The Democrats Have a Chance: The Challenges to American Democracy after the Biden-Biden Voting Convention and their Implications for the Supreme Court
The finding doesn’t mean that Democrats will win the House this year, even though Biden won by 4.5 percentage points in the popular vote. The polls suggest there is a dead heat between the two parties in the popular vote. But Democrats do seem to have a legitimate chance to retain the House. (Nate will be laying out that case in his newsletter next week; Times subscribers can sign up to receive it.)
Gerrymandering is a real problem for American democracy, especially in the drawing of state legislature districts, as The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer recently documented. Some states, like North Carolina, are also likely to redraw their congressional maps even before 2030, especially if a coming Supreme Court case restricts the authority of state courts. If you were to ranking the threats to American democracy, gerrymandering would not be at the top of the list.
The movement inside the Republican Party to refuse to accept defeat in an election would be No. 1. There would be the influence that the Senate gives to the residents of small states and the winner-take-all nature of the Electoral College.
People are at the finish line. The elections are a month away. There are a lot of races to keep track of but it is unusual to see some Senate campaigns.
The impact of the Supreme Court decision on abortion seems to have shifted the dynamics of the national political environment in favor of the Democrats.
But the optimism some Democrats felt toward the end of the summer, on the heels of Biden’s legislative wins and the galvanizing high court decision, has been tempered slightly by the much anticipated tightening of some key races as political advertising ramps up on TV and voters tune in after Labor Day.
Keeping the GOP Out of the Dark: How Don Bolduc and the Senator Maggie Hassan Won’t Win the Democratic Senate Seat
Roughly 8 in 10 voters said that inflation had been a hardship for them, while a slim plurality of voters called inflation their top issue. Voters said they trusted the GOP to handle inflation, by a 12 point margin.
There has been a steady increase in crime ads as the GOP paints Democrats as weak on public safety. Candidates on both sides of the aisle have found law enforcement officers to testify on camera in their pro- police credentials in TV ads. Democratic ads also feature women talking about the threat of a national abortion ban should the Senate fall into GOP hands, while Republicans have spent comparatively less trying to portray Democrats as the extremists on the topic.
Retired army brigadier Gen. Don Bolduc, who lost a 2020 GOP bid for the state’s other Senate seat, won last month’s Republican primary to take on first-term Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan. The problem for him is that he doesn’t have enough money to wage that fight. Bolduc had raised a total of $579,000 through August 24 compared with Hassan’s $31.4 million. Senate Leadership Fund is on air in New Hampshire to boost the GOP nominee – attacking Hassan for voting with Biden and her support of her party’s health care, tax and climate package. But because super PACs get much less favorable TV advertising rates than candidates, those millions won’t go anywhere near as far as Hassan’s dollars will.
The GOP-Controlled Senate Race is Going Over Over the Wire: The Case of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Voting Case in Georgia
CNN compiles data, polling, and reporting in order to rank states and candidates. There will be another update prior to Election Day.
Republicans have been hammering Fetterman on crime, specifically his tenure on the state Board of Pardons: An ad from the Senate Leadership Fund features a Bucks County sheriff saying, “Protect your family. Don’t vote Fetterman.” The lieutenant governor is using sheriffs on camera to promote his record. And with suburban voters being a crucial demographic, Democratic advertising is also leaning into abortion, like this Senate Majority PAC ad that features a female doctor as narrator and plays Oz’s comments from during the primary about abortion being “murder.” He would want the federal government not to be involved in interfering with the decisions of the state in regards to rape and incest exceptions.
Republicans have tried to tie the first-term senator to Washington spending and inflation, which may be particularly resonant in a place where average gas prices are now back up to over $5 a gallon. Democrats are raising the threat that the GOP-controlled Senate could approve a national abortion ban, while zeroing in on abortion rights. Former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt – the rare GOP nominee to have united McConnell and Trump early on – called the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling a “joke” before the Supreme Court overturned the decision in June. Democrats have been all too happy to use that comment against him, but Laxalt has tried to get around those attacks by saying he does not support a national ban and pointing out that the right to an abortion is settled law in Nevada.
The closer we get to Election Day, the more we need to talk about the Georgia Senate race going over the wire. If neither candidate receives a majority of the vote in November, the contest will go to a December runoff. There was no clear leader in a recent Marist poll that had Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who’s running for a full six-year term, and Republican challenger Herschel Walker both under 50% among those who say they definitely plan to vote.
This seat was bumped up by one spot on the rankings, because of the narrowing of the edge from earlier in the cycle. The good news for Warnock is that he’s still overperforming Biden’s approval numbers in a state that the President flipped in 2020 by less than 12,000 votes. He seems to be keeping the Senate contest close to the gubernatorial contest, for which many polls have shown Kemp ahead. In a state that has been reliably red, he thinks he will be able to hold onto it thanks to a bipartisan image. He boasted in his recent ad of his work with Alabama GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville to eliminate the regulations. But Republicans have continued to try to tie the senator to his party – specifically for voting for measures in Washington that they claim have exacerbated inflation.
Democrats are hoping that enough Georgians won’t see voting for Walker as an option – even if they do back Kemp. Democrats have amped up their attacks on domestic violence allegations against the former football star and unflattering headlines about his business record. And all eyes will be on the mid-October debate to see how Walker, who has a history of making controversial and illogical comments, handles himself onstage against the more polished incumbent.
Barnes had a 7-point lead over Johnson in a poll taken in August, but a survey done in early September shows no clear leader with Johnson and Barnes both at 49 percent. Notably, independents were breaking slightly for Johnson after significantly favoring Barnes in the August survey. The increase in the number of registered voters who consider the Democrat too extreme is due to the GOP’s anti-Barnes advertising. Johnson supporters are also much more enthusiastic about their candidate.
Barnes skated through the August primary after his biggest opponents dropped out of the race, but as the nominee, he’s faced an onslaught of attacks, especially on crime, using against him his past words about ending cash bail and redirecting some funding from police budgets to social services. Barnes has attempted to answer those attacks in his ads, like this one featuring a retired police sergeant who says he knows “Mandela doesn’t want to defund the police.”
The Tea Party for the First Black Senator: When the Inflationary GOP is Going After Cheri Beasley, and the IRS is Coming for You
CNN has projected that the GOP’s Mark Kelly will win reelection in Arizona, even though Kelly still leads Masters by a significant margin.
Masters has attempted to moderate his abortion position since winning his August primary, buoyed by a Trump endorsement, but Kelly has continued to attack him on the issue. And a recent court decision allowing the enforcement of a 1901 state ban on nearly all abortions has given Democrats extra fodder to paint Republicans as a threat to women’s reproductive rights.
