Democrats Brace for Midterm Challenge
The future is looking grim for Democrats as we move closer to the midterms and an anticipated landslide victory for the Republican Party – at least that’s what some sources predict.
The party that controls the White House can always expect to lose a few seats – in fact, only twice since 1974 has a president’s party actually gained seats during midterms – but this year is expected to be particularly rough for Democrats.
Voters’ general opinion of the Biden Administration is “worse than it has been for any president in modern times, by almost any indicator,” warns Reid Wilson, a contributor for The Hill.
According to Gallup, a sitting president whose approval rating is lower than 50% can expect to lose an average of 37 seats during a midterm election. Recent polls put Biden’s approval rating at 41%. That figure is even lower in swing states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio (all of which have seats up for grabs).
A total of 469 seats could change hands in November: 34 in the Senate and 435 in the House. Based on Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball,” 214 House races are leaning Right and 193 are learning Left; an additional 28 could go either way.
As it stands now, Democrats control 220 House seats and Republicans control 208. There are seven vacancies – five previously held by Republicans and two by Democrats. The Senate is currently split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as tiebreaker.
If the GOP gains 30 House seats, Republicans will have a larger majority than they had in 2010 after gaining 63 seats. If the GOP picks up 35 seats, Republicans will have their largest House majority in 9 decades.
“With the redistricting process…more or less behind us, we have a relatively clear view of what the House playing field is going to look like in November,” says CNN’s Chris Cillizza. “The short answer is it’s going to look good for Republicans; the longer answer is it’s going to look VERY good for them.”
Two things are clear, continues Cillizza: “Republicans are headed for major gains and potentially historic gains in November and that things are getting worse, not better, for Joe Biden and his party…Republicans have every reason to be confident that they will not only retake the House majority in November but also have a comfortable margin with which to govern.”
Factors expected to harm Democrats’ chances include:
- President Biden’s weak performance and dismal approval ratings
- Record-breaking inflation and gas prices
- The ongoing effects of the pandemic on employment and the economy
- The resolution of the January 6th hearings
Factors expected to aid Democrats’ chances include:
- Opposition to laws regarding abortion, Critical Race Theory, and changes to election procedure
- The Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on Roe v. Wade
- The fact that Democrats lost 13 House seats in 2020 (meaning the most vulnerable ones are already gone)
Factors that could help or harm the Democrats include voter turnout and redistricting/gerrymandering.
According to RacetotheWH’s historically-accurate forecast algorithms, Democrats have a 29% chance of winning the House and a 57% chance of winning the Senate. Republicans’ chances of winning each chamber are 72% and 43%, respectively.
In light of all the figures and factors outlined above, Democrats’ only real chance at victory in November is to convince Americans that the Republican Party is to blame for their frustrations.
“Republicans want 2022 to be a referendum on Biden’s performance,” writes MSNBC contributor Dean Obeidallah, “but Democrats should turn the tables and frame the election as a referendum on Republican extremism: from the oppressive laws mentioned above to their embrace of the man who gave us Jan. 6. That could spike Democratic turnout.”