Within a day of the midterm elections, the following story was born among mainstream political analysts. Given that some Republican candidates endorsed by Donald Trump faltered and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis scored a strong reelection victory, Republican insiders will be leading the way. For DeSantis to be nominated as his GOP’s presidential candidate in 2024.
But the top political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, presented a different picture in an interview yesterday. Since Trump first ran for president in 2015, Republican leaders have repeatedly failed to sabotage Trump. And because of his belligerent nature, he certainly, or almost certainly, won’t go quietly.
More likely, Trump, DeSantis, and perhaps others will escalate their campaigns to gain control of the Republican radical base and party ahead of the next election, scholars say. rice field. And political turmoil is likely to shake the entire American political culture.
Charlotte Hill, director of the New Democracy Policy Initiative, said: “Trump has fallen out of the spotlight simply because some of the candidates he endorsed did not perform as well as expected in the midterm elections. I am skeptical of the idea that the moment of exposure has passed or faded.” at the Goldman School of Public Policy in Berkeley.
Hill added that “Trump positions himself as an influential authoritarian,” adding, “So much can be said about his viability as a political leader, from the performance of his preferred candidates.” Drawing conclusions can be difficult. It is very likely that right-wing voters will dislike Trump supporters, but they will continue to support him as party leader.”
Former Goldman School Dean Henry Brady added: weak is a big problem. ”
The midterm elections weren’t a complete disaster for the former president.a new york times More than 200 candidates for state and national offices won the 2020 election after accepting Trump’s allegations that the election was stolen from him or questioned the results, according to a survey. The most dramatic win was his JD Vance, a writer allied with top conservative billionaires and endorsed by Trump, who won an Ohio seat in the U.S. Senate.
But in key battleground states like Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona, Trump’s high-profile right-wing US candidates have either lost, been threatened with defeat, or been forced to runoff votes. A Berkeley political scientist said it looks increasingly likely that Democrats will retain narrow control of the U.S. Senate. The outcome of the House election is still uncertain, but it looks like Republicans could take control of the House by a narrow margin over Democrats.
Challenges, turmoil and threats across the political landscape
With the consequences still unresolved, scholars see threats and instability across the political landscape. Part of it is the usual uncertainty that comes after an election.
Democrats, for example, are generally happy with the results of the midterm elections, but face deep internal conflicts over their ties to the white working class and rural voters. Many within the party question whether President Joe Biden, now nearly 80, is too old for his second term.
But other challenges are an anomaly, linked to the country’s polarization and a powerful anti-democratic movement rooted in the Republican Party.
Mr Trump faces an investigation that could lead to criminal charges and could lead to a ferocious counterattack.
Far-right Arizona governor and pro-Trump candidate Kari Lake trails Democrat Katie Hobbs by a narrow margin with tens of thousands of votes yet to be counted. Already, Lake has suggested that her election was rigged against her, and she appears poised to challenge the results.
Even if the Republicans win a landslide victory in the U.S. House of Representatives, they will still have a narrow majority. Dozens of new members have denied his 2020 election, and at least one of them is linked to his January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol. Some Republican leaders have promised various investigations into Biden and other Democrats, which will bring more chaos and division to the government.
Can the Republican Party move further to the right?
Berkeley scholars saw little sign that Republicans were ready to moderate politics. Infighting, in fact, could strengthen the hard right wing of the party, or even push the party and its foundations further to the right, they said.
Even before the election, DeSantis was widely seen as a potential Trump challenger. The question was whether to risk campaigning against the still-popular former president. But after this week’s big re-election in Florida, DeSantis’ calculations may have changed.
At the victory celebration, his supporters chanted “Two more years!” This shows that we are ready to welcome Trump in 2024. Interest in DeSantis may be growing among party leaders and donors, said Eric Schickler, co-director of the Berkeley Government Research Institute.
“Republicans have long been looking for a way to get over Trump, or over Trump,” Schickler said. have been plagued by
Sickler said Tuesday’s Republican setback made DeSantis more likely to run, and said he would find support among some party leaders who consider him “less volatile” than Trump.
However, rather than softening the momentum of the party’s shift to the right, it has the potential to reinforce it.
Scholars say Trump and DeSantis have a lot in common. Both are far right. Both are fighters who are not afraid to attack. And that begs the question: How far will they go to win the hearts of radicalized bases?
Their scramble may result in a tumultuous and divisive election campaign, but in Schickler’s view, it’s not uncommon in American politics. And think of US Senator Bernie Sanders.
“It can be very different from someone like Trump,” he explained.
Academics have seen very few scenarios for Trump to resign — unless he is indicted and his opponents offer him a pardon, according to Schickler.
power in the base
Ultimately, it gives the base tremendous power in setting the direction of the Republican Party for the next two years. And the foundation still looks solid on Trump.
An August poll showed Republican voters viewed Trump more favorably than DeSantis, Hill said. People thought Trump could win the presidency.
A new poll taken just before the election showed Trump’s numbers declining and DeSantis’s rising.
“I don’t think the Republican party’s poor performance in the midterms is a good sign that the base is moving away from Trump,” Hill said.
In Brady’s view, the key question is whether voters and others within the base are ready for change.
“After the midterm elections, Congressmen would go back to their districts and people would say, ‘Let’s stop talking about 2020. It’s about Donald Trump. Let’s start talking.
Is there anything that can hold the nation together?
Looking at post-election figures, Hill and Brady viewed the midterm elections as confirmation of the Democratic Party’s strategy to focus on the health of American democracy. But with the results so close and the country still divided, neither scholar is too optimistic about the coming months.
“The reality is that our political system is designed to work when there is considerable overlap in people’s values and priorities and in the identities of people from both major political parties,” Hill said. But when political parties diverge on all these aspects, politicians can articulate their differences with the opposition, which only exacerbates those divisions.
“And now we have political parties being hijacked by people who deny the election results and reject democracy itself. …I think it will continue to get worse.”
Brady’s outlook isn’t all that bright. Polarization is deeply ingrained across cultures, he said, and there is no clear way to rebuild the trust that binds democratic societies together.
Still, he said the intermediate results might buy him some time.
“Before the election, Brady said, ‘I was afraid this was the start of a fire and that 2024 would be hell. I don’t think it will accelerate right now, but it will continue.”