North Carolina has moved up one spot on the rankings. Since Democrats haven’t won a Senate seat in North Carolina since 2008, the race for the open seat hasn’t generated as much national buzz as other states.
GOP Rep.Ted Budd, who was campaigning for Trump, is in a close race with DemocratChai Beasley for the state’s first black senator. In 2020 the supreme court chief justice lost his seat by 400 votes after Donald Trump’s win in the state. Democrats hope that she can increase turnout among rural Black voters, who might not otherwise vote during the election, and that more moderate Republicans and independents will see Budd as too extreme. There is a bunch of retired judges endorsing her as a different person while attacking Budd as being a typical politician for himself.
Budd is leaning into current inflation woes, specifically going after Biden in some ads that feature half-empty shopping carts, without even mentioning Beasley. Senate Leadership Fund is doing the work of trying to tie the Democrat to Washington – one recent spot almost makes her look like the incumbent in the race, superimposing her photo over an image of the US Capitol and displaying her face next to Biden’s. Both SLF and Budd are also targeting Beasley over her support for Democrats’ recently enacted health care, tax and climate bill. “Liberal politician Cheri Beasley is coming for you – and your wallet,” the narrator from one SLF ad intones, before later adding, “Beasley’s gonna knock on your door with an army of new IRS agents.” The new law funds the IRS for audits. The IRS commissioner and Democrats say the intention is to go after wealthy tax cheat rather than the middle class.
Hassan led Bolduc 49% to 41% among likely voters in a Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. A survey found that the incumbent had consolidated Democrats’ support but only a small number of Republicans were with him. With the general election close, some of those Republicans who said they were undecided could come home to the GOP nominee. He’ll need more than just Republicans to break his way, however, which is one reason he quickly pivoted on the key issue of whether the 2020 election was stolen days after he won the primary.
Some states have outliers that are explained by the pattern. Rep. Kaptur won the Ohio race by defeating her opponent, J.R. Majewski, who misrepresented his military service. In the district that Mr. Trump won in 2020, she won by 13 points. Mr Trump performed better than the other Republicans in Ohio.
There have been 12 state legislative seats where at least one Democrat ran against someone who was a Republican in the past five years. And in those 12 races, Democrats have been outperforming Biden’s 2020 margins by an average of 4 points.
Democratic Rep. Val Demings, who easily won the party’s nomination in August, is a strong candidate who has even outraised the GOP incumbent, but not by enough to seriously jeopardize his advantage. She uses her background as the former police chief of the city to promote her message, and she resists the idea of removing police funding. Her law enforcement background has been tried to make her look like a left-winger.
Bennet is up against a stronger challenger in Joe O’Dea, who told CNN he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the abortion rights of women. His wife and daughter star in his ads as he tries to cut a more moderate profile and vows not to vote the party line in Washington.
O’Dea voted for a failed state ballot measure to ban abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy, and Bennet is accusing him of giving McConnell the majority he needs to pass a national abortion ban.
Okay, let’s just admit that there hasn’t been any such thing for a long time. But if normal years existed in American politics and this was one of them, we could reasonably assume the Republicans were going to be big winners. You know, two years after one party takes control in Washington, voters have a tendency to rise up in remorse and throw out whoever’s been in.
The Republicans have a lot of terrible candidates. You would think that the party leaders met secretly and decided that running the Senate was too much of a challenge, and that they would need to find someone who could keep them in the minority.
Georgia was seen as a potential turnover chance a few days ago. It tilts strongly toward the G.O.P., and Walker seemed like your normal Republican candidate by 2022 standards — terrible, yeah, but with some political pluses. His autobiography vividly described a spectacular rise to sports, school and business success after a childhood in which “I was an outcast, a stuttering-stumpy-fat-poor-other-side-of-the-railroad-tracks-living-stupid-country boy.”
SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. — When New Jersey’s congressional map was redrawn last year, Representative Tom Malinowski, a second-term Democrat, was widely considered a political goner.
President Biden’s popularity had plummeted, gas prices were soaring and Mr. Malinowski’s Seventh Congressional District — in which he barely eked out a re-election victory in 2020 — had been redrawn to include nearly 27,000 more registered Republicans. When Mr. Malinowski announced he would run for a third term, he did so in a terse statement, quoting an ominous Shakespearean battle cry: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.”
Any path by which Democrats are able to stave off a midterm rout or retain a slim House majority cuts straight through districts like Mr. Malinowski’s, where moderate, well-educated voters helped Democrats win control of the House in 2018 and are seen as crucial to holding it.
The battle for the control of the House is front and center in the political world, where Republicans appear to be edging closer to a narrow majority, but Democrats still have hope.
It is uncertain who will control the Senate next year and key races are too early to call with votes still being counted. But it’s clear that the “red wave” wished for by Republicans did not materialize in 2022.
Most voters continue to express strikingly negative views on President Joe Biden’s management of the economy, and for that matter, his handling of crime and the border. The president and his party have suffered losses in themid-term elections when voters hold unfavorable views of him and his policies.
In a memo to be released this week and shared with CNN, the Way to Win group wants Democrats to paint the GOP agenda as an extension of the assault on individual freedom and the push to restrict abortion. Democrats, the group writes, must “tie the salience of Roe being overturned to other issues at stake that are important to voters” and make the case that “Republicans have no plan to lower prices, but do have a plan to end Social Security and Medicare and raise taxes on millions of lower and middle-income Americans.”
What Do We Want to See Next-Generation President Biden? The NPR/PR/Marist Survey Reveals Two Distinct Priorities in 2022
Biden is unpopular this year and it’s shocking. The exit polls showed that his approval rating was less than 50%. His favorable rating was 41%.
The national NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll released last week offered the latest snapshot of this divergence. Asked what issue they considered most important in 2022, Republicans overwhelmingly chose inflation (52%) and immigration (18%). Preserved democracy was chosen by a similar share of Democrats. Independents split exactly in half between the priorities of the two parties: inflation and immigration on the one side, and democracy, abortion and health care on the other. Voters who had at least a four-year college degree tended to lean more towards democracy and abortion. The survey did not include crime as an option and it has usually provoked the most concern from Republicans and non-college educated voters.
Given these disparities, Democrats everywhere are stressing issues relating to rights and values, particularly abortion, but also warning about the threat to democracy posed by Trump and his movement. Since June, as CNN recently reported, Democratic candidates have spent over $130 million on abortion-themed ads, vastly more than Republicans.
