Republicans Set To Rebound Big In 2022 Midterms Unless
We are just 600 short days away from the 2022 midterm elections, which means it is the perfect time to handicap the Republicans chances to win back the House, Senate and prepare a serious challenge to President Biden
Patrick Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming electionsWatch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposalSasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment voteMORE already have Democrats scrambling to flip those seats in much easier electoral terrain.
As I noted in The Hill last month, Republicans are on the hook to defend 20 of their seats in 2022, while Team Blue has just 14 seats to hold, all in states won by Joe Biden in 2020. Since March is a perfect month for sports analogies, a good defense provides for a strong offense when the status quo is Democrats retaining control of the upper chamber. While there is clearly a power in incumbency, FiveThirtyEight suggests that senate vacancies are actually more of a mixed bag. In election cycles since 1974, the party with the most Senate retirements has actually;gained;seats just as often as it has lost them. For every year like 2008, when more Republicans than Democrats retired and Republicans lost seats accordingly, theres a year like 2012, when a whopping seven Democrats retired yet the party picked up two Senate seats.
How these various Rs play out in the next few months will determine if the Rs are successful in 2022.
National View: Republican Resurgence In 2022 Already On The Horizon
Reading the political tea leaves 18 months in advance is as tricky as making a weather forecast for the same timeframe. But every so often, circumstances combine to increase the odds in the forecasters favor. Looking ahead to next years midterms is one of them. Because if things continue on their current course, Nov. 8, 2022, will be a very good night for Republicans around the country.
For starters, history is on the GOPs side going into the campaign. Theres a long track record of the incumbent presidents party losing seats during a midterm election. In fact, since 1934, only two presidents have enjoyed an increase in their partys numbers in the House and Senate: Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 and George W. Bush in 2002.
Excluding those two exceptions, losses are big for the party that occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Especially for first-term presidents and particularly in the House. Consider Presidents Donald Trump , Barack Obama , Bill Clinton , Ronald Reagan , and Gerald Ford . All were shellacked at the ballot box, resulting in significantly fewer members of their party in the House of Representatives.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the GOP also has a turnout advantage in midterms. Under Republican presidents since 1978, the GOP has enjoyed a plus-one shift toward party identification for those who vote in midterm elections. That margin swells to plus-five under Democratic presidents.
The Big Question Of The 2022 Midterms: How Will The Suburbs Swing
Democrats and Republicans are already jockeying for a crucial voting bloc that soured on Donald Trump, tilted to Joe Biden and now holds the key to the second half of the presidents term.
By Trip Gabriel
PAPILLION, Neb. Pursuing a bipartisan infrastructure deal and trumpeting a revived economy and progress against the pandemic, President Biden is trying to persuade the nation that Democrats are the party that gets things done. His message is aimed at holding on to a set of voters in next years midterms who could determine the fate of his agenda: suburbanites who abandoned former President Donald Trump in droves.
More than any other group, those independent-minded voters put Mr. Biden in the White House. Whether they remain in the Democratic coalition is the most urgent question facing the party as it tries to keep its razor-thin advantage in the House and the Senate next year.
Mr. Biden made his pitch again on Friday when he signed an executive order intended to protect consumers from the anti-competitive practices of large businesses.
But Republicans are also going to war for suburban votes. The party is painting the six-month-old Biden administration as a failure, one that has lost control of the Southwestern border, is presiding over soaring crime rates and rising prices and is on the wrong side of a culture clash over how schools teach the history of racism in America.
Its going to be a big issue in 2022, Mr. Emmer said.
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Conventional Wisdom Says The Democrats Are Finished After The Midterms But The Conventional Wisdom Might Be Wrong
In politics, the rule is treated as immutable, like the law of gravity that Isaac Newton supposedly conceived while sitting under an apple tree in 1666. The political equivalent is the dictum that the party that controls the White House is doomed to lose congressional seats in every off-year election. Presidential victories are invariably followed by an outgoing tide that takes away the winning partys congressional seats.
Like Newtons laws of physics, this one is based on intense observation of the real world. Since the Civil War, the presidents party has gained off-year House seats only three times. And many of these repudiations of a sitting president have been stunningly unequivocal: Since 1934, the Oval Office party has lost 40 or more House seats in nine off-year elections. The Senate numbers are less dramatic, but still lopsided: The party in power gained seats in just seven of 26 off-year elections since 1913, when the Seventeenth Amendment mandated direct election of senators.
At first glance, there seems to be an inherent logic to this off-year pattern, especially for Democratic presidents. In 1992, Bill Clinton won just 43 percent of the vote, and by 1994 may have overreached his shaky mandate. In 2010, Barack Obama suffered because an inadequately sized stimulus failed to solve the problem that afflicted voters: the economic pain from the Great Recession. The successful Republican cry that year was Where are the jobs?
