Yes, the Democrats Can Still Win in November
Although pundits will try to persuade you otherwise, we are in a dynamic situation going into the fall campaign season: let's take a close look at Mehmet Oz and JD Vance
Happy Friday, friends—just a reminder that the COVID caseload is rising, and although deaths seem to be holding steady, hospitalizations with this new variant are up. Be careful out there—and if you know someone who would enjoy today’s offering, please:
I am puzzled by how quick the mainstream media have been to bury the Democratic party as we approach the 2022 midterms. So much of this is not fact-based reporting, mind you: it is prognostication based on history, Biden’s low approval rating, inflation, gas prices, and the general bad juju that journalists channel for every worried liberal in the country.
Yet the predictions of a “red wave” in November 2022, while based on the reality that sitting presidents often lose the House in their first midterm election, have seemed pompous, almost spiteful, and lacking in the kind of nuance you would expect educated people to bring to the table. Criticisms range from Joe Biden isn’t doing enough, to Joe Biden is trying to do too much, and now they seem to be trying to pressure the President into recognizing that he is too old to run for a second term.
In this scenario, the fate of Congress is tied to the president’s popularity, a silly metric if there ever was one. For example, in November 2021, Nate Cohn of the New York Times was all doom and gloom. “The political winds seem to blow against the president’s party almost as soon as a new party seizes the White House,” he wrote, noting Joe Biden’s anemic approval ratings as the final nail in the Democrats’ coffin. “For decades, political scientists have observed a so-called thermostatic backlash in public opinion, in which voters instinctively move to turn down the temperature when government runs too hot in either party’s favor.”
As a result, Cohn predicted that the Democrats would surely lose the House and perhaps even the Senate, leaving Joe Biden a lonely little petunia in an onion patch. And as early as December 2021, the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman produced an electoral map based on available redistricting plans, with the GOP picking up as many as 17 seats, while the National Republican Party Congressional Committee claimed they had a good shot at flipping 70 seats.
Well, here’s the deal, folks: things are starting to swing in the Democrats’ favor. Let’s start with the upper chamber. Currently, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight sees a Democratic Senate in January 2023, with the greatest likelihood of a one-seat pickup—but perhaps as many as six seats. Of course, that still doesn’t get us to the filibuster-proof 60. But it’s a lot better than holding up votes until Pat Leahy’s hip surgery heals, worrying that a Democratic Senator in a state with a Republican Governor will die, and constantly wooing Manichinema. And it’s a whole heck of a lot better than putting Moscow Mitch back in charge and giving him a House of Representatives to play with.
And while Silver still favors Republicans to win the House, giving Democrats only a 17% chance of holding their majority, some forecasters see a scenario in which Democrats not only keep the House but also pick up two seats. Yes. This is what political journalists are not telling you.
OK, it isn’t likely, but it’s possible, and what I want to emphasize is that the political situation is dynamic at present. The other thing is that most journalists, after all this time, still do not fully understand the nuances of MAGA politics and the possibility that Donald Trump’s endorsements may have tipped primary candidates over the top who will not survive a general election.
There are two races to look at here: Ohio and Pennsylvania.
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