There is a case to be made that the incentives for domestic production embedded in the bill to rebuild infrastructure, promote Semiconductor Manufacturing and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy will lead to a boom in US employment.
Bridge the Kitchen Tables/Values Divide: How Modern Democrat Campaigning is Building on Past Proposals and Future Prospects
Most of the plant openings are still in the future, so only a few Democrats are emphasizing them this year.
More commonly, Democrats are stressing legislation the party has passed that offers families some relief on specific costs, especially the provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. Democratic pollster Geoff Garin says that highlighting such specific initiatives can allow individual candidates to overcome the negative overall judgment on Biden’s economic management. His main concern is that too many Democrats are sublimating any economic message and focusing on abortion.
The founder of the group that mobilizes Hispanics for Democratic candidates says there is a way that Republicans can save their party. “The concrete is not set yet,” she said recently after a day of door-to-door canvassing in Phoenix. “There is still a way to move people, connect with people.” Like Way to Win, her group stresses a message that tries to bridge the kitchen tables/values divide: Democrats are committed to providing people opportunities to help them meet their obligation to their families, while Republicans are focused on taking away rights.
A month ago, Democrats had a 7-in-10 chance of keeping the majority in the US Senate in the midterm elections, according to a forecasting model built by the wizards over at FiveThirtyEight.
An Update on Fetterman’s Campaigning in Pennsylvania and a Democratic Candidate’s Implications for the Health of the Lieutenant Governor
There is a There are concerns regarding the health of the lieutenant Governor in Pennsylvania, and as a result, Democrat John Fetterman now has a small lead over Republican Mehmet Oz. Fetterman and the President appeared on a visit to Pennsylvania.
GOP nominee is making up ground on democrat Mark Kelly. The incumbent remains the clear favorite in the race, but there has been some changes.
Nevada and Montana Senate contests. In Montana, Jon Tester is trying to hold on to his seat against a Republican candidate who is campaigning against him, as well as in Nevada, where he is trying to hold on to his seat against a Republican.
- Democrats are beginning to point fingers in Wisconsin, Where? The person is Lt. Gov Barnes’ lead over Ron Johnson has dropped over the last two months. “People are just hitting their heads against the wall. Tom Nelson, a Democrat who ran for Senate nomination earlier this year, asked how we could let this happen.
Most polling shows the incumbent holding a low-single digit lead over Walker, despite the recent allegations regarding his past relationships with women.
Counting the Democrats in the Preliminary Elections: The Risks of Polling Error in the Political Environment and the Challenges for Sen. Mike Braun
The Democrats had a great summer. Voter registration increased as a result of the Dobbs decision. Voters handed Democrats a string of sweet victories in unlikely places — Alaska and Kansas, and good news in upstate New York.
Team Blue received some bad news over the past month or so. A majority of likely voters in the latest New York Times/Siena College poll plan to vote for either a Republican or Democrat for Congress. Democrats held a one-point lead last month.
The voters will have final say on all of these questions. We spend a lot of time in this newsletter looking into the risks of polling error. Let’s assume that polls are correct about the political environment. The race is in a delicate spot if that is the case. Everything from a Democratic hold in the Senate and a narrow House majority to a total Republican rout becomes imaginable.
If there was a lead of two or three points, it could be the beginning of a Republican trouncing. To start with the simple stuff: It would be easy for Republicans to squeak out a win in one of Pennsylvania, Arizona or Georgia, and take the Senate. But it would also be easy for the Republicans to make large gains in the House — a lot easier than people might think.
In this two-hour span, polls show the races in Iowa, Nevada and Washington state being close, but it’s California where the most votes will be cast because the democrats think they will pick up seats.
In most of Indiana and Kentucky polls close at 6 p.m. Parts of both states are in the Central time zone, so it’ll take time to see whether Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly survives a challenge from Republican businessman Mike Braun.
The Great National Bellwether: How a Democrat Can Get the Ossoff Beats a Bose-Einstein Condensate
It might not be a great national bellwether. In an odd twist, the race has largely become about one person, in part due to Barr’s brutal ads, and whether she is too progressive for the district. It is an early indicator of the environment, and a Barr loss would cause Republicans to panic.
A building wave? Virginia is seen as the most important sign of where the house is going. Democrats need to win in the 10th District if they are to have a chance of defeating Barbara Comstock in the DC suburbs. In the Norfolk-area 2nd District, Republican Rep. Scott Taylor is fighting for his political career. And if the GOP Rep. Dave Brat loses in the 7th District outside Richmond – or even if he’s in a tight race – it could be an early sign of a building Democratic wave.
The 5th District, where a former journalist is running against an Air Force vet, is one of the more competitive districts in Virginia. A Democratic win here would be a sign of a tidal wave threatening to wipe out Republicans whose races weren’t even on the national radar.
If Democrats win, it would mean they are in for a big night. In Georgia’s 6th District, Republican Rep. Karen Handel – who won a ballyhooed special election against Jon Ossoff last year – faces Lucy McBath, a challenger whose unarmed son was shot and killed over a dispute about loud music. The Republicans in the 7th District are angry that Rob Woodall never took his race seriously. “If you don’t think it behooves you to put paid media on air, we’re not going to come help you. The official said we are not a welfare organization.
House battleground: Miami. South Florida is the site of two House battlegrounds. In the 26th District, GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo has run well to his party’s left on issues like climate change and immigration, and Republicans need him to survive. In the 27th District, what should be an easy Democratic pick-up has become daunting, as former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala – the non-Spanish-speaking Democratic candidate in a majority Hispanic district – faces former Spanish-language broadcast journalist Maria Elvira Salazar.
History-makers. In Georgia, the biggest race of the year is between Brian Kemp, the Republican Secretary of state, and the Democratic nominee, Stacey Abrams, who would be the nation’s first black female governor. If neither candidate wins over 50%, the race goes to a second round.
We need to wait an extra hour for full results in the Governor’s race between Andrew Gillum, a progressive favorite, and Ron Santo, a Republican who has aligned himself with Trump, because of Florida’s small portion of central time.
A state-level resurgence in the Midwest? Democratic former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray will try to win the governor’s office in Ohio, a state Trump won by 9 percentage points in 2016. He faces Republican state Attorney General Mike DeWine. It’s the first of several such tests for Democrats, who also hope to reverse GOP gains in Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Tennessee is one of the best picks for Democrats. Phil’s goal has been to convince moderate Republicans to vote for him so he can court the other side.
