Dim mid-term election prospects of Democrats risk igniting more tensions
Published: Aug 01, 2022 10:51 PM
US President Joe Biden falls off his bicycle as he approaches well-wishers following a bike ride at Gordon's Pond State Park in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on June 18, 2022. Photo: AFP

US President Joe Biden falls off his bicycle as he approaches well-wishers following a bike ride at Gordon's Pond State Park in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on June 18, 2022. Photo: AFP

With less than 100 days to go before the US mid-term elections, many US media outlets, polls and observers see the Democrats' prospects dim. A new Bloomberg Economics study showed that "President Joe Biden's party can expect to lose 30 to 40 seats in the House and a few in the Senate too, easily wiping out razor-thin Democratic majorities," Bloomberg reported on Saturday.

Democratic Party's favorability has been falling, due to Biden administration's incompetence in handling foreign and domestic affairs. Inflation at a 40-year high has gravely impacted ordinary people's life in the US and domestic racial conflict and populism are also rampant. Biden's promises in 2020 election campaign on unity and restoring prosperity have fallen short. "Democrats suffering defeats in the upcoming midterm elections is a high probability event," said a Beijing-based expert on international relations who asked for anonymity.

For the moment, given the difficulty of a significant improvement in terms of economy, politics and diplomacy, the Democratic Party seems to be willing to take risky gambits to rescue its unfavorable electoral situation.

According to Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, this can explain why US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is taking desperate actions, constantly hyping her potential visit to Taiwan, for playing the "Taiwan card" and exaggerating the "China threat theory" can boost her popularity in the US. 

The declining approval ratings will likely lead Democrats to make more aggressive provocations against other countries in the run-up to the upcoming midterm elections, which deserves vigilance from the international community.

"On the other hand, the Biden administration may escalate support to Ukraine in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. We should also not rule out the possibility that the US will provide Ukraine with more advanced weapons and equipment, including high lethality weaponry, to stem the Biden administration's slump in popularity," noted Song."

As a result, ahead of the mid-term election, the Russia-Ukraine military conflict may become more critical and Washington's confrontations with Beijing and Moscow may step up. In addition, in order to court arms dealers and win their support, Democrats will also play the card in favor of arms sale, ramping up the arms race on a global scale, which will add to global instability. In a word, one cannot rule out the possibility that the US may rush hastily into danger, causing more trouble in order to serve their electoral politics.

The US' elections are an important manifestation of partisan competition. Under the current circumstances, no matter what Democrats do, the Republicans will exploit it as a subject for criticism to score more votes. However if the Democrats take risks, this will be a double-edged sword. When the Biden administration plays the Taiwan card, no matter what actions it takes, the Republican Party will label it as a weak move. Yet if the Democrats face negative consequences as a result of being tough against China, they will certainly be accused of creating trouble for the American people. This is the US' political landscape, say the experts.

"From the perspective of ordinary American people however, what they really care about is whether the government can boost the US' economy and promote their well-being. When such concern cannot be met, even if the ruling party makes more reckless moves, it cannot improve the Democrats' electoral odds," said Lü Xiang, an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.