Ciro Di Costanzo details the causes and consequences of the Democratic Party’s overwhelming victory in the 2006 Midterm Elections. In Di Costanzo‘s opinion, the American electorate chose to punish the Republican Party for its errors in Iraq, provoking huge repercussions for the Bush Administration, and giving renewed hope to Democratic Party’s Presidential bid in 2008. The results of the elections will also benefit Mexico and the Latino population in the United States.
Ciro Di Costanzo is a journalist and an analyst of international politics.He is the head of one of the most important radio shows in Mexico (Reporte 98.5 FM, now in its third season of broadcasting) and is a Professor of Communication and International Politics at the Universidad Iberoamericana. He has covered events worldwide and is the founder of the Mexican Counsel of International Affairs.He gives talks at the principal universities of his country and around the world.
THE DEMOCRATS DEALT A REAL BLOW TO THE PRESIDENT of the United States, George W. Bush and his Republican party in the recent Midterm Elections.
The Republicans lost 29 seats in the House of Representatives, six states, and five seats in the Senate.
Keeping the electoral agenda focused on national issues rather than local debates was the key strategy for a Democratic victory. With a growing discontent about the War in Iraq, the Foley sex scandal, and the Abramoff corruption, the support that the Republicans once had has almost vanished. President Bush’s popularity rating alone plummeted to a measly 30 percent before the elections.
The Iraq War began impacting electoral outcomes since the affirmation that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and that there was no relationship whatsoever between Osama Bin Laden of Al-Qaeda and ex-dictator Saddam Hussein (among the principal reasons for invading in the first place).
Three years after Bush declared Operation Iraqi Freedom a success, the situation has only denigrated into chaos. More than two thousand American soldiers have died in an unworkable attempt to secure the territory, which today has become a sanctuary for terrorists and a breeding ground for civil war. Up until now, the war has cost a total of 300 billion dollars, derailing the public deficit. And the world is still not a safer place. On the contrary, terrorism has increased on a global level.
On November 8th, the day following the elections, the general public disapproval of the War in Iraq took its first political victim: Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, main architect of the invasion of Iraq, stepped down. Ex-director of the CIA Robert Gates has replaced him.
To begin, Congress is now under the control of the Democrats, who will put the Bush Administration under enormous pressure. Most likely will be that they turn Bush into a lame duck, cutting off his room to maneuver, and obliging the entire administration to rethink the way that it has run the war, and the poor choices it has made. From now on, policies will be decided bilaterally between both parties. Bush will have no choice but to sit down with the Democratic Party for negotiations. After all, Congress levies taxes, the Democrats are in control of Congress, and wars are expensive.
Another consequence of the elections is the favorable position in which the Democratic Party has been placed to compete in the Presidential race of 2008. Senator Hillary Clinton, who swept the board once again in New York, appears to be one of the favorites for the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi, leader of the democrats in the House of Representatives, became the first woman to ever preside over the House in all of the history of the United States, also making her a possible candidate. And we should also not forget past losers like Al Gore and John Kerry, who have kept the dream of one day reaching the Oval Office alive.
IMPACT ON MEXICO AND LATINOS
Even though immigration was not a determining factor, the majority of those opposed to immigration reform lost, making it clear that the Republican anti-immigration campaign has only strengthened the Latino vote.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Latinos overwhelmingly voted Democrat, a key factor, which gave them control of the House of Representatives. The proof is that in the House there are currently 24 Latino Representatives, and in the Senate 3. According to the majority of polls taken on Election Day, between 8 and 9 out of every 10 Latinos voted for the Democratic Party.
When the newly elected Mexican President Felipe Calderon met with George Bush a few days ago, he encountered a President with his hands tied, and no room to move. The past Mexican strategy of winning the support of the American Executive Branch will no longer work.
From now on, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have to focus on swaying the Legislative power of the United States.