One of the GOP’s three or so pick-up opportunities is Missouri, where McCaskill faces Josh Hawley, the state Attorney General.
The most crucial hour for House control. This could also be the hour in which the next House begins to take shape. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are major battlegrounds.
In New Jersey, Democrats need to win at least two races with two of their strongest recruits of the cycle: the open 2nd District, where conservative Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew is the heavy favorite, and the 11th District, with Mikie Sherrill.
Leonard Lance, an architect of the House’s health care repeal bill who also supported the tax reform bill, is one of the next two Republican incumbents that will show Democrats on their way to a huge House majority. If MacArthur loses, it’d show how potent health care is as an issue for Democrats.
Democrats could also pick off House seats in Illinois. Sean Casten is the best choice to face Peter Zensman in the Chicago suburbs. There’s a battle going on near Chicago, with Randy Hultgren facing a stiff challenge from Lauren Underwood, who was endorsed by Barack Obama over the weekend. The 12th and 13th Districts are two more wave-maker types with GOP incumbents Mike Bost and Rodney Davis.
– Mississippi Senate: Does Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith hold off conservative Chris McDaniel and advance to a one-on-one runoff against Democratic former Rep. Mike Espy?
In Arkansas, Democrats decided to field a strong challenger to take on GOP Rep. French Hill. It’s another member of the wave-maker category of districts that would signal a huge Democratic night.
Democrats are confident in Minnesota’s 2nd and 3rd Districts – where Democrats Angie Craig and Dean Phillips are running against embattled Republican incumbents – and Republicans have largely written off the two races. In the south and north of the state, Republican Jim Hagedorn and Democrat Pete Stauber are both on the campaign trail, and party operatives are optimistic that they can make up for what could be a tough night.
The year could behattered by the polls closing at 9 p.m. Republicans have all but written off Kansas’ 3rd and Colorado’s 6th districts, both suburban seats currently held by Republicans, but Democratic wins in suburban Dallas with Colin Allred, Houston with Lizzie Fletcher and Detroit with Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens could cement House majorities for Democrats.
New York has been a rare bright spot for Republicans, who have picked up four House seats in this midterm election. The One House race in the Empire State remains uncalled as of Sunday afternoon.
History in Texas? Since 1988, Texas has not elected a state-wide Democrat. Ted Cruz has a real candidacy because of Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who has given the senator lots of cash and enthusiasm. Republican think the state’s Republican tendencies will be evident on Election Day but O’Rourke still has a chance thanks to the high early voting numbers and the fact that the race is getting more national attention. A win here would be earth-shattering for Democrats.
Democrats could lose a lot of votes at the closing of the polls. According to the polls, Sen. Heitkamp is more likely to lose on Tuesday night than a few of the other Democratic incumbents. She’s had a few campaign missteps, including the defining mistake of incorrectly identifying victims of sexual assault in a campaign ad.
Democrats hope that a loss in North Dakota (or earlier in the night) could be erased by a win in Arizona, where two congresswomen – Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Rep. Martha McSally – are fighting in a state Trump won in 2016.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers also won a second term. He will work with Republicans in the legislature. Donald Trump won Kansas both times, so Gov. Laura Kelly kept the governor’s office there.
The race has become a judgment on Walker, who is asking voters for a third term in the state, an ask that even Republicans admit makes his re-election difficult.
South Dakota, a state that backed Trump by 30 percentage, is the scene of the dark horse gubernatorial race, where Republican Rep. Noem is in a tough fight against pro-gun Democrat and abortion rights opponent, to serve out the remainder of her term.
An important note: If Democratic control of the House comes down to California, the country is in for a long ordeal. California is notoriously slow at counting votes, meaning races could be decided in days and weeks, not hours.
Democrats and Republicans are competing for the same coastal Orange County district that Vice President Biden would have won in 2020.
Democrats expect to hold Montana, where Tester is running on his connections to the state and authenticity, but Nevada is expected to be a fight, despite that fact that Heller for months has been seen as the most vulnerable Republican incumbent running for Senate this year.
The most unexpected race of the night could be in Alaska, where the current governor, independent Bill Walker, ended his re-election campaign in October to back former Sen. Mark Begich, the Democratic candidate running against Republican Mike Dunleavy. Republicans believe the race will be an easy pick up for them, but the lack of reliable polling and unexpected withdrawal of the current governor has a chance of delivering a late-night surprise.
The strength of individual candidates could be the reason why Democrats succeeded in winning over Biden skeptics. In New Hampshire, the incumbent won over a large portion of voters who disapproved of Biden, as well as voters who approved of him.
The abortion and democracy issues were at stake in each of the states. The Republicans nominated Doug Mastriano, who was central to the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Democrats worried about a constitutional crisis and a threat to the democratic government. It might have threatened another long-held right as well; Mr. Mastriano is a strident opponent of abortion, and Republicans controlled the state Legislature.
The issues were less important in New York. There was no danger that the Democratic Legislature would overturn abortion rights. There was no movement to overturn the victory of Mr. Biden in New York. Republicans focused the campaign on crime. It paid off.
There are exceptions like Democratic strength in Colorado and Republican strength in Texas. But most of each party’s most impressive showings fit well.
There is a Republican sweep in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to go further than a 15-week abortion ban and the Stop-the-Steal movement never sought to overturn an election result. In Kansas and Michigan, where abortion referendums were on the ballot at different times this year, Democrats swept most competitive House districts.
The Rise and Fall of Donald J. Biden’s White House: The Legacy of Two Disrupted Years for the United States and the Senate
Editor’s Note: Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst, is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. His books include “The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment.” You can follow him on social media. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. There are more opinions on CNN.
The elections mark the culmination of two difficult years for Biden. At each stage of his tenure, Biden has achieved what many fellow party members thought impossible.
Both parties were surprised by the outcome. The president’s party lost 26 seats in the House in the first year of an administration, and four in the Senate. Under former President Donald Trump, Republicans lost 40 seats in the House in 2018. Democrats lost 63 in the House in 2010 under Barack Obama, and 52 in 1994 under Bill Clinton.
Things didn’t improve for Biden once in the White House. Covid wreaked havoc on the country and economy. Despite a 50-50 split in the Senate and Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema pitting themselves against the administration at various points, Biden was still able to move a formidable legislative agenda through Congress, overcoming fierce Republican opposition and even winning a few GOP votes along the way. The American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act stand up as a historic trifecta – a legislative track record arguably more significant than any that we have seen since President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Besides the three major pieces of legislation, Biden also appointed more federal judges by August than any president at that point in the term since John F. Kennedy, according to the Pew Research Center. Biden has also used his executive power to make progress on issues like fighting climate change, bolstering the US’ economic competitiveness, and forgiving student debt.
