Despite the unpopularity of President Joe Biden, despite galloping inflation and its deleterious consequences on the daily lives of Americans, and despite polls confirming the strength of Trumpism in the United States, the Democrats thwarted the worst scenarios Tuesday evening by winning several important victories in a series of local elections.
Results which could set the tone for American politics in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election and force the Republicans to adjust their approach in the hope of getting their hands back on the keys to the White House.
In Ohio, a state won with an eight-point lead by Donald Trump in 2020, voters overwhelmingly supported, by a majority of 56.6%, an amendment aimed at enshrining the right to abortion in the Constitution of the State in order to better protect it.
This is a snub for Republicans who opposed this measure. The “yes” to this constitutional protection even won in 18 counties which had nevertheless voted for Trump and his radical political program in 2020. This vote also contrasts with the current trend in several states under Republican control, where abortion is now banned or limited since the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court gave local legislatures a legal framework to do so.
“Ohio Republicans fought a hard fight [contre l’avortement]but in the end, the voters have just demonstrated to what extent this party is disconnected from reality,” commented political analyst Ray Marcano on Wednesday in the pages of the local daily The Columbus Dispatch. In addition to abortion, voters also came out in favor of legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. “Ohio is a red state [républicain]but not as red as you think,” he added.
The issue of abortion was a formidable driver for Democratic candidates on Tuesday. In Kentucky, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear thus ensured his re-election by collecting 52.5% of the vote, in a state dominated by Donald Trump in 2020 with a lead of 26 points. In this hostile environment, the governor posed as a defender of the right to abortion. He also denounced during his campaign the intransigence of his opponent, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, dubbed by the former president. The Republican campaigns to hinder access to abortion nationally, and even opposes it in cases of rape and incest.
In Pennsylvania, Democratic candidate Dan McCaffery won the open seat on the Supreme Court of this politically ambivalent state, after a campaign focused on defending women’s right to free control over their bodies.
Finally, in Virginia, the Democrats took control of the Senate and the House of Delegates after increasing the number of election advertisements putting the protection of this right at the heart of their program. This reversal is a severe blow to Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, who took control of this state in the wake of Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 and whose name is often mentioned in Republican circles as a possible successor to Donald Trump in the The possibility of the populist being ineligible in 2024. Remember that the ex-president is facing a series of legal proceedings which could compromise his rise in the Republican primary, which he also dominates.
“The inability of the Republicans to take control of the legislative power in Virginia compromises Youngkin’s conservative program for the rest of his mandate,” commented Derek Hunter, former political advisor to Republican senator from Montana Conrad Burns, in the pages of daily political life The Hill. “But more than anything, it shows the Republicans’ vulnerability for 2024.”
The political landscape drawn by voters on Tuesday in the United States was received as a warning for the party of Donald Trump. “Our pro-life movement, of which I am a part, needs to improve the way it approaches this issue,” entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, a rising star of the party, declared Tuesday evening on CNN. “There is deep reflection to be had within the Republican Party from now on. »
After scoring significant gains in the 2018 election, preventing Donald Trump from winning a second term in 2020 and outperforming in the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats now see Tuesday’s local vote results as consistency in a movement which they hope to be able to take advantage of during the next presidential election.
“Tonight, across the country, democracy won and MAGA [nom donné au mouvement populiste de Trump] lost. The voters vote. Not the polls,” summarized Tuesday evening on Joe Biden’s campaign team. “Now let’s go win [le scrutin de] next year. »
This reference to polls was not insignificant. Barely hours before the polling stations closed on Tuesday, a survey revealed by CNN indicated that one year before the presidential election, Donald Trump, with 49% of voting intentions, was ahead of Joe Biden, who did not receive the support of only 45% of voters. And on Sunday, New York Times revealed the result of a Siena College poll showing that the populist also led the race in swing states like Arizona, Georgia (narrowly won by Democrats in 2020), Nevada, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
If Tuesday’s elections write new reassuring political chapters for the Democrats, the rest of the story remains uncertain.