Monday, May 31, 2021


At any given moment in political time there is a larger
perspective possible, but often in electoral cycles, that “big
picture” evades reliable conclusions.

The 2022 national mid-term elections will be primarily
about control of the two houses of Congress --- and whether
the Biden administration will be able to enact its goals and
policies beyond what it was able to accomplish in its first
two years. That much is clear and obvious.

But because voters in each major party are somewhat divided
among themselves, and Democratic control of the U.S. house
and senate is very slight, it is unclear what President Biden
and his party will achieve in the next several months before
they go again to the voters. This is further complicated by the
apparent end to a traumatic national and global pandemic,
and the consequent effort to revive the economy.

A consensus is now emerging that Democratic control of the
U.S, house might be lost in 2022.  Most observers list more
than 40 incumbent Democratic seats as vulnerable, but less
than 20 GOP seats at risk. In addition, reapportionment and
redistricting appears to have given Republicans the advantage
for 5-10 additional seats. But these advantages are so far only
on paper. Actual voting is 18 months away, and present trends
could change to the Democrats’ advantage. On the other hand,
a ”red” wave election might switch 25-50 seats to the GOP
next year.

There is no current consensus about who will control the U.S.
senate in 2023. Each party has 4-5 vulnerable incumbent seats.
With 5 GOP incumbents retiring, the conservatives face an
uphill battle to break the current 50-50 tie, which with Vice
President Kamala Harris’s vote gives Democrats control.
It is sill early enough in the cycle for more retirements. Since
so much money is required for a senate race these days, most
vacancy and vulnerable 2022 races are already heavily
populated with aspiring candidates. As in the recent past, the
quality of he candidates recruited and nominated will be a
major factor in the outcome of the senate races.

There will be some colorful gubernatorial contests in 2022,
including New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin
and Nevada, but Republican dominance of states is likely to
continue. The liberal urban and conservative rural/exurban
divide is expected to persist --- although local elections in
2021 could signal some new rends in these areas.

The biggest unknown about 2022 will be public reception to
the Democratic policies agenda that includes packing the U.S.
supreme court, open immigration, defunding police, growing
anti-Israel attitudes, and energy policies unfavorable to U.S.
consumers and workers --- an agenda which even veteran
liberal pollsters and strategists say now has uneven support
among traditional liberal voters, and  overall majorities
against them in the general electorate.

Copyright (c) 2021 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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