To be sure, Democrats should check their enthusiasm. Even with narrow majorities, a Republican-controlled House of Representatives can cause immense problems for Biden. They can obstruct his legislation, perpetually investigate him and his family and steer the agenda in a way that is damaging to Democrats. If Republicans also gain control of the Senate, they too can double down on the obstruction, including with Biden’s judicial picks.
Trump isn’t anywhere close to done. We have seen how effective he can be when he shows his true colors. He still gets a good deal of support within the party and is involved in the modern media environment. Meanwhile, DeSantis comes out of this week looking a bit like George W. Bush in 1998, when he won his gubernatorial reelection bid in a landslide two years before securing the presidency in 2000. Given his ability to appeal to the core of the Republican Party and potentially expand into new constituencies such as Latinos, he could pose a serious threat to Democrats in his ability to pull off a more polished version of Trumpism.
The Changing Face of State Government in the 20th Century: How Democratic Coalescing State Government and the State Legislature will Change Its Politics
In the United States, the leader of your state’s government is the most important person in your life. These governors and legislatures make policy on guns, abortion, education and the environment.
“Where you live now is where you live under the policies you live under,” said Kousser, professor of political science at UC San Diego.
Democratic governors were always on the defensive in close races. Concerns of a red wave have been raised due to the low approval ratings of Biden.
In less competitive races the Democrats won reelection: Gov. Janet Mills in Maine, and Gov. Michelle Lunny Grisham in New Mexico.
In states where registered Democrats are more than Republicans, the party has solidified its control. The Democratic candidate won an open governorship. Democrats now completely control state government in both states. (When one single party controls the state house, state senate and governor’s office, it’s called a “trifecta.”) It will now be even easier to pass agenda items with a trio of vetoes because the Republican-controlled legislature will no longer veto them.
There will also be a Democratic trifecta in Oregon, where Democrat Tina Kotek emerged victorious on Thursday night out of a close race with Republican Christine Drazan.
Republicans held 28 of the state governor’s offices while Democrats held 22. That number will change, although final results are pending in a few states.
The majority of Americans will live in states where Democrats are governors, due to their victories in high population states, said Ben Williams of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The two Democratically-aligned outside groups put in about $80 million to start to change that, on top of $50 million the party spent. Part of the mission was to make sure state legislatures did not work to overturn the results of the next presidential election, as many GOP lawmakers did in 2020.
The party took control of both the Michigan House and the Senate for the first time in four decades. That will allow Democrats to act on their agenda items. In her victory speech, Democratic Gov. Whitmer said that would include growing the economy, improving public education, and continuing to “fight like hell” to protect fundamental rights.
In Pennsylvania, Democrats held a press conference to announce their victory in the state House of Representatives. In that chamber, there is a possibility of a black woman becoming speaker.
The state Republican party has not conceded a race yet, and the Associated Press does not have all of them. “We believe Democrats claiming the majority at this time is premature and we are continuing to closely monitor a number of races where votes are still being counted,” Pennsylvania House GOP spokesperson Jason Gottesman told NPR.
The GOP may still pull off an upset in Nevada, a state that voted for President Joe Biden in 2020. Steve Sisolak is in a race for a second term against the sheriff of Las Vegas. The Associated Press has not yet called the race.
The Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz, and the gubernatorial candidate from Maryland, Doug Mastriano, lost their races. CNN hasn’t projected the outcome of the governor’s race in Arizona, but one of the most high-profile election deniers is still locked in a close contest.
Republicans held or strengthened their trifectas by picking up seats in Florida, the Iowa Senate and South Carolina’s House. The party now holds veto-proof majorities in Florida and Ohio. Permitless gun carrying, restrictions on teaching about gender or sexuality in schools, and other conservative policies have already been enacted or proposed in these states.
Democratic governors will still be able to veto legislation because the GOP was unable to get a majority in some states. The Republicans gained a majority in the Wisconsin Senate.
That’s significant because the state’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, survived a close contest to win a second term. During his first, he vetoed more than 140 bills and will continue to be able to veto Republican-passed legislation.
It’s unusual to have all three divided so closely. By my count, this is apparently the first time since the popular election of senators (1914) when neither party will hold more than 52% of governorships, House seats or Senate seats.
Of the 18% who did not view Biden or Trump in a favorable light, 40% voted for the Democrats. The backlash against one president this year may have been canceled out by the backlash against the other.
CNN Exit Polls are a combination of in-person interviews with Election Day voters and in-person interviews, telephone and online polls measuring the views of early and absentee by-mail voters. They were conducted by Edison Research on behalf of the National Election Pool. Read more here.
The Unsolved Problem of the Midterm Elections: How Democrats Came to Power in Washington and Other Undecided State Electoral Candidates
The battle for control of the House is now the biggest unanswered question of this year’s midterm elections after Democrats kept their narrow Senate majority.
CNN projections show that the party will have at least 50 Senate seats by the year 2023, if Sen. Raphael Warnock defeats Walker in the Georgia Republican primary next month.
Republicans have won 211 of the 218 seats they’d need to take the majority, according to CNN projections, while Democrats have won 204, with 20 undecided as of Saturday evening.
Democrats scored a major coup in Washington’s Republican-leaning 3rd District, where on Saturday CNN projected that Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez would defeat Republican Joe Kent, who had aligned himself closely with former President Donald Trump.
Her victory came largely as a result of Trump’s efforts to punish Republicans who voted to impeach him. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a moderate who was widely viewed as a lock for reelection, did not finish in one of the top two slots in the primary and therefore didn’t advance to the general election.
Many of the undecided races are in California, where counting mail-in ballots can take weeks and significant shifts can occur late in that process. Other states with large quantities of mail-in ballots, including Arizona and Oregon, also have undecided races.
What Do We Need to Know About the 2016 Democratic Senate Races? The Case For a Perfect Run, Says Velazquez Biden
It is most likely that the Republicans will hold onto the majority in the House. To stay in power, Democrats need a perfect run through the remaining seats. McCarthy was wrong in his predictions of a big win and is making his path to the speakership rocky.
He said the Democratic Senate candidates beat some flawed opponents who did not have faith in democracy, truth or honor. And even when the polls looked bleak, our candidates never gave up and never lost faith.”
Democrats have the power to block any GOP measures that would ban abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June decision.
