By Staff Writer
There is a collective sigh of relief rippling through American body politics over the fact that the country’s democracy has withstood the onslaught of the hard rightwing Trump-Republicans.
All indicators point to the Democrats controlling the Senate in the US midterm elections. The outcome of the House of Representatives still hangs in the balance, although the Democrats controlling both houses of the US Congress seems unlikely despite the narrow margins.
With the race for the Georgia Senate seat going to a run-off early December, even if the Republicans win there resulting in a 50-50 split, the Democrats will ultimately have control with Vice-President Kamala Harris retaining a tie-breaking vote.
Reports and analyses suggest that this year’s midterms have been one of the closest-followed globally for what is normally the equivalent of a mainly parochial affair in US politics, unlike the presidential elections with its global implications over who sits in the White House.
This year’s midterms were significant as they were seen as setting the stage for the 2024 US presidential election and a possible second bid for the office by controversial former president Donald Trump.
And he may yet still run again despite his forecast ‘Red Wave’ reduced to a muted trickle and desperatately trying to distance himself from the failed campaign that he engineered for his rightwing acolytes.
Mr Trump has been at the forefront of thie midterm campaign backing a coterie of candidates who echo his persistent - and rejected - refrain that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
Most of them lost, and an acrimonious parting of ways with one of his main disciples, Florida’s Ron DeSantis, has cast a further shadow over the former president’s electability.
Pushing back against the Trump-backed Republican faction, President Joe Biden had framed the 2022 midterms as a fight for America’s democracy, recalling the events of the assault on the US Congress on January 6th 2021 for which Mr Trump is being investigated as the main instigator.
In the final analysis, it might very well be the spectre of January 6th 2021 that shifted the balance and prompted a higher-than-normal turnout for the normally parochial midterms.
The international focus on the process and the outcome also speaks volumes.
On both sides of the political divide - and a third element could possibly be added by isolating the Trump faction of the Republican party - voters aligned themselves with a cause and campaign.
With politics becoming even more entrenched in recent years has seen a corresponding increase in turnout at the polls, though not yet on the scale of the presidential elections.
It also shows that no matter how compelling the personalities who front campaigns, the common cause under the umbrella of the party structure, is itself a safeguard; keeping those personalities in check and keeping the party focused on policies against which the voting, and wider public, can judge its performance.
Looking at it that way raises the question of whether our way of doing politics in Cayman is unique, unusual or just plain outdated.
However, we sense a mood of re-evaluating our methods of electing our representatives in Cayman with a shift away from individualism to a more structured party system.
The challenges - and opportunities - facing Cayman demand that. ‘One-manism’ - politely referred to as ‘independents’ - lends itself to fractures, uncertainty and potential instability from within. That is a prospect that Cayman cannot afford.
A first-world country demands a first-world, some would say ‘mature’, approach to the way it does politics.
If anything, that could be the key takeaway here from the US midterm elections.
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
(Abridged from No Man Is An Island, John Donne, 1674)