Home Political, economic and military consequences of the US mid-term election: Towards an aggravation of US leadership weaknesses

Political, economic and military consequences of the US mid-term election: Towards an aggravation of US leadership weaknesses

The recent choice by American voters, who have violently rejected the policy followed for six years, is nothing other than a loud cry for help. As much as Iraq, the economic and social questions, and the rejection of corruption in Washington, determined the choice of the voters.

This question of corruption is a significant indicator on two levels:

. Firstly, it is revealing of a society in a fast process of impoverishment because corruption becomes the dominating topic only when the majority of citizens feel illegitimate the enrichment of its elite, and happening to the detriment of its own wellbeing. Corruption is not a topic found in “sound” societies. It is in the Third World or in countries in economic or polical transition that it is normally found. This tends to confirm the analysis by LEAP/E2020 that the United States is truly a power in transition, passing from the statute of first economic and political power of the planet to something else, the other thing being certainly less enviable. In certain respects, the evolution seen in the United States is comparable to the fate of Argentina a few decades ago, at the cost of a descent of nearly all its middle class into the camp of the poor classes.

. In addition, it indicates a very strong discrediting of US leading classes even beyond the types of G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld. In fact the whole Congress is shown to be clearly disconnected from the interests of US citizens and to be used as a privileged club with private interests. Another figure illustrates this increasing disconnection between US leading classes and their fellow-citizens: the turnout in the November 2006 election was only 40% (hardly more than with the 2002 mid-term elections) whereas the polarization of the electorate and the stake of the war in Iraq were supposed to largely mobilize voters. That means that from now on 60% of US citizens do not feel represented, concerned or incarnated by the two key parties, even when the stakes are strong and clear. As much as the 40% of voters who placed corruption at the head of their electoral priorities, these 60% of non-voters testify to the growing weakness of the Washingtonian elite in terms of credibility and political legitimacy. A parallel can be drawn in this regard with the European Union facing similar problems.

This political situation will have a determining influence on the evolution of the crisis affecting the United States because it proves that the recent victory of the democrats in the Congress will not do anything but worsen the incapacity of Washington to solve the problems of the country, since they do not profit from any clear mandate nor any strong electoral legitimacy, whereas they sanction a radical weakening of the decisional capacity of US political power. With only twenty-two months of effective capacity in the Congress (since the Democrats will take their functions with the Congress only in January 2007 and the next elections will take place in November 2008), the Democrats will have “to manage current issues” within a framework of a day to day “guerrilla” with the republican executive, with the presidential election of 2008 in their sights (thus making impossible any necessarily unpopular drastic measures), in a framework of economic recession, fall of the Dollar and diplomatic and military deadlocks in Iraq, Iran or with North Korea…

Read more in the GEAB No 9 / 16.11.2006

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