Intense partisan strife as US votes in midterm elections
Biden impeachment, more China hostility possible
Published: Nov 09, 2022 01:04 AM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The US is bracing for further chaos and division, as Republicans are highly likely to trigger an impeachment process against US President Joe Biden if they wrest control of the House back, Chinese experts predicted, as Americans will finish voting in the midterm elections on Tuesday (local time) amid an atmosphere of intense partisan rivalry. 

The election, which is regarded as a warm-up for the 2024 presidential election, will not only reshape the balance of power of the two parties, but also impact the world due to its spillover effects. Chinese experts warned that the Biden administration is likely to make more of a presence on the international stage and continue to confront and pressure China after a frustration in Congress.

Many political observers predicted the GOP would win at least one of the Congress chambers and create a "massive red wave." According to US media, voters had already cast more than 42 million ballots as of Monday evening.

Speaking to CNN two days before the midterm election, Kevin McCarthy, House GOP leader who is likely to become next House Speaker if the Republicans win, outlined the GOP's plan to cut back on government spending and launch "rigorous investigations" into the Biden administration. 

According to a Washington Post report, GOP politicians believe there are various issues to make Biden a target for impeachment, including the chaotic Afghanistan pullout, COVID-19 pandemic eviction moratorium, failing to enforce immigration laws and prevent border crossings, as well as Biden's son Hunter Biden's actions in Ukraine

Analysts believe that launching impeachment proceedings against Biden is a high-probability event, as a "political payback" for Democrats' "weaponized impeachment" against former president Donald Trump.

What Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did to Trump, Republicans are likely to do the same to Joe Biden in the future, Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

But even if the GOP wins the Senate, they are unlikely to get support from 67 senators - or the two-thirds of the chamber that is required for a conviction, Diao said. "The GOP wants Biden to live with an 'impeached' label."

Impeachment is a "nuclear option" for Congress against the president, Diao said, "But since 2016, such power has been recklessly abused by both parties, as a result of their bitter rat race."

Media reported that if Republicans win control of the House, they may halt the probe against Trump over the Capitol Hill riots and put a magnifying glass on Biden. Some congressional Republicans even threatened the FBI with a possible defunding  

We are likely to see Republicans in Congress pushing for investigations into the incumbent Joe Biden, while at the local level Democrats continue to push for probes into Trump, Diao said, noting that the US system has become a tool that serves the fight in both parties.

In the face of domestic US chaos, some US allies have expressed concerns over the international spillover effects of America's fragile and unstable democracy.

Citing a former government official, the Japan Times said now it is the US' turn to lack stability, continuity and predictability, which means that Japan needs to be "nimble, flexible and adaptable." "Many Japanese are now questioning whether America can continue to be relied on as the model for the world."

German media Der Spiegel worried that the midterm elections will bring more Trump-style isolationism into the House which will have less interest in European security, which means that Europeans will be called on to take more responsibilities. 

"As can be seen from the experience of recent US presidents, after midterm election setbacks, they tend to be more active in foreign affairs. So the Biden administration is highly likely to do something that they think is in the vital strategic interests of voters to attract attention," a Beijing-based expert told the Global Times on Tuesday on condition of anonymity. 

Obama's Democratic Party lost control of the House after the 2010 midterm elections, and US forces announced the killing of bin Laden in May 2011. After Trump's GOP lost the House in the 2018 midterm elections, the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report was released in June 2019, followed by the 2019 Koreas-US DMZ Summit.

Biden would also follow this route, perhaps further pushing the Indo-Pacific Strategy and solidifying the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework at the upcoming APEC summit, cementing its cliques, the expert said. 

Offsetting the uncertainty and instability felt by his allies with the certainty of confrontational competition with China may be what Biden is looking for, he said, especially given that competition with China is one of the few areas of bipartisan consensus. 

Biden's China policy in the future may be a bit more Republican, with more obvious ideological bias and Cold War mentality… for example, by engaging with allies in areas where there is bipartisan consensus and further antagonizing China on so-called values, experts predicted. 

"Divergences between China and US may be further amplified, while cooperation may weaken," Diao said, noting that the US may also further strengthen military cooperation with the secessionist Taiwan island authorities with more political provocation, making the Taiwan question a more prominent stumbling block in bilateral ties.