US Midterms: Telltale signs of a cold civil war

18 November, 2018 12:00 AM printer

US Midterms: Telltale signs of a cold civil war

The yearlong discussed US midterm elections are over and the results of this election show a clear but a confusing trait about where the politics of the US is moving towards. The liberal media are portraying this victory as a “Democalypse” while Trump and the conservatives are still saying that there hasn’t been any significant change despite losing in the “House of Representatives.” Although Trump’s fallout with the press implies that he is not at all comfortable with the current scenario in place. This election has revealed some interesting trends and solidifies the claim that there is a deep divide in the US society. This election has shed light on newer dividing lines which were not previously discovered.

The recently concluded elections saw the GOP retaining the “Senate” while the Democrats clinching the House and some key governorships. There has been a huge turnout of voters and almost 110 million voters voted in this election. The Democrats won the popular vote by more than 5 million votes. Democrats have been winning popular vote for a quite a long time now. They have won the popular vote in the last seven of the eight presidential races. George Bush in 2000 was the only time when the Republicans had won the popular vote. This trend may be explained in detail if we look at the voting patterns of the voters who voted in the mid terms. America is polarised not on the basis of class or ideology, it is divided on the questions of mass migration and racial hierarchy. We can clearly understand this when the conservatives were fear mongering about the migrant caravan. Trump and the Republicans tried to fully utilise this divide. The long existing divide, one that accelerated during President Obama’s tenure has almost reached its peak from the time when the 45th President of the US assumed office. This divide is here to stay as long as Trump stays in the office and US is locked in a cold civil war of some sorts.

In this election, the rural voters have overwhelmingly voted for the GOP. Whereas, the educated whites, Latinos, blacks have voted in favor of the Democrats. Democrats did better with white women than men. Democrats did significantly well with the college-educated whites. The south was different though. The Republicans did well with all segments of the white population. CNN’s exit polls showed that Democrats won 90 per cent of the black voters, 69 per cent Latino voters and 77 per cent Asian voters. It clearly shows that the minority favors the Democrats. But this election didn’t shed light on the racial divide only but also on the geographical divides as well. The suburban areas which once were considered a Republican stronghold have voted in favor of the Democrats. Many educated whites live in the suburbs and this may be reason for the shift. Urban areas have always been a Democrat stronghold. There was no exception in this election as well. There has been a strong Republican rural wall this time. The old blue state and red state model seems to be outdated. The non-southerner, educated, rich, whites and minorities favouring the Democrats and less educated whites, both rich and poor supporting the GOP. Education divide among the whites is getting bigger. It is even bigger among women, because educated women prefer the democrats where non-educated white females prefer the GOP.

Since the time when Barrack Obama was elected, the torchbearers of white identity politics started to exploit this divide to an extent never seen before. Because the less educated working class were not ready to accept the changing world. The recession and the advent of automation in many industries saw the working class losing many jobs. This resulted in a massive anger among the less educated white communities which resulted in some sort of white backlash in the 2016 presidential election. In matters of migration and tolerance towards the minorities, the white working class seems to be more in tune with the GOP rather than the Democrats. Many ultra-nationalist groups have also been emboldened by many of the controversial tweets by the President.

As things stand, now it seems the Republican, for surely, will lose the popular vote in the next Presidential race, but might win the Electoral College vote. Democrats have the advantage of number and age. In theory, they could just wait for the older voter base of the GOP to die out, but the non-representativeness of American institutions, particularly the Senate and Electoral College, favour Republicans. Increasingly the Democrats and the Republicans see themselves as a part of distinct cultural communities and having virtually no common ground. This political divide will not subside so easily. The short term results of this election will be that we will see no major tax cuts because all the finance bills generate from the house. Democrats campaigning strongly on the issues like medicare and taxation will fight the Republicans in such policy matters. Trump will still continue to exploit the racial, educational, geographical divide even more by bringing in more radical thoughts in his policies and nominations. The only thing different this time will be that he will have a scapegoat in the form of the Democrats if he fails to achieve his goal.


K.M.Ishmam, Dhaka