the power struggle in the two major political parties. In the democratic party the fight is between traditional liberals and those who stands for more progressive ideals such as Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist. In the Republican party the fight is between traditional conservatives and those who believes in the ideas of Trumpism.
A first indicator of the future might be the run-off in January, an event that might not just affect the relative strength of each party, but also have an effect of the on-going struggle within each party. The same as a win might strengthen Trump, a loss for the Democrats might strengthen the progressive side of the party, this as many especially young members wants the party to develop in a more progressive direction.
By Henrik G.S. Arvidsson and Ruslana Arvidsson