Senate control already being settled will take some of the national spotlight – and the television advertising spending – away from the Senate runoff in Georgia.
But the December 6 race between Warnock and Walker is still important. A win would give Democrats a clear majority instead of the power-sharing agreement currently in place that ties the chamber at 50. It would also give them a pad ahead of a 2024 Senate battle in which the party must defend several seats in states that typically back Republican presidential candidates.
“It’s just simply better. The bigger the number the better,” Biden, who is in the midst of an international trip, told reporters in Cambodia shortly after CNN and other news outlets projected Democrats would keep their Senate majority.
Deriving the Election from Donald Trump and Right-Wing Campaigners: The Clark County Election is Coming Down to the Precincts
“It’s about who has the competence and character to represent us; who’s willing to tell the truth; who has the knowledge needed for the job,” a narrator says in the spot.
It’s the second straight election in which overtime in Georgia, which is triggered when no candidate tops 50% of the vote in the general election, will be necessary.
If she wins, Lake would be a rare Trump-supported election denier to win a competitive statewide race this year. The Republicans who had parroted Trump’s lies about election fraud lost their governor’s races in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In an interview with CNN Saturday afternoon, the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said that there were about 190,000 votes still to be counted.
He said he was confident that about 95% to 99% of those votes will be recorded by Tuesday. He said the county will continue to report about 85,000 votes per night until they are done.
The new voting system was introduced for general elections in Alaska. Results reported so far only reflect voters’ first-place choices. The winner is determined through the ranked choice process if no candidate gets a majority of first choices. It is expected to take place on November 23.
In Arizona and Nevada, officials continue to fight back on election misinformation that was spread on the internet by Donald Trump and right-wing activists. Clark County, the most populous in Nevada, is being used to steal the Election from Adam Laxalt, according to a post on Truth Social Friday night.
“We’re taking ballots in that we’re required to take in according to the law, there’s no way that we can find ballots,” Gloria said. The United States Postal Service brought them here. We process those ballots and put them in the count if they are postmarked by Election Day.
Laxalt acknowledged Saturday that the mail-in ballots that had arrived over the past couple of days were breaking in higher Democratic margins than the team had calculated. “This has narrowed our victory window,” he tweeted. He said the race was coming down to the more than 20,000 Election Day Clark County drop-off ballots. “If they are GOP precincts or slightly DEM leaning then we can still win. She will overtake us, if they continue to trend heavy DEM.
In an effort to highlight the close race, Laxalt encouraged voters tocure their ballots to ensure that any technical errors could be fixed to make sure they are counted. The deadline to cure ballots is 5 p.m. on Monday.
“For my people who knocked doors in 115 degree heat, and for the million+ Arizonans who put their faith in me, we are going to make sure that every legal vote is counted,” Masters tweeted. “If, at the end, Senator Kelly has more of them than I do, then I will congratulate him on a hard-fought victory. The media shouldn’t count the votes because voters decide.
Masters had claimed that the vote count was moving too slowly in Arizona, but the election officials of Arizona’s biggest county pushed back against him.
Gates said that the history of how the votes were counted in Arizona for decades has not been recalled by the candidates and activists who claimed the count was taking too long. The average time over the last couple of decades to get through our count is 10 to 12 days.”
What Happened to the Opposition Party at the First Midterm: The Fate of a Democratic President and an Unpopular Candidate
The opposition party is supposed to shine during the mid-terms. When there is inflation and the majority of Americans think that the country is on the wrong track, that should also be the case.
So just what happened? It’s pretty obvious that voters punished Republican candidates for being too extreme on issues such as abortion and for being too close to the former president.
Democrats have had a good performance this year at the state level. According to projected races, the president’s party will have a net gain of governorships in a president’s first midterm. 1986 is the only election after1934 in which the president had a net gain of governorships, even though Ronald Reagan had huge losses in the Senate.
Considering Franklin Roosevelt won two victories in one day, he was popular and we don’t have any polls from 1934.
Republicans moved in ways predicted by the basics, a shift with a Democratic president who has low approval ratings and governs during poor economic indicators. However, in a few keys states and races Democratic candidates outperformed those indicators. The story suggests that the Republicans were defeated by low-quality candidates in some key races.
Many of those Republicans were endorsed by Trump and had said (at least at one point) that they believed he had won the 2020 election. (This, of course, is false, as Biden won the election.)
We see this in gubernatorial elections, as well. Republicans nominated 2020 election deniers for governor in a number of blue or swing states. Republican Kari Lake of Arizona’s odds of winning are zero, because they have not been projected a winner.
The fact that you have a current president and a former president who are both unpopular isn’t unusual. In the 2010 midterm, both Obama and Bush were unpopular.
The reason for the difference between 2010 and 2022, is obvious. I had pointed out before the election that Trump was getting more Google search traffic than Biden (i.e. the former president was in the minds of voters). Bush wasn’t receiving anywhere near the search traffic as Obama in 2010, though.
Joe Biden and the Democrats: Turning the 2016 midterm election into a choice between two parties instead of a referendum on the president’s party
This was the first time that abortion made this midterm unique. Despite high inflation, only 31% of voters in the exit poll said it was the most important issue to their vote. A nearly identical percentage (27%) said abortion, and these voters overwhelmingly chose Democratic candidates for Congress.
In the last couple of weeks of the campaign, Republicans made some progress, but they didn’t make it back to where they were in the spring.
When you put it all together, Biden and the Democrats appear to have done something others have tried – and failed – in previous midterms: They turned the election into a choice between two parties instead of the usual referendum on the president’s party.
David Axerod, a senior CNN commentator and host of The Axe Files, was the chief strategist for both the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. There’s more opinion on CNN.
The politician was Joe Biden, who whispered that salty line to Obama a dozen years ago but ended up having it caught on a hot mic.
Biden would be forgiven if he had shouted it again from the rooftops of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he’s attending an Asian summit, when he learned that Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto was projected to win reelection in the Silver State, guaranteeing Democrats’ continued control of the US Senate.
It was the latest turn in an astonishing midterm election week during which Democrats defied history and a raft of downbeat metrics to score unexpected victories across the country.
Democrats will continue to control the agenda on the Senate floor and in committees, which is no small thing — particularly if Republicans take the House.
Anyone who doubts this should consider how GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican majority blocked Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, for eight months in 2016, denying Garland a hearing, much less a vote. McConnell and the same majority speeded then-President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett through in a matter of weeks before the 2020 election.
