Saturday, March 30, 2024

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Dysfunction Or Discipline In U.S. House in 2025?

The most significant Republican win in 2022

(an election year mostly disappointing for them) 

was the retaking control of the U,S, House of 

Representatives The margin was small, but

enough to end the reign of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Under the new GOP speaker, Kevin McCarthy, a

period of some political balance returned to the

nation’s capital.

But the slim conservative majority was  severely

handicapped by unruly division which eventually

brought down McCarthy and turned  the lower

house into what it is today —- a  dysfunctional

political jumble.    

Some frustrated members (including McCarthy)

have not only chosen not to run for re-election,

but to resign now — with the result that the G0P

majority is down to only one seat. This virtually

guarantees that nothing of consequence will

come from what remains of this session.   

Thus, the now likely success of the GOP to

retake control of the U.S. Senate next January

might well be the reverse in its efforts to keep

control of the U.S. House.

For most of their history, the political parties’

membership held a certain range within the 

party’s overall ideological direction, including

opposing views on abortion and other so-called

“hot button” issues.

Today, this range is much less tolerated by party

activists. and particularly in thr GOP House

caucus. (A major reason why Republicans look

strong in 2024 senate races is that it supports 

more moderate nominees in states where hard-line 

conservative views are not popular.)

The larger body, the House, is much more likely

to elect moderates of both parties because of the

wide range of congressional districts across the


Former Speaker Pelosi ran her narrow caucus

majority with extreme discipline. The Republicans,

if they have a small majority again in the next

session, will have to learn how to do the same.

Another session like the current one would almost

certainly lead to defeat of many GOP nominees in

subsequent elections.

Unlike GOP prospects in the Senate, the House

results in 2024 are much less clear. Retirements

in both parties continue — already a very large

number of open seats will be contested in 

November. Some district lines have yet to be

finallly determined, and several party nominees

have yet to be chosen.

The presidential election also looms heavily over

the 2024 cycle.Many voters, unhappy with both

now-presumptive nominees, might well not vote

in the election, making polling misleading and

predictions of close races useless.


Copyright (c) 2024 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, March 6, 2024

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: After Super Tuesday, 2024

With the results of the Super Tuesday primaries known,

and the subsequent withdrawals of Nikki Haley and

Dean Phillips from their presidential races, the nominees

of the two major parties, as selected by the voters, are

now known.

The unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court

preventing any nominee from being excluded from a

state ballot, means that both the major parties/ tickets

will appear on all state ballots.

But three major questions remain.

First, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear former

President Donald Trump’s appeal claiming immunity

from prosecution on April 25. Other appeals on specific

indictments of Trump are pending. Should the Court

agree to the immunity claim, most prosecutions of

Trump would cease. if the Court denies immunity, the

trials would proceed, but even if they do, it is uncertain

if they can occur or be concluded before election day 

in November.

The second question is whether or not President Joe

Biden will withdraw before or during the Democrat's

convention. He is under major pressure to so because

of persisting low favorability in almost all polling, and

the desire of a great many Democratic voters for a

younger nominee.

The third question is what many unhappy Democrats, 

Republicans and independents will do if  the ballot

in November is Biden vs. Trump. Will they vote for third

party candidates? Will they stay home, or vote only in

down-ballot races?

The past week has answered some major questions, 

but as noted previously, key questions remain.

Several House and Senate primaries were also held 

on Super Tuesday. The one Senate primary that

attracted much attention was in California where

two separate races for the same seat were on the

ballot. The first was to fill the seat of the late Diane

Feinstein from the election to January, 2025; and

the second was for the full six-year term beginning

in 2025. (A gubernatorial appointee currently holds

the seat.)

Because there are many more registered

Democrats than Republicans in California, it has

been widely assumed to be a safe liberal seat in

November, and three major Democrats announced

they were running. California has so-called “jungle

primaries’ in which the two top votegetters, even

if in th same party, are on the ballot in November.

Initially it was thought no Republican would make

it to the November ballot, but retired local major

league baseball star Steve Garvey entered the race

late, and without political advertising, surged to tie

frontrunner Congressman Adam Schiff on one

ballot and beat him by 200,000 votes on the other


Political experts have been writing that Garvey’s

primary success doesn’t matter because there

will be many more Democrats voting in California in

November. But celebrity Garvey will have millions

to spend now to November, and Schiff cannot take

this race for granted. Like recent developments in

Maryland and New Mexico Senate races, California

is a previously a safe seat, Democrats will now have 

to take seriously.


Copyright( (c) 2024 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 26, 2024

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: The 2024 Election Is Getting Murkier, Not Clearer

The 2024 presidential primary voters' role is

meaningfully over, even before most of the

primaries have taken place. The result in

South Carolina only reinforrced this reality as 

Republican voters overwhelmingly rejected the

only remaining GOP challenger, Nikki Haley,

solidifying presumptive conservative nominee, 

former President Donald Trump.

No serious challenger to President Joe Biden in

the other major party contest even entered the 

race as the Democrats’ establishment prevented

any potential major candidate from even 

challenging the incumbent.

The voters likely will have little, if any, final say

on who the nominees will be. From here, those

determinations will be settled in various court

rooms, including the one occupied by nine U.S.

Supreme Court justices; and in private discussions

of party leaders.

The announcement by Nella Domenici that she is

running for the U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico

currently held by  Democrat Martin Heinrichs, was

the second blow in a week to the already shaky

prospects for  Democrats to keep control of the

Senate in 2025. The daughter of long-time New 

Mexico senator, the lat Pete Domenici, she puts

the race, previously rated “safe Democrat, in play,

adding still another incumbent to face a tough

race. Earlier, the open but usually safe Maryland

seat held by retiring Democrat Ben Cardin also

put in play when popular former GOP Governor

Larry Hogan announced his candidacy in usually

liberal Maryland. Now ten  incumbent seats

held by Democrats are in varying stages of


With district boundaries still not finally settled In

some key states, the prospects of the Republicans

to keep control of the U.S. House is very murky.

Their margin of control is now barely enough, due

to sudden retirements and the loss of a seat in a

recent New York special election. The divisiveness

that brought down Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier

in the year has returned to endanger the brief

speakership of his successor, Mike Johnson, and

the GOP goes into the 2024 campaign, with all

435 seats on the ballot, lacking a unified message,

Many incumbent Democrats will be retiring, and

some of them leave vulnerable seats in their wake.

Both sides face the chaos ar rhe top of their

tickets that could keep notable numbers of usually

reliable Democrats and Republicans at home —

making traditional polling less useful than normal,

and further blurring the political picture at a time

when it usually begins to focus.


Copyright (c) 2024 by Barry Casselman. All rightd reserved.