Election deniers to further polarize the US
Published: Nov 10, 2022 08:46 PM
Illusion: Xia Qing

Illusion: Xia Qing/GT

According to an analysis by The Washington Post, more than half of - or 291, to be more specific - Republican candidates in this year's US midterm elections for the House, Senate, and key statewide offices have denied or questioned Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential elections. So far, at least 169 of them have already won in the race.

Supporting former US president Donald Trump's claim that he won in 2020, these "election deniers" have appeared across the US in this election cycle. Their victory is primarily due to their embrace or attempts to bind themselves to Trump in some way, since he still has immense popularity among Republican voters, explained Zhang Tengjun, deputy director of the Department for Asia-Pacific Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, to the Global Times.

Yet, their win will not be good news for the US which is already torn apart - Chinese observers believe that these politicians will continue to divide and polarize American politics, as well as provoke more confrontation across US society.

Above all, the success of Trump candidates in this year's midterm elections will continue to amplify the shortcomings of the US electoral system, and cause more controversy and conflict. A Chinese international relations expert, who requested anonymity, believes that the system is not about "picking the best," but has, instead, given radical politicians more power to engage in confrontation and division while spreading hatred and violence.

Besides the fight over the control of Congress between Democrats and Republicans, it is also worth observing the performance of those Trump supporters at the state level. "Election deniers" run for state governor, secretary of state, or attorney general in 30 of the US' 50 states, as the country's nonprofit advocacy group States United Action reported.

These positions play essential roles in overseeing elections, so concerns have been raised if Trump supporters take up these offices. "The risk is that an election denier serving as a state official could try to manipulate the results in 2024 so that their preferred candidate wins - even if they don't receive the most votes," said States United Action head Joanna Lydgate, according to Reuters.

For Biden, more people in Congress and state offices questioning his legitimacy as the US President means more obstacles to implementing the policies he supports. This includes the spending bills Biden proposed and his plans to sign a law to codify abortion rights in January, Zhang noted.

Biden is already governing a divided America. The victory of Trump supporting candidates will make him look even more like a president of blue states only, said the above-mentioned anonymous scholar. This includes the spending bills Biden proposed and his plans to sign a law to codify abortion rights in January, Zhang noted.

Their win will also have a far-reaching impact on American politics. In the Capitol Hill riots in 2021, many Trump supporters incited violent attacks. As some of them now will hold key positions in US politics, political violence in the US is likely to intensify.

The violent trend of US electoral politics has begun to show in this midterm election. Suppose more GOP politicians with ultra-conservative ideas come to power in the future, in that case, they will inevitably hype more conspiracy theories regarding US politics, including the elections, and launch more attacks on the Democratic Party. They could also play a more prominent role in agitating voters or exacerbating controversies, becoming catalysts of more violence.

The Democratic Party has not yet shown an obvious tendency to engage in political violence. However, if the Republicans continue to use violence to express their political demands, it is afraid that the Democrats may also become more extreme and violent as a response, triggering more severe and even bloody political infightings. It is tragic that violence in American politics has become a trend in the US, and such a disease will be extremely hard for the US to get rid of in the near future.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn