Democrats and Republicans play for control of the legislative branch on Tuesday

US closes a polarised election campaign: is the American dream in jeopardy?

REUTERS/JIM LO SCALZO - Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and former Vice President Mike Pence at a joint session of the US Congress

US Democrats and Republicans close this Monday an election campaign marked by the future of the economy and with a founding principle at stake: democracy, according to progressives, or the American dream, in the opinion of conservatives. 

Both parties say they are optimistic, although polls on the November 8 legislative elections are increasingly tipping the balance in favour of the Republicans. According to the weighted average of polls conducted by the website FiveThirtyEight, they have a 54% chance of winning the Senate and an 82% chance of winning the House of Representatives.  

The Democrats hold the majority in both chambers, and although there are areas that are the focus of attention due to the tight margin of the forecasts, such as Pennsylvania and Arizona, the two parties told EFE that their strategy in these elections has not neglected any of the country's 50 states. 

"Our policies are in the interest of every voter. It's about common sense. Every citizen wants to live in a safe community, wants their child to get a good education, wants energy independence, and wants our resources to be used instead of those of Venezuela or Saudi Arabia," says Republican Party leader Ronna McDaniel.  

She assumed the presidency of that institution in January 2017 and warns that, more than control of Congress, when this Tuesday the entire lower house and a third of the Senate are renewed at the polls, the survival of the "American dream" will truly be decided. 

"Americans are losing their savings and their businesses and children are falling behind in school. The Democrats are trying to scare people because they can't look people in the eye and say, 'Look what we've done to improve the country in the last two years,'" she argues.

Joe Biden, candidato demócrata a la presidencia de los Estados Unidos

The opposing side argues in effect that democracy is in jeopardy if conservatives take over the legislature and their majority pushes through proposals such as imposing a federal abortion veto. 

"We are seeing something unprecedented. Instead of adding rights to what we already have, they are pulling back. The US is not like that. We've seen that from dictators in other nations. And it's something we should be very concerned about," notes Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison. 

The progressive strategy has invested some $73 million in this election cycle. In the 2018 midterm elections it spent $30 million.  

"We have made some historic investments. On January 6, 2021, the Republicans almost took over the country with the insurrection. We knew we had to do everything we could," adds the leader of the Democratic formation, showing that Joe Biden's administration and his movement as a whole have moved "heaven and earth" to bring relief to the population.  

His electoral message has been based on the legislative achievements in these two years in office, with the approval, among others, of the Inflation Reduction Act, which in September fell for the third consecutive month to 8.2 % but is still at historic highs. 

"Democrats can go on the ground and defend what they are doing for Americans. The Republicans' only trump card to get votes has been fear and lying to people," adds the leader of the progressive party. 

The accusations are criss-crossed and the polarisation of the country is evident. But Americans, according to his Republican counterpart, want change.

Donald Trump

"Most of them are having a hard time right now. They're bearing the brunt of gas prices, inflation. Violence is also a big problem. We blame the Democrats for the failures under their leadership," McDaniel stresses.  

The final stretch of the campaign has seen leading figures from both parties multiply their presence at rallies in an attempt to mobilise the electorate. From former Republican president Donald Trump (2017-2021) to former Democratic president Barack Obama (2009-2017) and the current occupant of the White House, the also progressive Biden. 

These events have also had a special focus on the Latino voter. The Republicans have opened 21 Hispanic community centres throughout the country, according to figures provided to EFE, and the Democrats have launched "Adelante", a programme of initiatives to reach out to these voters. 

Traditionally, the party in power loses seats in mid-term elections. And when uncertainty is so high, concludes Scott Ainsworth, Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia, "any community can make a difference". 

Russian interference 

Russian businessman Evgueni Prigozhin, close to the Kremlin and sanctioned by the West, responded on Monday to accusations of alleged interference in the US election by saying Russia "has done it and will do it". "Gentlemen, we have done it, we continue to do it and we will do it in the future," Prigozhin said in response to a question about alleged interference in the US congressional elections. 

The businessman, founder of the private military company Wagner Group, said his answer should be interpreted as "subtle" and "ambiguous".

Fotografía  de archivo, el empresario Yevgeny Prigozhin, a la izquierda, muestra al presidente de Rusia, Vladimir Putin, su instalación que produce comidas escolares en las afueras de San Petersburgo, Rusia

In the same vein, and with a tone of derision, Prigozhin said that Russian interference is "surgical". "We do it with surgical precision, in our own way, the way we know how," he said. He immediately added: "During our one-off operations, we will remove the kidneys and the liver at the same time". 

Prigozhin's name has been linked in the past to a "troll" factory in St Petersburg, which allegedly launched a social media campaign in 2016 to manipulate US public opinion ahead of the presidential election won by Donald Trump.

Coordinator America: José Antonio Sierra