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U.S. Elections' Effect on Africa - Analysts

A pedestrian walks through the U.S. Flags on the National Mall and past the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, Nov. 7, 2022, one day before the midterm election will determine the control of the U.S. Congress.

The US-midterm elections on Tuesday decide which party takes control of Congress two years into President Joe Biden’s administration, with implications for the African continent.

There are a record 61 African-Americans in the 117th Congress, 11.3 percent of the total membership. That’s four times more than the previous Congress.

Theodore R. Johnson, senior advisor at New America, a Washington-based think tank told VOA "This tells us that concerns of Black Americans are being heard because of the increased number of Black Americans in Congress."

"Black folks now have a seat at the table and the corridors of power that didn’t exist decades ago," he said.

But Johnson added that despite the hike in the number of non-white voters, happenings on the African continent - especially sub-Saharan Africa - "have not sufficiently captured the nation’s attention beyond national security circles, and foreign policy."

"In this mid-term, I think Americans are preoccupied with inflation, cultural wars around abortion, equal rights and voting rights with some people caring about the war in Ukraine."

Regarding Africa, Republicans have chastised the Biden administration for its slow pace at signing off sanctions against undemocratic leaders there.

But U.S. political commentator Calvin Dark told VOA that both Democratic and Republican administrations have not "prioritized our relationship with Africa in a way that I think they should."

"Foreign policy isn’t a high priority for American voters, although I think that it should be," he said.

He added that "there are many Republican leaders now who are very much against spending more U.S dollars outside of the country."

He continued that "with our state of the economy, I could see that being something that Republicans could put a stop to or at least decrease."

House member Marjorie Taylor Green, representing part of the state of Georgia, said she wants a halt or substantial reduction in spending on foreign nations - including Ukraine. But that's her opinion, not the official Republican stated position..

In this mid-term elections, all 435 seats at the House of Representatives are up for grabs including 35 of the 100 Senate seats, 36 governorships, along with state offices for secretary of state and attorney general.

The ruling Democratic Party presently has a thin majority over the Republican Party in the House, and the two parties are effectively currently tied in the Senate, with VP Kamala Harris giving the Democrats a "tie breaker" majority.

Republican control of either or both sides of Capitol Hill would hamper the Biden administration's legislative agenda.

Analyst Johnson told VOA that "it is expected that the Republican party will win at least the House of Representative, and perhaps the Senate."

"If they do that will likely bring President Biden’s policy agenda to a halt and we’re likely to see a lot of inter-branch struggles between Congress and the White House – which could lead to government shutdown or questions about impeachment of either the president himself or some of his cabinet officials. And so the stakes are extremely high."

If the Republicans indeed take one or both houses of Congress, Johnson's expectations of endless inter-party warfare would indeed take up lawmakers' time and attention.

And in that struggle, Africa may be left out of their sight.