Tuesday, October 18, 2022

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Blue Typhoon Or Red Cyclone?

There are a number of words we use to describe a

powerful storm, including tornado, hurricane, gale,

cyclone, typhoon, and tempest — and words we use

to describe a powerful influx of water, including flood,

tide, wave and tsunami — so just the right word to 

describe a powerful mass human action might 

employ any of these.

A few days before the 2022 national U.S. midterm

election, there is growing evidence that the voters in

this cycle might deliver a powerful message to those

who hold political power, but it is not clear if this

electoral statement will be relatively uniform across

the country or more localized to a particular region.

If the electoral message were to be from the West 

and West Coast, we might prefer to call it a typhoon

like  the storms in the Pacific Ocean, If it comes from

the Midwest, we might prefer tornado or cyclone, If

from the South, we might call it a hurricane like the

storms that rage through the Caribbean and Gulf of

Mexico. If from the East, the word we might choose is

a gale. If it occurs in all regions, it will likely be called

a wave.

It is not known if the voters will make any kind of storm.

Like weather forecasting, political predictions are 

ultimately guesswork. Both use a variety of statistics,

and often rely on precedents, but until a storm hits or

voters actually vote no one knows with certainty what

will happen.

Pundits also designate a partisan nature to their

assessment of a vote by applying “red” to Republicans,

“blue” to Democrats, and “purple” to a mixed result. 

This color code acts as a shorthand method, but it only

describes the winners and losers. There is no color

applied to independents or non-affiliated voters

because candidates who are neither Democratic nor

Republican very rarely win elections. An exception to

this are the occasional environmental issue voters and

candidates who are labeled “green.”

The 2022 national mid-term elections do not seem

likely to fail to make an interim judgment of the voter

mood. In 1934, newly-elected (in 1932) President

Franklin Roosevelt was so popular that his party gained

nine seats from Republicans in the U.S. house, and

Republicans lost ten U.S. senate seats. The only other

times that happened was in 1998 and 2002. More

frequently, the party of the incumbent first-term president

loses seats in the Congress, sometimes dramatically, as

happened in 1994 and 2010.

[Incidentally, one of the 1934 Democratic senate pick-ups 

was by a former haberdasher in Missouri named Harry


Democratic Joe Biden has one of the most unfavorable

voter ratings in the first two years of his first term of any

president in U.S. history. How this will color the results of

the imminent 2022 midterm elections, however, is not yet

clear. Both houses of Congress are currently controlled

by his Democratic Party.

It is very unlikely that 2022 will resemble 1934, but it isn’t

yet likely it will resemble 1994 or 2010. 

Voter-made storms often don’t become visible until a few  

days or weeks before Election Day.


Copyright (c) 2022 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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