AMAC Exclusive – By Barry Casselman
The 2022 national mid-term elections are now entering a more decisive stage as party nominees for governorships, U.S. Senate, U.S House, and state legislators and constitutional officers are being chosen across the nation. Although a few key primaries remain in July and August, the results of primary elections involving vulnerable incumbents and their challengers are now largely known.
Polls have, for many months, signaled a likely Republican wave in 2022, but candidates do matter, even in a wave election, and the identity of who will be running is always necessary for correctly anticipating outcomes.
President Biden’s approval polls had appeared to have reached the bottom in the high 30s and low 40s, but this has not happened, and some of his poll numbers are now in the mid-30s — with no bottom in sight as he faces a falling stock market, an increasingly dire border crisis, runaway inflation, and higher gasoline prices, serious national supply chain shortages, unresolved war in Ukraine, challenges from China, and divisions within his own party. In spite of controlling both houses of Congress, albeit narrowly, his administration’s legislative program is stalled. The stock market, now in “bear” territory, signals a possible recession just before the election. Increasing numbers of Democratic leaders and strategists are openly suggesting he should not run for a second term in 2024.
Not all midterms are alike. But when a president and his policies are very unpopular, voters will make the midterm elections a referendum on their dissatisfaction — and otherwise, strong candidates of the president’s party, incumbents and challengers alike, lose their races in such a “nationalized” election.
Republicans face some obstacles, too — especially from the choice of some of their nominees in a few key races. Critics say former President Trump has inserted himself in a number of primaries, and although most of his endorsees have won, his picks in some important November contests might not be the strongest candidates. But Trump supporters argue that these candidates could have the kind of appeal that the supposedly more “conventional” Republicans rarely do. Mr. Trump’s undecided plans for 2024 have also produced some ambiguity among GOP voters — although he remains clearly the party’s most popular figure.
Democrats looking for issues with which to revive their prospects in 2022 have so far settled on Mr. Trump and the expected U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion. But this strategy might not work as well as Democrats hope. Early results in the 2022 cycle indicate that an important part of the traditional Democratic base, Hispanic voters, are abandoning the party, and to a lesser extent, so are many black, Jewish, and suburban women voters. Abortion is an issue, but polls indicate that economic issues matter more. Donald Trump gets high negatives from some women and independents, but his name is not on any 2022 ballot. Joe Biden’s negatives are now greater than Trump’s, and current polls indicate the former president would even win the popular vote if the election were held today. This does not mean new issues cannot appear to help the Democrats, but they are running out of time — with just over four months left until Election Day and even less for the growing number of early voters.
I have repeatedly made the political observation, as well, that voters make up their minds much earlier when a midterm is nationalized, especially when there is a steady stream of bad or unsettling economic news. The nosedive in the stock markets has dramatically lowered the net worth of most voters’ pension and retirement funds, and inflation continues to erase any recent worker wage gains. Lockdowns and pandemic regulations by Democratic governors in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other northern states have transformed usually easy re-elections into very competitive contests as small businesses turn back to Republican pro-business policies. President Biden’s energy policies discouraging oil, gas, and coal production are turning off eastern and midwestern voters who have voted Democratic in the past and giving strong motivation to GOP voters to turn out in November.
It is already a hot, dry summer in many parts of the country, and the national power supply will likely be tested. The Biden administration’s focus on alternative “green” energy has left the nation without vital backup power resources.
Drought, wildfires, and blackouts will not encourage voters to vote for candidates of the party in power.
The question now is perhaps not asking how big the voter wave will be in November, but how large CAN it be!
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now