The midterm elections in the United States do not normally grip us. Wake us up when you choose another president.
But these should, and for all the wrong reasons. Anyone who’s covered a few knows they’re very different this year.
The mood is dark in America. There is a feeling of foreboding about the future. And if Americans are scared, we should be too. The reverse Vegas rule applies here. What happens in America doesn’t stay in America.
Those who thought that donald trump years have been an aberration are in shock. Look at the candidates.
Nearly 300 have been endorsed by Mr. Trump. Two hundred of them peddled his anti-democratic lie that he won the last election or that his results were seriously flawed.
Some are Q Anon supporters to boot, subscribing to a movement that believes a pedophile cabal runs the US government.
Donald Trump is should declare his candidacy soon after these half-terms. Looking at the polls, his second coming seems increasingly likely, with all that means for the world we live in.
An atmosphere of fear
The atmosphere on the campaign trail is one of fear, among voters telling you that this great country, an ally and an inspiration to all free people is, to put it bluntly, on the brink.
It’s not just the fear that the other will win. It’s more powerful, more visceral than that.
Democrats are terrified that American democracy is about to be overthrown. People who claim the electoral system is rigged are running for key positions that will give them power over that system. And Democrats fear they will use that power next time around to skew votes in their favor.
A president we now know seriously considered seizing voting machines and tried to bully officials into overturning the result of a free and fair election that could be the frontrunner to win back the White House next time around.
Think about it.
America is tearing itself apart
If he doesn’t do it enough next time, he will now have allies in place as governors or state officials who could help him do it in another way, if they win, like this looks likely in this week’s votes.
But Republican voters are equally passionate in their fear that the country will be taken in the wrong direction by elites who are unaware of how much the ordinary American is suffering.
Voters on all sides fear recession, inflation, crime and rising costs, and see a government not doing enough to help them.
But fear is more existential than that. America, the country and the idea, voters will tell you, is threatened and torn apart.
Americans have stopped doing what they have always done best, talking and listening to each other. They retreated to opposing sides, getting lost in echo chambers left and right.
“It’s on the verge of disaster”
A mother from a town in New York State summed it up this way: “It’s divided, angry, hostile and corrupt, and it’s on the brink of disaster, I think.
“I think it’s incredibly disheartening. People believe what they want to believe and there’s no change of heart, and I don’t know how we can turn away from that either.”
She wasn’t a conspiracy theorist, just a middle-class mom picking up pizza for her kids.
Visit the United States today, and your friends will tell you that they believe violence or unrest is on the way.
Reasonable, sober people talk honestly about accountability, unrest, and even civil war.
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The lonely rowdiness and crowd treatment of him at Trump’s rally reveal deep divisions
In better days, midterm elections were a carnival of democracy.
From the highest governor to the city dog hunter, people can choose who runs their lives in a system they’ve been told since childhood is the best form of government the world has ever known.
But there is no sense of celebration this time.
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The atmosphere deteriorated. Entrenched in polarized corners, Americans are suspicious of the intentions of others and full of apprehension about what is to come. This should worry us all.