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Weeklies on the US mid-term elections

November 21st, 2022

Commentators don’t expect major changes after Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives, while Democrats kept the Senate under their control. Most, though not all, tip Ron DeSantis as a potential presidential election winner in two years’ time.

In Élet és Irodalom, István Dobozi believes that DeSantis is already the virtual new leader of the Republicans, after his resounding victory as governor in Florida. Meanwhile, on the Democrat side, he cannot identify a sufficiently charismatic politician who could stand a reasonable chance of mounting a credible challenge to him in 2024. In policy matters, he believes the only sphere where significant changes could occur after the mid-term elections is help to Ukraine, as Republicans have more doubts about the cost of US support than the Democrats.

In Magyar Hang, Gábor Stier sees DeSantis as the single biggest winner of the mid-term elections, who could oust Donald Trump from his controlling position in the Republican party. He describes DeSantis as being “just as ‘populist as Donald Trump”. As proof, he cites De Santis’s statement interpreting his own election as a victory over gender identities and woke ideology.

In its unsigned analysis, Heti Világgazdaság characterises Ron DeSantis as an ‘improved version of Donald Trump’. As an example, he refers to the Florida law which bars elementary schools from teaching children about diverse sexual orientations – an act similar to the law passed in Hungary two years ago on the same subject. Meanwhile, the liberal weekly admits that as governor, DeSantis has been pragmatic, unlike Donald Trump as President.

By way of contrast, Jelen’s Máté Kaló finds those commentators who take for granted DeSantis’s likelihood of winning the presidency, guilty of exaggerated optimism. The Republican electorate, he believes, is still strongly attracted to Donald Trump and although the mainstream right-wing media seems to be turning away from him, the fanatically pro-Trump rank-and-file haven’t changed their minds.

In Demokrata, András Bencsik praises DeSantis for limiting mail-in voting and banning vote harvesting – a practice whereby, he suggests, activists vote on behalf of masses of citizens who would never otherwise bother to turn up at the polling stations. Apart from that, Bencsik finds it absurd that in America, ‘the country of high-tech’, people should have to wait for the outcome of an election for several weeks.

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