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19 Oct, 2022 13:53

Can US Democrats push enough hot buttons to win the looming elections?

With voters feeling the economic pinch worse than ever, Democrats are shifting their focus to social justice
Can US Democrats push enough hot buttons to win the looming elections?

With the midterm elections just weeks away, the Democrats find themselves in charge of a country with runaway inflation, unrelenting street crime and dwindling energy reserves. Can they leverage social justice issues to make US voters forget their pains and vote Blue?

If Tulsi Gabbard’s recent defection from the Democratic Party proved anything, it was that there is a definite limit to how much even the most ardent supporters will sacrifice in the name of the ‘greater good.’ To this end, the Biden administration – trusting the science, as usual – put forward the threat of climate change as a reason to reset the entire US economy.

On his first day in office, Biden cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, shut down oil fields in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and strangled funding to energy companies in order to save the planet from spontaneous combustion. But like a man who knows nothing about even simple checkers, not to mention 3D chess, the green technologies that promise to make capitalism a sustainable undertaking will take years to bring online. This serious lack of forethought has placed the US back at the mercy of oil-producing countries.

In an effort to avoid a blowout in November due to surging gas prices, Biden was forced to go hunting for reserves in places such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, countries that the US never stops lecturing for their human rights violations.

“The American public is repelled as they watch Biden’s pathetic theatrics of global oil begging to help himself in the midterms,” wrote historian and political commentator Victor David Hanson. “They are ashamed that their recently energy autonomous country is now imploring non-democratic regimes for every drop of their oil, to the extent of threatening former allies and coaxing current enemies.”

All sectors of the US economy – food, energy, transportation, and shelter – are experiencing skyrocketing inflation that can be traced back to the gas pump. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation rose 8.2% year-on-year during September. That’s the 19th month in a row of inflation above the Fed’s arbitrary 2% inflation target. As September’s increase keeps price inflation near 40-year highs, 10.2% (13.5 million) of US households were ‘food insecure’ at some time during the last year. And the situation only promises to get worse. The Wall Street Journal has put the likelihood of a US recession in the next 12 months at 63%.

The dilemma for the Democrats now is how to seize victory in November at a time when American voters are feeling the economic pinch harder than ever. One way is to make enough Americans put aside their own personal pain in favor of perennial hot-button issues that have long tortured the world of US politics – such as abortion.

In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion since 1973, thereby providing the Democrats with a nice diversion from a crumbling economy.

Half of US voters say they are more motivated to cast a ballot in the midterms because of the Supreme Court's decision, according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Three-quarters of those who claim the decision is motivating them say they intend to back candidates who support abortion rights, compared to 17% who plan to vote for those who want to curb access. This clearly works to the favor of the Democrats.

Another way of rallying the Democrats to the ballot box is through the LGBTQ+ movement, which has gained considerable traction ever since Biden came to power. From the question of transgender literature in schools, to Drag Queen Story Hour at the public library, Americans are divided over sexually charged issues like never before. Indeed, given the extreme volatility of the subject, which has enraged millions of conservative-minded Americans, it is by no means certain that this issue will fall in favor of the left at the ballot box.

Finally, perhaps the most consequential issue of them all is Washington’s undying support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia. The Biden administration has already sent billions of dollars in weapons to Kiev, while the US president’s recent comments on the risk of nuclear ‘Armageddon’ have not cooled support for the war effort, especially among Democrats.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 53% of Americans said they supported the US backing Ukraine “until all Russian forces are withdrawn.” The number is as high as 66% among Democrat respondents and 51% among Republicans.  

While every US election tends to be described as ‘momentous,’ the unique feature of this contest is that it may be decided not by what is in the best interests of America, such as finding ways to shore up a broken economy, but what is being lobbied by special-interest groups and outsiders, which include everyone from transgenders to illegal migrants to Ukrainian activists. And one possible byproduct of that entrenched wokeness may be nothing less than World War III.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.