To say that the new year began badly for Trump and the Republicans is to say nothing. At the very beginning, there was a scandal related to the president’s call to the Secretary of the State of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, in which the American leader allegedly tried to put pressure on the official to cancel Biden’s victory in the state. But the scandal is still a flower. The real problem for the Republicans was the defeat in both Senate races. It seemed incredible two months ago.

As I watch the elections, I almost invariably notice the same tendency: the winner is the one whose supporters feel the most enthusiasm. The layouts and traditional sympathies are not so important – if the elections are fair, in most cases the one who can win his audience will win.

This is exactly how Donald Trump won 4 years ago. Then a bright new populist was able to make people who ignored elections for decades believe in themselves. Trump challenged the status quo, the “Washington Swamp”, and people believed it. Trump’s victory has become a dream. What could Hillary Clinton, who has artificially created an image of a fighter against patriarchal stereotypes, oppose him? What should the current secretary of state fight against? What to inspire people to fight against? Hillary Clinton generally lived in the White House, when her supporters were still walking under the table.

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4 years later, Trump has not passed its expiration date – even despite the defeat, the president remains a popular politician. Many Republicans took the Trump Train to Congress. It was this fact that did not make it possible to consider the 2020 elections as a clear victory for the Democrats – what kind of victory is it when you lost a dozen seats in Congress and did not knock out the Republicans from the Senate?

However, it turned out to be not so obvious with the Senate: already in January in Georgia, the Democrats sensationally won both Senate races and were equal in the number of seats to the Republicans. In such a situation, the decisive vote goes to the vice-president – Democratic woman Kamala Harris.

The word “sensational” is applicable more from historical experience than from the current situation. Liberals have not won the Senate race in Georgia for two decades – and even before in the “Peach State”, only conservative “Southern” Democrats could win. Now the liberals have won two victories at once, despite the fact that traditionally the party of the elected president is doing badly in the by-elections.

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In this situation, the very factor of enthusiasm played in favor of the Democratic Party. They felt that there was an opportunity to do something incredible – to “turn over” conservative Georgia and give Biden the opportunity to rule without looking back at the opposition Senate.

At the same time, the Republican Party could not even speak of any enthusiasm – some believed that the elections were rigged, moreover, directly in the same state. Others were convinced of the opposite, and for them Trump’s demands looked like an outright hysteria. The half-hearted position of Senators Purdue and Leffler themselves also did not add to them the sympathy from either side.

Against this background, the Democrats managed to make the impossible possible. They won both races by a narrow margin and gained control of the entire power vertical.

What are the consequences of this? In fact, it is very difficult to say in advance. Some Democrats are malevolently promising to pass laws that will never again allow Republicans to come to power, such as the carpet-giving of citizenship or the abolition of the electoral system.

Of course, the Democrats would like to carry out all these reforms, but they still have several obstacles along the way. First, the US Supreme Court has not gone anywhere, which can declare illegal and stop any Biden’s initiative. There are still 5 out of 9 seats held by the Conservatives, and the balance of power is unlikely to change in the near future.

Secondly, it is not entirely correct to perceive the Senate as a single organism. The opposition party usually votes as a single bloc, but there are splits in the ruling party. Previously, it was a headache for Trump, whose decisions ran into opposition from moderate Republicans, but now Biden will have to face a similar problem – after all, the protest of any of the 50 Senators of the Democratic Party will bury a long and painstaking legislative work.

And here a character enters the scene, whose name is unknown to the general public. This is Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia. He is the only surviving Southern Democrat in the upper house of Congress. Last year, Joe Manchin voted more for Trump’s initiatives than against him. In addition to Manchin, there are still some politicians who can change their minds, but this particular senator will be the yardstick of adequacy in American life in the next two years.

Manchin himself has already announced that he will vote categorically against “crazy things”, unequivocally hinting at the idea of ​​disarming the police and expanding the Supreme Court so that it does not interfere with the implementation of the progressive agenda. What other things Manchin considers “crazy” – only he knows. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the most daring projects of the Democrats will have to be put aside – at least for a while.

If we talk about US-Russian relations, then the current balance change is unlikely to affect them. The issue of sanctions against Russia has long ceased to be controversial. Both Republicans and Democrats support the pressure policy. The state of affairs in the Nord Stream and the general relationship with Russia is unlikely to be influenced by at least some elections, at least in the coming years.

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Dmitri Agafonov
A political analyst who keeps a close eye on Russian and international relations. Studied Economics at Leningrad State University, St. Petersberg in Russia. A contributor to The Eastern Herald from Russia.