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.


Sunday, February 11, 2024

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: A Safe Senate Seat Now A Pick-up?

Republican 2024 U.S. senate prospects, already

looking bright, just got brighter with the unexpected

announcement that former Maryland Governor Larry

Hogan is running for the state’s open seat in November,

Even though long-time incumbent Senator Ben Cardin,

a Democrat, had  decided to retire, the seat was rated

“Safe Democrat” because this was such a liberal “blue”


Bur Hogan is one of several Eastern moderate

Republican political figures who win elections in the

liberal northeast, and enjoiy wdespread popularity.

Vermont Governor Phil Scottl New Hampshire

Governor Chris Sununu, and Maine Senator Susan

Collins  are other examples of Republicans whose

blending of tolerant social policies with conservative

economic policies make them successful with East

Coast voters;

In the Midwest, there are Democrats who win race

conservative states, including Montana  Senator Jon 

Testor, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and Kentucky

Governor Andy Beshear, but this cycle both Testor

and Brown are facing serious GOP challengers.

There is a catch to the new development that 

appears to be a benefit to GOP senate prospects. 

Hogan expands a Republican majority, but like

Collins and Alaska Senatior Lisa Murkowski,

another moderate, he won’t be relied on to vote for

many conservative social issues. Hard-line GOP

voters on the right often denounce moderates as

RINOs and sell-outs.

While the voter base of the Democrats is veering

left, and the GOP base is veering right, both parties

face the complications of senate members who

are center-left and center-right. With party strength

almost tiied in recent years, the Senate has not

always functioned as party leader have wished

in recent years, so the GOP will need to pick up

more than 2-3 Senate seats in 2024 if they want

to have truly effective control.


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


Saturday, February 3, 2024

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Did Anyone Notice That Joe Biden Just Won The South Carolina Primary?

In case you missed it, President Joe Biden won the

Democrats’ 2024 South Carolina primary held on 

Saturday, February 3 with more than 95% of the


Intended to be the first official primary for the

Democrats, it was preceded by a meaningless

Iowa caucus with no results until March and an

unofficial New Hampshire primary in which the

president was not even on the ballot, but won

easily nonetheless with write-in votes.

Biden has only two opponents in the race for

the Democratic nomination, Marianne Williamson

and Congressman Dean Phillips. Phillips did

receive 19% of the vote in New Hampshire, but

tallied less than 2%, and trailed Williamson slightly.

The rest of the Democrats’ primary season is

almost certainly a foregone conclusion. Mr.Phillips 

has complained he has been excluded from

several primary ballots, but his highly-publicized

protests have gone unheeded by the Democrats’

political establishment which has successfully

discouraged any major Democrat from running

this year — intending that the incumbent

president is renominated for a second term

without the omplication of a potentially bitter and

divisive contest.

However, Mr. Biden remains a notably unpopular

figure in  almost all opinion polls, and has had a

negative favorability for most of his first term. Even

more significant, he trails his potential major  

Republican opponents in match-up polls in virtually

all of the battleground states he won in 2020, and

even trails in the overall national popular vote —

which signals a landslide against him in the key

electoral college vote which determines the winner

of the presidential race.

These polls, and the president’s unfavorability have

a great many Democrats calling for Mr. Biden to

announce his retirement before the Democrats’

national convention in Chicago in August — making

it possible to replace him on the ticket before the

general election in November.

Mr. Biden’s supporters and strategists have so far

strongly resisted the calls for his retirement, citing

the likelihood now that Donald Trump will be the

GOP nominee in November, and that the president

has already defeated Mr. Trump, and claiming he

would do it again.

They also cite some current economic data that

the economy is improving, a current strong stock

market, and some improving inflation and 

unemployment numbers.

On the other hand, there is little evidence so far

that this data has improved his standing with 

voters — many of whom in both parties and 

among independents who feel price inflation 

and job security is worse.

Although there is more enthusiasm for Mr. Trump

among Republican base voters than there is for

Mr. Biden among the Democrats’ base, the former

GOP president is a controversial figure for many

voters who would prefer another conservative

nominee. With several criminal trials and ballot

challenges ahead for him, his appearance on the

November ballot is no certainty.

With so much dissatisfaction for the likely major

party nominees, the 2024 is now likely to see

considerable activity by third party nominees.

These nominees almost certainly will not win the

presidency in 2024, but they are likely to have a

profound impact on who will win — and perhaps

even when the winner is determined.

As demonstrated in the 2000 presidential election,

it doesn’t take many votes for third party

candidates to have huge impact, and already

several of these likely to be on many state ballots,

including the No Labels Party which says it intends

to field a ticket featuring a prominent Democrat and


Citing 2016 or 2020 is therefore not likely to be

particularly useful in 2024

For the first time in memory, the actual primary 

season of the presidential election is drawing little

public interest. The real outcomes are much ahead.


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