The Party Is Rightly Worried About Polls Showing Republican Gains The Solution Is To Stop Talking About Doing Things And Start Actually Doing Them
For the better part of President Joe Bidens first year in office, theres been talk of an;FDR-size presidency;and a hot vax summer. Now we might be on the;cusp of a bipartisan infrastructure deal. The adults are in the room, and the;sensible Democrats are in ascendance. But those tides could quickly shift: During a closed-door lunch last week with some of his most vulnerable incumbents, House Democrats campaign chief delivered a blunt warning: If the midterms were held now, they would lose the majority, wrote Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle in;Politico;this week.;
At that grave meeting, New York Representative Sean Patrick Maloney , with new polling that showed Democrats falling behind Republicans by a half-dozen points on a generic ballot in battleground districts in hand, called on Democrats to course-correct before 2022 by better promoting of the Biden agenda . Democrats plan to respond to these headwinds with a messaging blitz that will highlight the White Houses ambitious plans to juice the economy and better explain what Democrats have been doing to help the Covid-ravaged country.;
Heres the good news, says Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee executive director Tim Perisco in the article: Everything we are doing and everything weve talked about doing is incredibly popular.;The funny thing, of course, about the things that Democrats are doing or talking about doing is that theyre not yet done.;
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The Unknown And The Unknowable
Despite polarization and fixed opinions of the two parties and their leaders, objective reality has at least a marginal impact on election results, and we dont know what the next 15 months hold for us, particularly in terms of the closely related topics of COVID-19 and economic trends. There is a tendency among pundits to overestimate campaigns and discrete events, and underestimate fundamentals, in understanding how voters voted. Without question, far too much credit was assigned to Newt Gingrich and his largely mythical Contract with America for what happened in 1994, as opposed to the regional realignment underway that year and the Democratic retirements it inspired. Similarly, the 2010 Republican wins were too often credited to the Tea Party movement instead of Democratic over-exposure after two consecutive winning and exciting Democratic election years.
Republicans like Lindsey Graham should beware of too much hype over the 2022 midterms. It wont take much for Republicans to retake the House, and retaking the Senate is definitely within the realm of possibility. But if Trump plays as big a role in the midterms as he apparently wants to, and his party inflates any gains into world-historical significance, getting rid of the 45th president and his brood may be impossible. And that could be a pyrrhic victory indeed.
Emerging Reasons Why The Midterms Might Not Be A Disaster For Democrats
As Republicans and Democrats stare each other down on Capitol Hill as they work through a long list of legislative fights, there is one thing in the backs of their minds: the looming midterm elections where most expect Republicans to gain power.
Or will they?
Historically, all signs point to yes. The presidents party has lost, on average, 27 US House seats during the administrations first midterm going back to World War II. In fact, there are only two times in the last century where the presidents party gained seats: 1934 and 2002, both during times of military uncertainty.
Structurally, all signs point to yes, also. Republicans need to flip just five seats to gain the majority in the US House. Changes due to redistricting, the decennial practice of reapportioning congressional seats according to changes in the US population, should provide at least that number of seats to the GOP. Democratic states like California, New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania will all lose seats in Congress, while Republicans will determine how new districts are created in faster-growing states like Texas, Florida, and Montana. Back in New England, no state will gain or lose seats, but New Hampshire Republicans are expected to redraw the lines to carve out a Republican seat from the pair of seats currently held by Democrats.
Here are three reasons why:
1. Biden is relatively popular
2. Donald Trump remains a driving force in American politics
Boston Globe video
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Senator Amy Klobuchar Joins Jonathan Capehart To Discuss The New Restrictive Voting Laws
In three areas, the Republican Party is working to win elections not by persuading new voters to subscribe to their ideas, but by making their opponents incapable of victory.
I wrote last week about the choice Democrats face in whether to ban gerrymandering nationwide ahead of the 2022 midterms. While there are groups that want to end gerrymandering entirely, like former Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, it has been an uphill climb to get politicians on board with giving up one of the most palatable uses of pure partisan power.
That works out well, though, for Republicans, who 10 years ago used their success in the 2010 midterms to draw favorable electoral maps that made it easier for them to keep control of the House. And that was done with the Voting Rights Act still in place to help keep their worst excesses in check.
In three areas, the Republican Party is working to win elections not by persuading new voters to subscribe to their ideas, but by making their opponents incapable of victory.
Is that the same as stripping people of their right to vote? No. But it does raise the difficulty of casting a vote. And in cases like the above, in which it was mostly urban, minority voters who took advantage of these easier voting methods, there is a definite attempt to reshape the electorate in effect.
I Do Not Buy That A Social Media Ban Hurts Trumps 2024 Aspirations: Nate Silver
sarah: Yeah, Democrats might not have their worst Senate map in 2022, but it will by no means be easy, and how they fare will have a lot to do with the national environment. And as we touched on earlier, Bidens overall approval rating will also make a big difference in Democrats midterm chances.
nrakich: Yeah, if the national environment is even a bit Republican-leaning, that could be enough to allow solid Republican recruits to flip even Nevada and New Hampshire. And then it wouldnt even matter if Democrats win Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
One thing is for sure, though whichever party wins the Senate will have only a narrow majority, so I think were stuck in this era of moderates like Sens. Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski controlling every bills fate for at least a while longer.;
sarah: Lets talk about big picture strategy, then, and where that leaves us moving forward. Its still early and far too easy to prescribe election narratives that arent grounded in anything, but one gambit the Republican Party seems to be making at this point is that attacking the Democratic Party for being too progressive or woke will help them win.
