Global Times (10 November 2022) – Voting for US 2022 midterm elections began officially on November 8, and the elections were more closely contested than public opinion had previously expected. This is an internal US matter, and the outside world has limited interest in its process and results. Nevertheless the elections have sparked widespread concerns in the international community. To use an analogy, it is like seeing a group fight not far from your home, and you may be hit by a brick thrown out suddenly. Globalization has broken the distance of time and space. In the past two years, the destructive spillover effects of the US domestic chaos on the international situation have become increasingly obvious, creating too many troubles.
According to the original design of the system, the midterm elections were originally a “midterm exam” of the ruling party’s two-year performance, and the “exam questions” were mainly about the domestic economy and people’s livelihoods. This time, however, the elections were off-topic from the beginning, with the Republican Party still obsessed about whether the result of the presidential election two years ago was “fair,” while the Democratic Party repeatedly made the election a “referendum” on American democracy. The American people are suffering from the worst inflation in four decades and fears of a recession, but their concerns have been diluted. The two parties have tried their best to incite and kidnap voters with ideological language, which further exacerbates the uncertainty and destructiveness of the elections.
US’ allies are concerned that the changing political landscape in Washington may lead to a reversal of their foreign strategies and public policies. At present, political views of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party on major international issues such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict and climate change are distinct, and the relevant decisions made by different parties or even by different people from the same party are vastly different. They do not have to nor want to consider the stability and continuity of policies. They not only have no psychological burden when overturning the decisions of their predecessors, but often feel smug. The world has witnessed this kind of manipulation many times, such as US’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Iran nuclear talks, arms control talks, and related UN agencies. The division of American society and the opposition of political parties have evolved into the overall untrustworthiness and capriciousness of the US in the international arena. US’ political system has made policymakers less accountable for irresponsible behaviors.
Countries that are regarded as rivals by the US don’t expect the rotation of US political parties to smooth ties or bring the US back to pragmatism and rationality. In other words, they hold no illusions. At the same time, these countries are mentally prepared for the possibility that they may become the targets of the US to vent its strong emotions. Ironically, the US has displayed a negative type of certainty in this regard — it has become the biggest source of global instability. It is making the global situation worse by both uncertainties and “certainty.”
Being highly sensitive, capricious, neurotic and aggressive are all recent symptoms of American democracy. Since the US is a superpower with global influence, when its system is sick, the whole world is inflicted.
From the Capitol riot, which shocked the world, to the midterm elections, US domestic political turmoil is still going on after two years. The risk of political violence is growing, rather than decreasing. Crime rate is going up. Posts on Twitter that mentioned “civil war” had soared nearly 3,000 percent. Politicians are competing for who is more aggressive. Not only ordinary Americans are frustrated and anxious about the situation, but the world is also worried about the US. A French media outlet asked recently: Is the American powder keg in danger of exploding? It shows the outside world’s common feeling. The world has another consensus – US political environment will further deteriorate after midterm elections.
The US democratic system has been in operation for more than 200 years. Objectively speaking, this alone can be regarded as remarkable. However, practices show that human society has not yet designed a set of perfect political system that can be well applied anywhere once and for all. In other words, there has never been the “myth of democracy,” nor should people deify American political system.
American democracy has come to where it is today, with increasingly obvious drawbacks. To some extent, this is inevitable. American democracy also needs to keep pace with the times. It is worth mentioning that as the quality of American democracy is declining, its cost is soaring. The total cost of 2022 state and federal midterm elections is projected to exceed $16.7 billion, no wonder it’s been referred to as the “most expensive midterms ever.”
We have always avoided commenting on the specific details of the US midterm elections. To be honest, this is out of concerns that the US might rascally put the blame on us, accusing us for interfering in US internal affairs. The truth is, countries which have suffered from US’ interference in their home affairs have no intent, will not, and cannot intervene in US domestic politics. But US politics affects the interests of the whole world. People sincerely hope that the US will settle down as soon as possible, and give peace back to the world.