US midterms: what is the upshot?

Six days after the US congressional elections, the final results in both chamber are still not clear. The Democrats were able to maintain their majority in the Senate after a crucial victory in Nevada. Europe's press identifies various messages in the results.

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Mediapart (FR) /

Trump's candidacy not off to a good start

For Mediapart the Democrats' victory in Nevada has two direct consequences:

“The first is that they retain control over the appointment of federal judges, including Supreme Court justices. ... The second is that Donald Trump has been put in a difficult position. The former president had planned to announce his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election on 15 November. The timing for this could have been better, especially since the Republican is being held partly responsible for his party's failure.”

El País (ES) /

Moderation is the order of the day

Essayist Yascha Mounk hopes in El País that US politics will become less polarised:

“It's unclear who will control Congress, but two things are clear: moderation can pay big dividends in the elections, and Donald Trump has become a liability for the Republicans. ... In virtually every state where multiple Republican candidates were on the ballot it was the most moderate candidate who won most votes. ... Democrats who have moved away from the progressive wing of the party also did well. ... To have the best chances in 2024, a candidate should be selected who is able to reach out beyond the party's base. If both parties learn this lesson, we could be looking at a less polarised, less dangerous era in US politics.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Red card for Trump, yellow for Biden

The Democrats are by no means off the hook, Gazeta Wyborcza warns:

“In a way, the figure of Trump, which overshadowed the Republican campaign, has offset Biden's negative effect. The election was supposed to be a referendum on the unpopular president, but it also turned into a referendum on his predecessor. While Trump was shown the red card by voters, Biden only got yellow.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

US is not in decline

Chief editor Alexis Papachelas comments in Kathimerini:

“The debate about whether America still has the strength to be reborn or whether it is heading down the path of inevitable decline has been going on for a long time. Many thought that the ultimate test would be whether Trump is re-elected as president in 2024. At the moment, that seems unlikely. ... I still remember a conversation I had with a very important European politician. I asked her: 'What keeps you awake at night?' She replied: 'Trump's re-election'. When I asked why, she said: 'Because it will be the end of the West'. I guess she must have watched last Tuesday's results with relief.”

Sme (SK) /

Obama would have envied Biden

Biden will have room to manoeuvre in the second half of his term of office even without a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, Sme predicts:

“The profiles of the Republican winners give no guarantee that they will act uniformly in passing laws. On the contrary, if Biden is smart enough he will be able to create voting majorities here and there with moderate non-Trump Republicans. ... US analysts add that Republicans in the House of Representatives may have trouble achieving a majority even on issues on which they cannot agree with the Democrats for now. From this point of view it can be said that Biden is in a better position than Obama, whose midterm results disrupted his entire agenda twice in a row.”

Trud (BG) /

Trump has shown what he can't do

The great effort Trump put into the campaign may now be chalked up as a personal defeat for him, Trud suspects:

“Donald Trump has led an extremely active campaign: 30 rallies in 17 states, more than 60 video conference appearances at campaign events, 50 fundraising events and more than 300 million US dollars raised through his personal efforts for the campaign. ... The Republicans's failure to win a landslide victory in the midterms may now legitimise a number of voices within the party who believe that Ron DeSantis would be more successful than Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential race.”

Expresso (PT) /

Republicans' chances improve with DeSantis

The Republicans may find a way to break away from Trump after Ron DeSantis's clear victory in Florida, writes essayist Henrique Raposo in Expresso:

“DeSantis's victory is key because it gives an indication of what a conservative coalition beyond Trump's white bigotry might look like. With Trump, the GOP has become the party of white Christians, or rather of white evangelicals. Moreover, Trump's boorishness has led privileged white suburbanites to abandon the Republicans in favour of Biden. What can Ron DeSantis do now? He can woo the suburbs and above all the minorities, especially Latinos.”

Postimees (EE) /

Common sense prevailed

For Postimees the most important result is that Trump has emerged weakened:

“This is a clear sign for the Republicans: Trump's political instinct, which once allowed him to become president, has lost its edge. Or the social mood no longer favours people like him. ... For Europe and the free world, the main thing is that US support for a rules-based world order remains unshakeable. In this respect the midterms are unlikely to bring any major changes. This is also understood by the Kremlin, whose spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that relations between Russia and the US remain poor.” (UA) /

A good outcome for Ukraine

Things couldn't have gone better for Kyiv, writes Alexei Honcharenko, a member of parliament for Petro Poroshenko's party European Solidarity, in a Facebook post republished by

“As far as the US is concerned, these are very good results for Ukraine. Very good. Those who strongly opposed aid to Ukraine - for the most part - did not make it into the Senate or the House of Representatives. While a few of them managed to win, their number is insignificant and they will not find support in either house of Congress. Ukraine will be supported by two parties in Congress.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Soul of the US still in danger

The political climate in the US remains unsettling, laments US correspondent Valérie de Graffenried in Le Temps:

“These elections should not hide the fact that nearly 300 Republicans who doubt the outcome of the 2020 presidential election ran at the national or local level. And around 200 were elected. This is where the main danger for the country lies. Whatever happens, Trumpism will survive. Conspiracy theories and fake news will continue to spread, accusations of 'stolen elections' will multiply. And the disrepute into which the electoral process has fallen is reinforcing the climate of paranoia and mistrust. A fertile magma for the eruption of new political violence. No, the soul of the US has not been saved.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Europe cannot rely on Washington

The positions backed by Trump are still gaining support, Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, head of the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund think tank, concurs in Le Monde:

“Recent US policy decisions point to a return of the unilateralism and protectionism that characterised the Trump administration. Is Biden's presidency not in fact just an interlude in a longer Trumpisation sequence in US policy? Europe has learned from the Trump years that the US does not always coordinate with its European partners, and that Europe must be able and prepared to act alone.”