next november 8 USA has a decisive date with the polls. And, more than legislative elections where Democrats and Republicans play for control of both Houses of Congress the electoral contest will also measure the strength of both political formations ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.

with the shadow of Trump in the background threatening to return to the White House, Conservative candidates have tried to use their support strategically during the primary campaign ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections, though not all have been guaranteed success. The Midterms next month They will be the best thermometer to measure the political environment of a country that is more polarized than ever.

What is at stake in the legislative elections for Congress?

The Midterms are the mid-term legislative elections in which the entirety of the House of Representatives (435 members of Congress) and a third of the 100 seats in the Senate (33 senators). There are also 36 governors and municipal elections: mayors, local public officials and a wide variety of citizen initiatives. There will be, in total, 460 legislative contests at the federal level.

Even so, “this election is not so much of demonstrate political strength of each party at the national level, but a series of local elections that are going to dictate what happens in Washington for the next two years,” he explains. Raphael Bernal from The Hill in an interview for LA RAZÓN. “Despite the fact that there are really very few competitive contests, both parties are very close in terms of political power and it remains to be seen who maintains power in each House.”

For now, the Democrats have everything to win in the Senate, “about a 70 or 75% chance,” Bernal points out. And, on the contrary, Republicans “between 70 and 80 percent chance of having control of the House of Representatives. If that scenario happens, the most likely, we are going to see a series of attacks against the Biden Administration similar to what we saw with the Trump Administration,” he adds.

In addition, regardless of how each reinforced political formation comes out in the face of the next electoral contest, the 2024 presidential elections, if these forecasts are fulfilled, “the legislative agenda is going to stop dead and the budget negotiations are going to have the risk of closure of the Federal government for the next two years of Republican control of either House.”

What are the most decisive issues?

The experts are clear: “the main issue in these mid-term elections is the economy and inflation.” And, in that sense, one of the biggest concerns of the Biden Administration in this final stretch of the race is that, during this last month, the price of gasoline. Something that would damage the government electorally. Other rigorous current issues that keep the country divided, such as abortion, migration, weapons, crime, climate change or education, remain in the background for the voter when it comes to going to the polls.

“The main function of these secondary issues is to motivate people to go out and vote. Or discourage it, ”says Rafael Bernal. “The Republicans have an advantage there because all the polls indicate that the supporters of the former president Donald Trump are highly motivated to vote and they could go out to vote in numbers similar to 2018 or 2020″, he highlights.

Historically, from Ronald Reagan, the president’s party residing in the House Bank tends to lose control over one or both Houses, or tends to lose congressional seats. Although now things have changed. “The biggest factor against continuing the historical trend, aside from the divisive political environment, is that we just have a census.

In TexasFor example, a couple of House districts were added while California lost one. The new census outlines new electoral maps and “the reality is that we do not know the behavior of the districts that have changed substantially, so there may be many surprises and really the historical reference tells us less” at the moment.

Which states will be key in November?

Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona. On a second level: Florida. “And from there you lose a lot of competitiveness. It may be that we have a more or less competitive election in Colorado for the Senate. New Hampshire It could also give the surprise, but it is very unlikely. The districts that monopolize the attention are barely 25.

“These are elections with very serious consequences for governability for the next two years that depend on very few voters in the United States, because no matter how many Democratic voters go out to vote in California, or how many Republican voters do so in Texas or other southern states. The final decision of who is going to govern in this country is going to be made by the voters in those 25 different ones and in those 5 states”.

The war in Ukraine in an electoral key

Ukraine It has been an exception in the US political environment, especially when it comes to approving federal aid packages from the legislative headquarters. Rarely have Democrats and Republicans managed to reach consensus. “It’s curious because Ukraine has been one of the few issues with bipartisan support” on Capitol Hill, says Rafael Bernal, who regularly covers Congress.

“However, we are beginning to see that unanimous alliance cracking within Trump supporters. Some of his followers, even in the government, have given indications that they do not view Vladimir Putin, they somewhat buy into the idea that Ukraine provoked the Russian invasion. They are a minority, but an eventual Republican majority would be more open to seeing things from Putin’s point of view than the Democratic-controlled Congress is now.

Trump, leader of the Republican Party?

The Republicans they neither affirm nor deny that Trump is still the leader of his party. “It is almost impossible, given everything that has happened in the last two years, that Trump does not launch a presidential candidacy,” Bernal considers. “He’s going to use it as a box office moment, to get more attention, but no one watching is going to be surprised. Trump announced that he was running for re-election from January 6, 2021 ″.

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