What do we make of that playbook headed into 2022? Likewise, as the party in charge, what are Democrats planning for?
With that being said, the GOPs strategies could still gin up turnout among its base, in particular, but its hard to separate that from general dissatisfaction with Biden.
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Possible 2010 Or 2014 Midterm Repeat
Big bets on policy also don’t necessarily pay off at the ballot box, a lesson Democrats learned a decade ago when they passed the Affordable Care Act. President Barack Obama’s domestic policy achievement also helped decimate congressional Democratic majorities in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections.
It’s just one reason why Republicans feel good about their chances in 2022, along with structural advantages like the redistricting process, where House districts are redrawn every decade to reflect population changes. Republicans control the process in more states and are better positioned to gain seats.
“This deck is already stacked, because they’ve been gerrymandering these districts,” Maloney says. “And now they’re trying to do even more of it and add to that with these Jim Crow-style voter suppression laws throughout the country.”
He maintains that efforts among Republican-led state legislatures to enact more voting restrictions show the party has a losing policy hand for the midterm elections.
‘the Beast Is Growing’: Republicans Follow A Winning At All Costs Strategy Into The Midterms
Much remains uncertain about the midterm elections more than a year away including the congressional districts themselves, thanks to the delayed redistricting process. The Senate, meanwhile, looks like more of a toss-up.
House Democrats think voters will reward them for advancing President Joe Biden’s generally popular agenda, which involves showering infrastructure money on virtually every district in the country and sending checks directly to millions of parents. And they think voters will punish Republicans for their rhetoric about the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2020 election.
“Democrats are delivering results, bringing back the economy, getting people back to work, passing the largest middle-class tax cut in history, while Republicans are engaged in frankly violent conspiracy theory rhetoric around lies in service of Donald Trump,” said Tim Persico, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
But the challenges Democrats face are real and numerous.
They knew they would face a tough 2022 immediately after 2020, when massive, unexpected GOP gains whittled the Democratic majority to just a handful of seats.
“House Republicans are in a great position to retake the majority,” said Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, “but we are taking nothing for granted.”
His rural district had been trending Republican for years. Kind won re-election last year by just about 10,000 votes.
Will 2022 Be A Good Year For Republicans
A FiveThirtyEight Chat
Welcome to FiveThirtyEights politics chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.
sarah : Were still more than a year away from the 2022 midterm elections, which means it will be a while before we should take those general election polls too seriously. But with a number of elections underway in 2021, not to mention a number of special elections, its worth kicking off the conversation around what we do and dont know about Republicans and Democrats odds headed into the midterms.
Lets start big picture. The longstanding conventional wisdom is that midterm elections generally go well for the party thats not in the White House. Case in point: Since 1946, the presidents party has lost, on average, 27 House seats.
What are our initial thoughts? Is the starting assumption that Republicans should have a good year in 2022?
alex : Yes, and heres why: 2022 will be the first federal election after the House map are redrawn. And because Democrats fell short of their 2020 expectations in state legislative races, Republicans have the opportunity to redraw congressional maps that are much more clearly in their favor. On top of that, Republicans are already campaigning on the cost and magnitude of President Bidens policy plans to inspire a backlash from voters.
geoffrey.skelley :Simply put, as that chart above shows, the expectation is that Democrats, as the party in the White House, will lose seats in the House.;
nrakich : What they said!
Gop Sees Biden Crises As Boon For Midterm Recruitment
Republicans are hopeful that a whirlwind of foreign and domestic crises facing the Biden administration will aid their recruitment efforts and convince top-tier candidates to jump into marquee Senate and House races ahead of the 2022 midterms.
The GOP has been pounding President BidenJoe BidenManchin would support spending plan of at most .5T: reportSouth Dakota governor issues executive order restricting access to abortion medicineMORE and congressional Democrats for months on an array of issues, from a surge in attempted border crossings to their COVID-19 response to inflation. But with the mushrooming crisis in Afghanistan grabbing headlines and shocking;the nation, Republicans believe;it is;the middle of a perfect storm that could persuade prominent Republicans to get off the bench and into top-tier midterm contests.
For any Republican wavering on running for office in the midterms, I must say the water looks warm with inflation ablaze, COVID not vanquished and now this Afghanistan crisis, said GOP donor Dan Eberhart.
Republicans were already oozing confidence that they could make gains in the midterms given the historical trend that the party in the White House typically loses seats during the first midterm of a new administration.
But operatives say that the fumbling of the evacuation in Afghanistan, while alarming, makes for a political environment that is all the more favorable for Republicans.
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