Barrett and the two other conservative justices Trump named have profoundly reshaped the high court and opened the door to radical decisions such as the ruling that upended abortion rights, a half-century after the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteed them. (Ironically, the court decision overturning Roe caused a backlash that may have had much to do with Democratic victories in Nevada and elsewhere this year.)
The Aftermath of the First Day of Remaining President of the United States: The Foes of Congress and the First Presidency
The Prime Minister’s wife gave assurances that the 1945 British parliamentary elections were not a loss for the Prime Minister.
Trump has not won an election since the beginning of the year. As Republicans try to woo a national electorate, there are better choices than Trump. The former president is still emotional about the party’s grassroots that will decide the nominee. Tuesday will offer a glimpse of whether the resilience of scandals that would have doomed ordinary political careers is starting to fade.
This year a typical referendum on the ruling party and President became a judgement on the opposition and their leader, Trump. It was a repudiation of election denialism, extremism and coarseness.
Some Republican politicians have stuck with Trump despite knowing better, even though they were warned against it. Watching their quick post-primary exodus from his camp, led by Rupert Murdoch and his right-wing media empire, has been something to behold. Losing is forbidden for them, but they can tolerate being against democracy and decency.
While Biden was overseas, he met with his peers from around the world and was about to have a sidebar meeting with China’s president.
The President might have had a hard time going into these discussions because of the loss in the midterms. It would have intensified growing doubts among our allies and adversaries about the durability of American democracy and about Biden’s political viability.
The people had their say, thumbed their nose at the purveyors of conventional wisdom and dealt a blow to Trump and extremists and election-denying Republicans.
It was a disappointing weekend for Republicans and ex-President Donald Trump as Democrats kept the Senate for two more years after holding off a red wave in the House, which remains uncalled six days after the election.
With the Republicans seeming to slowly march towards House control, it is possible that the majority will be smaller and more divisive, since the investigations into Biden’s administration and his son will make life difficult for him for the rest of his term.
Political parties are pointless unless they win power. Democrats are celebrating their 50th seat and control of the Senate due to the come-from-behind victory of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada.
Schumer said on Saturday night that the people knew the Democrats were getting things done for them when they saw all the ads.
Defending the GOP with a two-seat margin in the House: The case for a Manchin-proof majority in a reelection fight
A two-seat margin is better for the Democrats than having to rely on the tie-breaking vote of the Vice President. If a member of the house becomes sick, they have a small cushion to fall back on if the majority in the congress is lost.
A Joe Manchin-proof majority would mean that the senator from West Virginia may not enjoy the veto he has used in the past over Schumer’s intentions. If Manchin decided to run for reelection in a state where Trump won big twice, he would become a harder vote for Democratic leadership. The coal state senator lashed out at the president over his climate change policies.
And a clear majority for Democrats means that Schumer would not need a deal with McConnell on parceling out committee assignments and would have far more control over the process – a fact former veteran senator Biden noted in reacting to the Senate win in Phnom Penh over the weekend.
The hard-liners in the House Freedom Caucus want large concessions in return for their support of him for the top job. More extreme lawmakers could leverage the thin majority of the GOP in order to make the House more favorable to Trump. CNN reported Sunday that Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs is considering a challenge to McCarthy in the House leadership elections on Tuesday – a move that could ultimately weaken the current minority leader and expose anger over the GOP’s performance, even if his team insists he will have the votes to be speaker.
A Democratic challenge to succeed Nancy Pelosi is on hold because of the current battle over the Republican House leadership. The speaker said on CNN that she was not making any decisions while the House was undecided. With the family and political considerations of her future, the 82-year-old speaker has said after the brutal attack on her husband. But she’s not tipping her hand.
I don’t want anyone to give me everything. People are talking to people. And that’s a beautiful thing,” the California Democrat quixotically told CNN’s Dana Bash when asked whether she might feel motivated to stay on as leader. “I’m not asking anyone for anything. My members are telling me that they want me to do that. But, again, let’s just get through the election.”
I think Donald Trump cost us the election for the third election in a row. Hogan was speaking on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Hogan did not take into account that Trump has never been able to connect with the grassroots Republican base who set him on the path to the White House.
Trump had expected to ride out of this weekend on a wave of Republican euphoria after a bumper election he’d hoped to claim as his doing and enlist it to power his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nod.
Trump is marching ahead and true to form. His adviser Jason Miller confirmed on Steve Bannon’s podcast that the ex-president’s planned big announcement on Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago will be the launch of a new presidential campaign – even before the 2022 midterm election will be finalized. Trump’s recent rallies suggest he’s only doubling down on his election fraud lies, even though they were rebuffed by midterm voters.
One new wrinkle now is that there may be alternatives to Trump in the GOP. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis demonstrated he knows how to build a strong majority with his reelection victory. In the year before, Biden took 10 points in Virginia and Glenn Youngkin won the governorship.
The special election to replace the late GOP Rep. Don Young was won by Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola. She is in a rematch with former Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, and Republican businessman Nick Begich in her bid for a full term.
New Mexico’s 2nd District is currently represented by a Republican congresswoman who trails a democrat in her bid for a second term, even though her district now includes parts of southern and western New Mexico. Biden would have carried it by 6 points in 2020. While Herrell has conceded the race, CNN has not yet made a projection.
In California’s 27th District, the Republican and Democrat are vying for a third time. Garcia defeated Smith in both a special election and the general election in 2020, winning the latter race by 333 votes. Biden would have carried the redrawn district by 12 points in 2020.
– Republican Rep. Michelle Steel and Democrat Jay Chen, a Navy reservist, are competing for this Orange County seat , which was drawn to maximize the power of Asian American voters. The seat would have been won by Biden by 6 points in 2020.
The newly drawn 8th district in Colorado had two people competing for it: a Republican and a Democrat. Biden would have carried it by less than 5 points. CNN has not made a projection in this race, though Kirkmeyer has conceded to Caraveo.
Maine is another state that uses ranked-choice voting to decide its winners in federal elections. Results reported so far reflect voters’ first-place choices. Under ranked-choice voting, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes are allocated to their voters’ second-place choices. The process continues until a candidate clears 50%. The ranked choice tabulation is scheduled for Tuesday, November 15.
The ranked-choice voting system could determine the outcome of the Maine’s 2nd district congressional race for a second time. Neither candidate nor Tiffany Bond had gotten 50% of the vote for the district that covers much of the state north of Portland. Trump would have carried it by 6 points in 2020. After votes were reallocated under the ranked-choice system, Golden defeated Poliquin.
