2018 was a surprising year for politics around the world, but especially for India and the United States of America, the two biggest democracies in the world. While India saw the by-elections to the Lok Sabha, elections to the Rajya Sabha, and to other legislative assemblies, councils and local bodies before the general elections to be held in 2019, the US saw the midterm elections which take place in the middle of the incumbent President’s term.
In India, the National Democratic Alliance – with its leader as Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party– has been in power since the 2014 general elections.
But to everyone’s astonishment, states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh saw Congress’s revival in coming back to power. This means Rajiv Gandhi and Congress pose a huge threat to Narendra Modi and BJP in the upcoming general elections in 2019, even though they failed to make an impression in states like Telangana and Mizoram.
In the US, there were winners and losers on both sides. While Republican President Donald Trump is currently in power, the Democrats won control of the House in the midterm elections. This means they now have the option to carry out investigations, if needed, on the Trump administration. The Republican Party has maintained control of the US Senate.
However, the main reason the US midterm elections were so surprising is the number of diverse candidates to come to power – from Democrat Jared Polis of Colorado, the first gay man to lead a US state, to Democrat Juliana Stratton, the first black woman to hold the position of lieutenant governorship – and at least 99 women have won House seats, of whom only a dozen are Republicans.
Even better is the news of the impressive and rather massive voter turnout in the United States midterm elections. Over 114 million people voted, which is 31 million more than the number of people who voted in the 2014 midterms. This is largely due to the impact of social media, with everyone from the neighbourhood mailman to Taylor Swift encouraging their followers and friends to vote for a better America.
2019 is going to be a very interesting year for both India and America. From the general elections in India to the repercussions of the midterm elections in America, Narendra Modi and Donald Trump are going to have a very tough battle ahead of them. Here’s wishing the best to both countries, democracies, and governments.