General

Economy, abortion, immigration, democracy at stake in US midterm elections

Voters’ views on the importance of several issues, including soaring inflation, abortion, immigration, and democracy, will loom large in the outcome of Tuesday’s midterm elections in the US.

This year, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives as well as 35 seats in the 100-seat Senate are being contested. Most analysts are predicting that Republicans will gain control of the House from President Joe Biden's Democrats, but the fate of the Senate remains a topic of intense speculation.

Republicans continue to view the economy as by far the top issue in the voting booth. Nine in ten Republican voters view the economy as very important, roughly 20 points higher than any other issue. They support curbing what they call wasteful government spending, enacting “pro-growth” tax and deregulatory policies, including cutting taxes and regulations and making America energy independent.

Democrats believe that the economy should work for everyone by lowering costs for working families and investing in the middle class. They pledge to reduce poverty, protect workers and families and create millions of jobs across America, raise wages and promote workers’ rights and enact robust work-family balance policies.

Abortion

After spending hundreds of millions of campaign dollars on abortion messages – nearly $415 million on ads alone – Democrats have found the impact to be uneven. While support for abortion access is driving the party’s most loyal voters, it does not appear to be outweighing economic concerns for pivotal swing voters.

Abortion is one of the starkest areas of disagreement within the Republican party right now. Republicans have been waiting for decades to ban abortion but some Republicans are trying to “strike a balance” by selling what used to be seen as aggressive measures – like bans on abortion after 15 weeks. A majority of Americans still support legal abortion, at least through the first trimester of pregnancy.

Democracy

The future of democracy is also a voting issue for many, with 70% of registered voters saying it is very important to their midterm vote. Democrats pledge to strengthen democracy by guaranteeing that every American’s vote is protected. They say they will work to reform the broken campaign finance system, build an effective, transparent, and federal government, make Washington DC the 51st state (which has a population larger than at least two US states), guarantee self-determination for Puerto Rico, support the US territories, and strengthen the US postal service.

On the Republican side, many lawmakers and activists continue to refuse to recognize the results of President Biden’s fall 2020 election victory and have declined to pledge to respect any future results in which their party loses. In line with widely debunked conspiracy theories about voter fraud, they have pushed to make it harder for people to vote by restricting early voting and voting by mail, also targeting election supervisors and workers as being involved in vote tampering. Democrats point to Republicans’ moves to make voting harder as a threat to a full, flourishing democracy.

Immigration

With a record number of migrants and asylum seekers crossing the southern border this year, Republicans continue to view tough messaging on immigration as a key strategy to unite their party and win over voters. As far as policy solutions, a Republican says they would “fully fund effective border enforcement strategies, infrastructure, and advanced technology to prevent illegal crossings and trafficking by cartels,” and “end catch-and-release loopholes, require legal status to get a job, and eliminate welfare incentives.”

Democrats have committed to building a 21st-century immigration system that reflects values, repairs past harms, heals communities, rebuilds the economy, and renews global leadership. Democrats believe that the fight to end systemic and structural racism in the US extends to the immigration system, including the policies at the borders and ports of entry, detention centers, and within immigration law enforcement agencies and their policies and operation. Democrats have also pushed for a legal path to citizenship for “Dreamers,” or people brought to the US at a young age, who have known no other country, but who nevertheless lack US citizenship.

Source: Anadolu Agency