A fierce showdown is underway ahead of the U.S. midterm elections to be held on November 8. In these elections, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be up for election. In addition, in some states, governorship elections will be held. Donald Trump, who has only been President for one term, is seeking a "victory" in the midterm elections as he seeks to be re-elected come 2024. Although Presidents who lose Presidential elections during the second term generally usually quit active politics, it can be said that Trump has further consolidated his influence on the Republican Party.
Trump is working to avoid the re-election of Republican lawmakers who failed to show "loyalty" to him during his presidency. Trump's target is lawmakers who voted against him as he was ousted as president. Republican Lawmakers, Senators, and Governors, who did not support the claims that the 2020 elections were stolen, were also targeted by Trump. The majority of Trump-supported candidates for the House of Representatives won the primary elections.
Meanwhile, Trump underperformed in the Senate primaries. Trump is also waging war against "Mainstream Republicans", especially Mitch McConnell, a former Senate leader. He even posted messages targeting McConnell and his wife. McConnell's Taiwan-born wife, Elaine Chao, served as Secretary of Transportation in Trump's cabinet. Chao resigned on January 6, 2021, in response to the invasion of the U.S. Congress by Trumpist groups. Trump has not met with McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, since January 2021.
Mike Pence, who served as Vice President during the Trump era, generally followed a "Trumpian" line but did not favor attempts to disrupt the results of the 2020 elections. Besides Pence, Republican lawmakers, senators, and Governors who see the 2020 election as legitimate have been labeled as "traitors" or "fake Republicans" by Trumpists. This "civil war" between the Republicans also left its mark on the race for the nominations for the midterm elections.
Trump's goal is to gain broader support in the House of Representatives and Senate. As I mentioned above, Trump seems to have achieved his target for the House of Representatives. Opinion polls are signaling that Republicans will win a majority in the House of Representatives, while Democrats will retain their majority in the Senate.
Currently, Democrats have a narrow majority in the House of Representatives. The 100-member Senate, is divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. The Senate is under the control of the Democrats, as the Vice President of the United States also serves as the President of the Senate and can cast tie-breaking votes in critical ballots. Even if the Democrats seem to have the upper hand now, it is possible that they will lose their power to control the Senate. If the Republicans gain a majority in both houses of the U.S. Congress, Biden will be rendered a lame duck.
The midterm elections are seen as a “referendum” on the Biden Administration. These elections will be a tough test for both Trump and the mainstream Republicans. If the Trump-supported candidates lose the election, it will mean that Trump loses. Therefore, the midterm elections will also affect the course of the Presidential elections in 2024. A similar situation applies to Democrats and Biden. Biden plans to run for President in 2024, but he will make his final decision after the midterm elections. In fact, Biden's decision depends more on whether Trump is a candidate or not. If Trump is the nominee, the favorite candidate for the Democrats seems to be Biden again.
Young Democrats want a younger, more dynamic candidate to replace Biden, who will turn 82 in 2024. Biden's blunders make Democrats think about some of his weird old-fashioned moves. Vice President Kamala Harris is not seen as an attractive candidate either.
Trump has not yet definitively announced that he will run for office in 2024. Mainstream Republicans, meanwhile, hope that Trump somehow gets out of the way, thereby breaking his hold on the Republican Party. Trump will be 78 years old in 2024. Of course, the "ageist" criterion put forward for Biden also applies to Trump. In the current circumstances, there is more enthusiasm, more support from the Republican base for Trump's presidential candidacy. I should point out that for Biden, there is less enthusiasm and less support if he is on the Democratic ballot.