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SREBRNIK: Will the U.S. Midterm Elections Deliver a Surprise?

Henry Srebrnik
Henry Srebrnik - Contributed

The American mainstream media are, not surprisingly, predicting a “blue wave” in next month’s American midterm elections.

They’re confident the Democrats, following the intense drama around the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, will win back the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate. After that, impeaching Donald Trump will be on the menu.

They may be in for a surprise. In fact, the Republicans may keep both houses of Congress. Here’s why:

First off, African-Americans and Latinos, a major part of the Democrats’ base, don’t care a lot about the Christine Ford/Brett Kavanaugh clash; they see it as an internal quarrel between two representatives of a spoiled, rich white ruling class, divided along gender lines. This is particularly true for the males.

As for Black women, they have material concerns that have greater needs of being addressed: jobs, poverty, and violence – the last of which, by the way, mostly engulfs their sons.
Among white women, a larger percentage will indeed vote for the Democrats -- but it won’t be that much higher than in 2016, when, after all, Hillary Clinton was on the ballot and Trump was already known to have engaged in sexual misconduct.

Even in this group, many women with teenage sons worry that their 17-year-old, in today's climate, might be accused of sexual crimes of one sort of another, and never recover from the stigma, even years later. The Kavanaugh hearings demonstrated that.

“I have two sons and I have a daughter as well,” Jill Gregory, a Trump supporter who lives in Olive Branch, Miss. told the New York Times. “If that was my daughter, I would want her to be heard. On the other side, my two boys, I would hate for them to be accused of something they didn’t do.”

Many of them may also not take it kindly that U.S. Senator Susan Collins and other female Republicans who supported Kavanaugh’s confirmation were denounced by various columnists as “gender traitors.” One appeared in the Oct. 6 New York Times. Are all Republican women now “quislings?”

As for the white men: I suspect millions of them, and not just right-wing misogynists, sexists and predators, have concluded that the current climate, with its endless accounts of sex crimes and constant accusations, is a form of mob justice.

This doesn’t necessarily mean they have past misdeeds to hide, or that they didn’t believe Ford and many others like her. I, for one, did.

But, like with the witch hunts of the McCarthy era in the 1940-50s, they fear that the lives of countless people who have done very little, or even nothing, regrettable in the past, in the way of sexual misbehaviour, may be ruined just the same.

They’ve read stories – one was in the Oct. 13 issue of the New York times – of men who have been accused, anonymously, of rape, on the internet. How does one defend against that?

There is no statute of limitations or due process when it comes to today’s very public accusations, and remember, according to many on the left, they must be believed.

Sure, such charges may not hold up in a court of law -- but the men involved are likely to lose their jobs and become pariahs, even if later exonerated.
My guess is that many such people will come out on Nov. 6 and vote Republican, even if they disapprove of the party’s policies and think Donald Trump is an idiotic buffoon -- because they feel threatened.

Voters this fall aren’t just sharply polarized; they’re also very angry, whether they’re Democrats, Republicans or even independents.

A poll published in the Washington Post Oct. 11 reported found consistently high levels of anger in the electorate.

Donald Trump has been the main source of anger among Democrats, while Republican voters have been consistently angry at the media, the Democratic Party and its leaders, and left-leaning social groups.

The politics of identity have become so strong at the present time that they make compromise almost impossible. Americans are divided into partisan tribes, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense.

For the combatants, the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.

So, the two major American political parties are now, in their ideologies and supporters, further apart than ever before. Not a good sign.


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