On November 22, the Ghislain Dufour Business Forum hosted our colleague John Parisella, Special Advisor. John shared with us his observations on the evolution of the situation in the United States almost two days after President Joe Biden's midterm elections and on the possible impact of these results on Canada-US relations.
First observation: American democracy works! Both President Biden's calls on the importance of maintaining a healthy democratic life and the fears of the female electorate about the legality of abortion and its accessibility seemed to have had a significant impact on the vote. Moreover, even though Republicans had mixed success (the Senate is still under Democratic control), Parisella believes that former President Trump has not disappeared from the political landscape. He compared the emerging dissension among Republicans to the situation in the Democratic Party in the 1960s—especially in the South—when American society was under enormous strain due to racial discrimination and the assassination of political and religious leaders.
A second observation: President Biden now has time to decide on his political future. Even if the governance of the country risks being torn in the medium term, Mr. Biden could probably play to his advantage the separation of powers that characterises the American political system to try to convince Republican elected representatives in the House of Representatives to support him in order to ensure the adoption of certain bills deemed to be priorities.
As for the prospects for the 2024 presidential election, several factors could have a significant influence on the outcome, starting with President Biden's health and the possible candidates to succeed him. The rise in popularity of Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, combined with possible lawsuits against former president Donald Trump, could also have an impact on the Republican vote.
Possible impacts on Canada?
As for the impact of the midterms on Canada-US relations, Parisella believes that this decade will not be easy. Canadian politicians will have to continue to navigate the pitfalls of the Buy American Act and the litigation generated by Michigan's intention to force the closure of Enbridge's "Line 5", a pipeline that carries oil to refineries in Sarnia, Ontario. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been trying for two years to shut down the line, fearing an oil leak in the Straits of Mackinac.