The U.S. Midterm Elections Strengthened Biden’s Foreign Policy Hand

The U.S. Midterm Elections Strengthened Biden’s Foreign Policy Hand
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at Howard Theater in Washington, Nov. 10, 2022 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

The results of this week’s midterm congressional elections in the U.S. are not yet fully known. Control of the House of Representatives and the Senate hangs in the balance, with a few toss-up races still to be decided. Nevertheless, the most likely outcome, and one that was expected heading into the election, is that the House will be controlled by a slim majority of Republicans and the Senate will remain in the hands of the Democrats. Divided government will be the norm in Washington for the next two years.

This election, like most in the U.S., came down to the domestic issues that voters care most about, namely their pocketbooks. Foreign policy considerations were marginal, with the possible exception of immigration, which generated heated political debate and was invoked regularly by candidates. But immigration is also the exception that proves the rule: The debate is less about what happens outside the country and more about who enters it. In other words, it’s still largely a domestic issue.

But while domestic issues were voters’ primary concern and the domestic impact of the elections will be most immediate, the midterms nevertheless do matter for U.S. foreign policy and global affairs more generally.

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