Looking at the political landscape at this moment, it appears that Republican candidates are facing a challenging situation in the 2022 midterm elections. But my gut tells me that they will beat the odds.
First, there is the tradition of the party of a first-term President losing seats in Congress. That is truer for the House than the Senate, however.
In the House, Republicans only need to flip four seats to take control – not counting four current vacancies. In normal times, this would not be a steep hill to surmount – but these are not normal times.
The media is working overtime to prevent a Republican revival – more viciously biased than any time I can recall. Were the east coast press ever to get back to fairness and objectivity as the profession demands, Republicans would take the House for sure. I think they will despite the hostility of the Fourth Estate.
A Republican win in the House would essentially put an end to President Biden’s grandiose big-government agenda. Democrats would lose the ability to generate legislation that could land on Biden’s desk. The investigatory powers would change hands
The Senate poses a greater challenge for the GOP – just on numbers alone. In 2022, Republicans will have 20 seats to defend, while Democrats have only 14. As is always the case, most incumbents will be re-elected. But a shift of only one seat, would give Republicans control of the Senate. Conversely, the shift of one seat in the other direction would give Democrats a numerical majority. With an evenly split in the Senate, Democrats now must rely on Vice President Harris, as the President of the Senate, to break any tie votes.
Another statistic that plays against the GOP is that there are five open races – in which the incumbent is not seeking re-election – and they are all Republican seats. Three of them – North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania – provide an opportunity for Democrat gains. This is especially true in Pennsylvania, where Senator Pat Toomey won by a 1.5 percent margin – and where controversial election rule changes benefited Democrats in 2020.
Democrats may be vulnerable in four states – Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire – where incumbents won election by less than a 2.5 percent margin.
If Republicans gain a one-seat or more majority, it will make a HUGE difference in the flow of legislation. It would put Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell back in the Majority Leader role – from which he makes the rules and controls the legislation.
An additional seat or two for the Democrats would not make much of a difference. They have an effective majority for most votes, but to become filibuster-proof, they would need a 10-seat majority. If they could get a just 7-seat majority, they might entice a few Republicans to get past a filibuster on some items. But that is not likely. A larger majority, however, could embolden efforts to abolish the filibuster – which would serve no purpose if Republicans took the House.
While all the media attention focuses on Washington, the real Republican gain could be in the states – both in governors and legislatures. Thirty-six states will have gubernatorial races – 14 for the Democrats and 21 for the Republicans.
There will be six open seats – where governors have been term limited. Again, the advantage goes to the Democrats, who have only two open seats to the GOPs four.
The three most prominent prognosticators — the Cook Report, Inside Election and Sabato’s Crystal Ball – agree on three states as being toss-ups. Two are currently in the hands of Democrats and one Republican. They are Arizona, Kansas and Pennsylvania. Outside of the three toss-up states, the three election monitoring services are predicting one flip. Cook and Sabato see Maryland going over to the Democrats – and Election Insider rates it a toss-up.
So, why the optimism regarding the GOP?
First is that favored prospect of Republicans reclaiming the House. That alone is HUGE. It would stop Democrats’ most extreme plans – passing trillions of dollars in a series of big-ticket programs, ending the filibuster, packing the courts, nationalizing elections, taxing everything that moves and foisting the Green New Deal on America.
It is far too early to predict the outcome of individual races. We do not even know who all the candidates will be. We can probably assume that the GOP candidates will be more conservative than the outgoing class.
While I am loath to make predictions about specific races, but I do have a sense – that old feeling in the gut – that a growing number of Americans are ready to push back against Democrat excesses. They are not going to be doing it for Trump – no matter how hard the media tries to sell that bogus narrative. They will vote their common sense – their devotion to limited government, lower taxes, sensible immigration and personal freedom.
If you think I am wrong, just stick this commentary on the refrigerator for the next year and a half.
So, there ‘tis.