According to Suzi LeVine, Democrat and former US Ambassador to Switzerland, moderation and proximity to the electorate explain her party’s better-than-expected results in the midterm elections.
Neither side has crushed the other. The Republicans have just won their 218th seat in the House of Representatives of Congress. They regain control, but only just. The Democrats keep their majority in the Senate very thin.
>> Read also: Republicans regain majority of U.S. House of Representatives
President Joe Biden’s party was announced as the loser of these elections. He ultimately misplaced fewer feathers than expected and even performed unexpectedly in several states, for example in Pennsylvania, where Democrat John Fetterman won the Republican seat in the Senate.
The program Tout Un Monde takes stock on Thursday and Friday of the mid-term elections in the United States with a personality from each party. United States Ambassador to Switzerland at the end of Barack Obama’s last term, Suzan “Suzi” LeVine is currently the Democratic Party’s deputy finance chair.
Tout Un Monde: Suzi LeVine, do these results surprise you?
Suzi LeVine: They didn’t surprise me at all. I am well aware of the large investments that have been made since 2017 to improve the Democratic Party’s infrastructure, its organization and its security…and which have really contributed to this success. And I knew that this year we could go knock on people’s doors and meet them where they are, unlike 2020 when a lot of this was done from basements and computers and conferences Zoom. And despite that, we had won in 2020.
We were able to understand the concerns of voters
So, I knew that this year we were going to really exceed the predictions of the experts and the pollsters with their computer models. They weren’t talking to the real people, on the ground. People like me and others have done it. We were able to understand the concerns of voters. The Democrats really have the advantage in some key areas. So, personally, I was not surprised and I am delighted with the results. I think they will benefit all Americans. And then, our democracy survived!
>> Read: In the United States, the Democrats retain the majority in the Senate
Hispanic and African-American voters are leaning a little more to the right, a trend already seen in previous elections. According to many analysts, the Democrats tend to invest with these electorates at the end of the campaign. Once the election is over, the party takes them for granted and doesn’t pay enough attention to them. How do you respond to that?
Suzi LeVine, then Ambassador of the United States, meets the President of the Confederation Didier Burkhalter at the Federal Palace, July 1, 2014. [LUKAS LEHMANN – KEYSTONE]It was true before. But since 2017 there’s been a lot more investment, which explains why we had big gains in 2018, which also explains how we won in 2020 and how we succeeded in 2022. And that’s not not just because we paid more attention to the populations you mentioned.
It is also more attention for the interior of our country, states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio… without forgetting the young people! We just had the second-highest youth turnout in a midterm election. So it’s very exciting about our engagement efforts throughout the year.
>> Read also: The Hispanic electorate very courted before the “midterms” in the United States
Now our operations are turning to Georgia. We must ensure that Senator Warnock wins the second round of the election. We must concentrate all the country’s resources on Georgia.
I would also like to point out that there are at least 180 voters from Georgia in Switzerland who we hope will vote. Around the world, there are 6800. We hope that they will mobilize for this very important election in Georgia.
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Three Democratic gubernatorial candidates who have been particularly successful in their election have broken with the party on certain points. For example: restrictions for Covid, crime, education or even tax cuts. This has not been common for several years. Is reaching out to political rivals the path to success?
What we have seen in this election is the victory of moderation! Whether in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Michigan or Wisconsin – and even Arizona – the electorate has spoken out to protect their rights: the right to choose what to do with their body or the right to vote.
All of the 2020 election deniers who ran lost, which is a very good sign for the country. These people, who could have taken control of our electoral process, had declared that they would install Trump in power even if he lost the election in 2024. But all of them failed!
What we have seen in this election is the victory of moderation!
American citizens and voters have expressed their need for more civility, more dialogue, more collaboration and coordination. I am especially happy to see how our elected officials have taken up this message and campaigned on this message.
Yes, these governors, as well as others, are in a unique position to rally because they are very close to their constituents. They meet with them, they have to balance budgets, they implement decisions, they manage what directly affects people’s daily lives.
>> See the 7:30 p.m. topic on the electoral failure of Donald Trump loyalists:
Within both parties, certain currents have become more radical in recent years. Are we now witnessing the opening of a new era of cooperation or is it too early to tell?
It’s too early to tell. I also refuse to speak of the two camps as if they were equivalent. I think when a party very specifically promotes policies that degrade our democracy and go against our human rights, there is no equivalence. The manipulation of electoral districts carried out in 2010 by the Republicans had broken our democracy. It took us from a representative democracy to something else.
The elections that have just been held on the basis of new, fairer maps have helped to turn the tide. I’m thinking particularly of Michigan and Pennsylvania, what’s happening across those states and across their federal representations and I think that puts us in a better direction.
I hope these results will cause the Republican Party to do some soul-searching.
Will this open up a better dialogue and will the discourse be oriented more in favor of bipartisanship? I hope so. I also hope that these results will cause the Republican Party to do some soul-searching, that it will reject the extremism of its Trumpist wing that has led it down the path of eliminating our democracy.
>> Also read: Joe Biden denounces extremist Republicans as a threat to democracy
Switzerland is a direct democracy in which citizens’ initiatives and referendums are really an institutional foundation. In the United States, the initiatives that have been adopted in the 27 American states that practice direct democracy give you a good idea of what the American people really want, as opposed to what some right-wing extremists are promoting.
And that includes women’s right to choose. There is no place for a politician in a doctor’s office: it is a person and his doctor. We must follow this example.
Take the initiatives launched across the United States over the past decade: they have advanced the cause of fair electoral boundaries. They have ensured that politicians must listen to all their constituents and cannot choose who can vote for them.
In the primary of the last presidential election, you supported Pete Buttigieg, who is currently Minister of Transport. Are you going to support him again in 2024?
Pete Buttigieg (left), Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto campaign on November 7, 2022 in Las Vegas. With the re-election of the latter, the Democrats were assured of keeping the majority in the Senate. [AP/JOHN LOCHER – KEYSTONE]Oh…I love this hidden question, which is: Will Biden run? President Biden hinted that he was going to run again but he also said – let’s be clear, I’m not speaking on his behalf – that was the current status of his project. In that case, I will support him wholeheartedly and with all my energy to make sure we keep the White House.
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And if he chooses not to run, I’ll do everything I can to make sure a Democrat becomes president, because I believe Democratic policies and platforms are the ones that support a more middle class strong and which are better for our society and our world.
We must continue to press the accelerator for 2024
So I don’t know who I will support, if not Biden, but that’s not the issue now. I’m more focused on how we’re going to win in Georgia and how we’re going to build on the fantastic work we’ve done on the Democratic ecosystem and infrastructure to make sure Democrats win at every level : municipal councils, secretaries of state, senators or the president. That’s what I’m really dedicated to.
We have achieved good results in 2022 and we must continue to press the accelerator for 2024. I am convinced that with the support of voters abroad and, of course, voters across the United States, we will succeed.
Interview by Eric Guevara-Frey
Web adaptation: friend