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Divided Congress, non-functional administration—What’s in store for US politics in 2022

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The year 2022 has started with a new variant of Covid-19. But that does not seem to be a deterrent to the big political pageantry set to play out to happen around the world. One of the significant events in world politics is the mid-term elections to the American Congress, which is also the unofficial curtain riser for next presidential election. On the other side of the power equation in China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is holding its 20th party congress. While the meeting is crucial for Chinese as well as global politics, there isn’t any surprise elements in this part. Everyone’s eyes are on the United States and its political turnouts.

The midterm elections would include all 435 seats in its House of Representatives, and 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the US Senate. The result this election brings would change the political climate and power equation within Washington. Until now, Democrats have secured a razor-thin majority in Congress and that has given the newly elected president some air to breathe, if it changes it is going to be a rough second start for President Joe Biden.

Any gain would be favourable for the Republican Party, although the increasing number of sympathisers and allies of Donald Trump within the party is leading the GOP into a new horizon, so these midterm results are going to be crucial for the GOP too.

The main factor affecting this upcoming election would be the first year of the Biden presidency and the political events around it. The other things that are going to affect the election would be ex-president Trump and the damage he has done to the democracy of the US. The defeat faced in the last presidential election and the global outrage against Trump hasn’t affected the growing “Trumpism” in America. This election would be a test to check the purity of democracy in the world’s largest democracy “exporters”.

US politics in the past year

The year 2021 for American politics has marked the beginning of the Biden presidency and the defeat of Donald Trump. It is true that in the midst of the pandemic, there wasn’t any honeymoon period for the administration even as they managed to do pretty well in the early months. But things have changed much from that, and the approval ratings have hit a record decline for the Biden administration. The earlier months of presidency were easy for the new administration due to their predecessor.

The insurrection in Capitol hill on 6 January 2021 and Trump’s ongoing allegation that Biden has stolen the election had kept the American public divided as ever. Biden had tried to encounter this problem with a more realistic approach and that set a tone for him and his presidency. The Covid stimulus package was the first legislative victory for President Biden, although it may be the only victory for him since then. All legislative agenda initiated by the White House have been stuck within Congress, be it the package for climate change, immigration or social benefit, to name a few. The higher inflation which, as some economists pointed out is the by-product of the Covid stimulus, package has affected badly the country’s economy. Followed by this was the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan with the subsequent fall of Kabul and the re-emergence of the Taliban within the unrelenting pandemic. All of this has caused the decline in approval rating for President Biden.

Also read: Xi Jinping’s zero-tolerance strategy gets weaker with every Omicron case in China

Biden administration and the Democratic party

The results for the upcoming elections are more or less predictable. It is reflecting on Capitol — in the last few months, 25 Democratic representatives have announced either their retirement or the unwillingness for re-election. Twelve Republican representatives are either retiring or seeking higher office. The amount of retirement is often seen as the loss of the party in power, and if that is indeed true, 2022 is going to be a rough year for President Biden.

Donald Trump’s presidency and the Capitol Hill insurrection has led the Republican party into a new horizon. Trump and his policies have brought the far-Right wing group an influential power in the Republican party, and it is visible from every state it has a stronghold on. Daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney and Republican representative from Wyoming, Liz Cheney, lost her leadership position within the party and emerged as most critical member against Donald Trump. She was appointed as the vice-chair of the house’s ‘6 January committee’ and her public responses put her in the limelight. Despite resistance, according to recent opinion polls and signals from Capitol, there is a good chance of Republican-controlled Congress. If this happens, the influence of Trump and his allies will grow within the party and will lead to the natural selection of the next presidential candidate.

2022 will mark the continuum of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his third term as the paramount leader of CCP. Through this, China would accomplish political stability for a better future. On the other side of this equation, America is facing crucial instability within. When the poll decides the fate of American politics, it could end up with a non-functional administration and a divided Congress. This will certainly hurt the position of the US within the global sphere and lead to the change in the whole political equation for global politics.

The author is a student at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. Views are personal.

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