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History Says Democrats Are Destined to Lose the Midterms

Joe Biden. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.
U.S. President Joe Biden reacts as he makes a statement about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas shortly after Biden returned to Washington from his trip to South Korea and Japan, at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Democrats Seem Destined for Trouble: We are within three weeks of the midterm elections. Projections have been difficult to peg as the election cycle has been somewhat tumultuous. War, inflation, scandal, and a historic Supreme Court ruling have all complicated election forecasts.

The common wisdom, in the year preceding the midterm, was that the in-power party – the Democrats – would suffer a setback. That is the historical trend, after all. Contemporary events and polls supported the notion that the historical trend would continue in 2022. President Biden’s popularity was remarkably low – lower than any modern president’s, even Jimmy Carter or Donald Trump’s ever was. Inflation was the highest it had been in forty years. Estimates projected a “red wave,” a GOP take-back of the House and Senate, as voters voiced their displeasure with the current administration.

Then, in late summer, the Democrats gained some momentum. The Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, which revoked Roe v. Wade’s abortion protections, was highly unpopular. Voters blamed Republicans – correctly – and Democrats enjoyed a boost. Biden’s popularity rebounded. Gas prices lowered, slightly. Republican candidates in key Senate races faltered. Democrats appeared to be mitigating the damage, perhaps staging a comeback.

Now however, POLITICO has released a brand new poll that shows Republicans are strongly favored to “win” the midterms.

Two primary issues appear to be driving the GOP resurgence. The first is abortion. After the Dobbs ruling, and especially after Kansas voted down a law to wholesale ban abortions, Republicans backed off the abortion rhetoric. The change in tack was significant, given that Republicans had long since used abortion to motivate their evangelical base. Now, suddenly, abortion was a lightning rod for criticism. The mainstream Republican party even distanced themselves from Senator Linsday Graham, a party stalwart, when he proposed a total ban on abortions after 15-weeks. Wisely, Republicans have instead been discussing hot topics like crime and immigration – which the general population believes Republicans, rather than Democrats, are more equipped to handle effectively.

Second is the economy. The Federal Reserve and the Biden administration have not been able to reduce inflation. Americans are suffering. Gas is nearing $6 per gallon in some locations. Yet, simultaneously, the Fed/Biden efforts to reduce inflation are believed to have the potential to create another recession. Again, the general population trusts Republicans are best equipped to handle inflation and the economy, representing a problem for Democrats hoping to maintain their hold on Congress. Especially given that POLITICO’s new poll demonstrated that the economy and inflation are the absolute top issues for voters this fall. 81 percent of voters indicated that the economy would play a “major role” in their vote choice. 80 percent said the same for inflation.

The other issues at the front of voters’ minds bode well for Republicans, too. 64 percent of voters said that crime would play a “major role” in their vote. 57 percent said so for gun policy. 55 percent for immigration. By comparison, abortion, the issue Democrats were hoping to lean on through the midterms, was cited 59 percent of the time.

What POLITICO’s poll means on the ground is that two previously blue districts are now up for grabs. The 13th District in California (which Biden won by 11 points) is in play for Republicans. Ditto the 6th District in which Biden won by 14 points). In Oregon, Republicans have a chance to flip three of Oregon’s six congressional seats (which is one of the reasons Biden campaigned in Oregon last week).

Florida now appears to be out of reach for the Democrats. Ron DeSantis is becoming a GOP powerhouse. And increasingly, in the richest bit of political irony, Democrats are losing Latino voters. Democrats are slowly learning that you don’t win Latino votes with Google Doodles of Frida Kahlo or the Latinx designation but with job opportunities and safe neighborhoods. Go figure.

And now, in light of the shifting tides, Democrats are abandoning races they had previously committed resources toward, like in Wisconsin and Arizona.

The see-sawing between likely midterm outcomes is nearly over. The safest bet is consistent with the historical trend; the out-of-power party, the GOP, seems most likely to “win” the midterm elections.

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.