THE blood moon appeared on November 8, at the time the United States held its midterm elections – a race for state governors, and congressional members (both the House and the Senate) and is said to be a referendum on the administration of President Joe Biden, a Democrat.
The total lunar eclipse has been called the blood moon for emitting a red color when it passes between the earth and the sun. If this is somewhat of a portent for Republicans whose standard color is red, it has been highly predicted during the midterm campaign that it will be a red wave for the Republicans on November 8 as they are poised to take control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
So far, however, unofficial race results indicate a very tight contest in all competing positions with neither Republicans nor Democrats seen as taking full control of congress. While Republicans appear to gain the majority in the House of Representatives, the numbers seem not enough for them to take full control of the chamber.
This means even if Republicans take the majority seats, they do not possess sufficient votes to pass articles of impeachment. For instance, since most Republican candidates have been heard to campaign on a promise, among others, to impeach Joe Biden much like Donald Trump who was impeached twice during his presidency, or elect a Republican House Speaker through a strict one-sided partisan vote.
The red wave is now being said to be just a ripple, and no less than President Biden appears to feel relieved to know that at least his administration’s agenda would have a greater chance at obtaining legislative backing, with just enough Democratic support to keep it above water and perhaps the rest could be realized through bipartisan negotiations.
It’s a tall order for sure, but Biden who has been languishing at an approval rating of less than 50 percent has been defensive, politically, and that largely reflects the Democratic campaign in this midterm election necessitating the use of political “big guns” like former President Barack Obama to campaign in critical battleground states.
The stakes in this campaign could not have been higher. For sure, the Biden White House has had to confront a largely conservative Supreme Court packed with conservatives by former President Trump where its most contentious act to date was to overturn a 50-year-old case law called Roe vs. Wade, a supposedly settled legal doctrine that legalizes abortion in the United States.
Of course, a more Democratic leaning American electorate found this decision to be an affront to women’s reproductive rights. Thus, the right to choose has all of a sudden been elevated into a campaign issue with the idea to codify Roe vs. Wade into federal law. It would be interesting then for observers of American politics to see this pan out with a sharply divided legislature.
Aside from reproductive rights, what was on the ballot in this recent electoral exercise was democracy and the economy. The Republicans were said to have campaigned on economic issues, primarily the rising fuel prices as well as its resultant inflationary impact. Accordingly, the average American would still prefer better living conditions exemplified by affordable or even comfortable cost of living.
On the other hand, the Democrats, who ran a defensive this campaign season have warned against threats to democracy perpetrated by extreme far-right election deniers believing that the presidency was stolen from Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential race against Joe Biden.
This election denialism of course culminated in that infamous January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol which is now the subject of an investigation by a Congressional Select Committee and the US Justice Department. The trend in this election thus far shows that the American electorate seems to reject candidates who are election deniers, most of whom were endorsed by Donald Trump.
Elections in the United States certainly provide an interesting point of reflection against elections in the Philippines. The Americans for sure are not lacking in conspiracy theorists especially on the issue of fraud since it allows early voting and voting by mail. These voting rules become fodder for conspiracy theorists forwarding accusations of manipulation which to this day are largely unfounded.
The credibility of candidates, too, could be challenged as with Georgia senatorial candidate Herschel Walker, a former football star whose anti-abortion position was a cornerstone of his campaign. It turned out that in the past, he reportedly paid for an abortion to be performed on his girlfriend. This gives the impression now that Walker is dishonest and a hypocrite.
Still, however, candidates are willing to talk about prevailing issues – democracy, economy, reproduction rights, immigration, student debt, foreign policy, gun control, and a host of others. In the Philippines, if you discuss social issues, ikaw na ang magaling or ikaw na ang mag-presidente. Instead of dealing with issues, we are made to believe in the fantasy of a golden age or elect a senatorial candidate who would sing Wonderful Tonight and is seen to be capable of nothing else. No wonder we have an agriculture secretary who is largely an absentee, and a health secretary who, to this day, is still absent.