New York’s 22nd District – Republican Brandon Williams and Democrat Francis Conole, both Navy veterans, are competing for this redrawn Central New York district. Biden would have carried the seat by 8 points.
Oregon Republicans should not let Trump run the gauntlet in 2020: The redrawn 5th District is going to be a Republican
Oregon conducts its elections entirely by mail. If you postmarked by Election Day, you can receive the ballot up to seven days later. The state gained a new House seat in redistricting. As of Sunday night, one of the six House races in Oregon is uncalled.
CNN is projecting a Republican as the victor in the redrawn 5th District, which stretches from the Portland suburbs to Bend. The seat would have been carried by Biden in 2020. Chavez-DeRemer is a democrat and she will be taking over from Kurt Schrader.
Both Begala and Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, stood firmly opposed. “We should leave this to Republicans to nominate their own Trump,” Lake said by email.
If Democrats truly worry about the fragility of American democracy, they should not take any steps that would facilitate Trump’s return to office, even if that means a higher chance that they lose the presidency. The slightly higher probability of holding the presidency with Trump as the G.O.P. nominee is surely outweighed by concerns about the threats to democracy should he win election.
What will we learn if Donald Trump is the nominee of the 2020 Republican presidential election? A thought-provoking conversation with Ed Goeas
There is not one narrative to come out of this election. In this election, there were significant differences across states, unlike in the past where we’ve thought about nationalization. Pennsylvania and Michigan — and even Wisconsin and Arizona — ended up somewhat better than the pre-election polls suggested (in some cases, quite a bit better). From this perspective, Democrats should be happy. They did worse than expected in Florida and New York. So which lesson is the right one?
The G.O.P. shows a huge margin in rural America, margins that would not have been possible a decade ago. But this means that a large number of those votes are effectively wasted. As the suburbs become more competitive for Democrats and the cities become somewhat less competitive (but not enough to lose seats) as the minority vote percentage moves, Democrats lose the penalty they’ve suffered for running up overwhelming vote shares in urban districts in the past.
Not all Republicans want or positively respond to Trump’s preferences or persona. Trump endorsees trying to follow this playbook were not as successful as more mainstream Republican candidates. The difference between Georgia Senate and governor races is an example of this.
Moderates and independents were scared off by extremists and not everyone in the crowd was fully enthusiastic about their own candidates. The candidate they want is Trump, not a Don Bolduc or a Kari Lake or a Mehmet Oz.
They should be reassured that they are in good shape nationally. The national electorate is not unanimous. Ultimately, I think turnout is going to matter more than persuasion.
The parties, Tausanovitch continued, “are very evenly matched and this doesn’t look like it is on a path to change quickly. The election was very close. I expect the next presidential election to be close as well.” Trump-endorsed candidates, he acknowledged,
This does not mean that a Trump-centred Republican Party cannot win, even if they did poorly. He was almost able to do it in 2020. I think the election will be close in 2024 if he is the nominee.
The Republican Party elites are raising concerns over a potential Trump bid. I asked Ed Goeas, a Republican pollster, what would happen if Trump is the nominee, and he replied by email: “Assuming that the economy is out of the ditch by the end of ’23, I would have to believe a Trump nomination would be devastating.”
In a clear slap at Trump, Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire — the Republican who handily won re-election while Maggie Hassan, the Democratic senator, beat the Trump protégé Don Bolduc, her Republican challenger — told a Nov. 18 meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition: “I have a great policy for the Republican Party. Let’s stop supporting crazy, unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November.”
Democrats are usually upset by the fact that a political party can get more votes than the other without winning much power.
Republicans got more votes than GOP House candidates, but they don’t have as much to show for it.
Votes at that time were still trickling in from California and Washington, and the margins have thinned, but Cook argued that Republicans’ edge should have gained them 20-30 seats and a larger majority than the 222-212 margin they’re going to have in the House in January. There will be a House open.
Both Bushes won the White House with less votes than their Democratic opponents. Democrats won substantially more votes than Republicans in 2012, when they reelected then-President Barack Obama, but Republicans kept the House majority.
There was extremely good turnout in certain states, like Georgia, which featured hotly contested Senate and governor’s races and set records for midterm turnout, according to the state’s top election official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Turnout was down in places like California, which featured statewide races that were not so hotly contested. The Secretary of State expects that 50.8% of the electorate will vote, far below what they did in the last election but above the 42% that voted in the previous election.
On the one hand, it’s a historic failure by Republicans – the first midterm election since 1900 when the party out of power nationally did not gain control of at least one state chamber, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Some people may have been prevented from voting due to controversial voting laws in Georgia and Texas. CNN’s Fredreka Schouten covers voting rights.
In a separate report, CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere notes that Black voter turnout was down in 2022, which has alarmed Democratic operatives as they look ahead to the coming presidential election.
In recent times, American voters have gotten more tribal, but split ticket voting is still an important feature of the system.
Maryland and Massachusetts went the other direction in 2022, replacing Republican governors with Democrats to match their senators. Kansas and Wisconsin chose Republican senators and Democratic governors.
It’s not unusual for any one of these (governorships, House seats or Senate seats) to be narrowly split. In the past two years, each party has held 50 Senate seats.
The margin in Senate races was still tighter. Republican candidates won more votes than Democrats in the Senate. If the Democrats had run a candidate in Utah they would have gotten more votes.
The largest margin in the House popular vote since 1984 was the nearly-11-point win Democrats notched in the 2008 election. In fact, the last time the House popular vote margin was 11 points or more was 40 years ago, in 1982. We haven’t seen such a string of close results in the House popular vote in 200 years.
Political scientists have discussed the reasons for the recent elections. Political polarization is probably the best explanation. The era of liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats is mostly gone now. The pool of swing voters has shrunk.
That has not made swing voters any less valuable. These voters, who go back and forth between the parties, remain highly sought after by Democrats and Republicans, and they can make all the difference. For instance, a number of purple states (such as Nevada, New Hampshire and Wisconsin) elected candidates of different parties for governor and senator this year.
The bottom line is: Neither party has a lasting majority from the public. That was true in the historically close election of 2022 and in the historically divided era of the last 35 years. And it could very well also be also true in the next presidential election.
The case for a swing state: Wisconsin’s Democratic statewide office in the aftermath of the Santos scandal, which ended in December 2022
In another era — two or four years ago, perhaps — the Santos saga, with its absurd cascade of lies, would have been an amusing sideshow for many Democratic politicians, who would have been able to mock the chaos and move on, comfortably sure that Santos, who fabricated much of his personal and financial biography, would only further hobble a neutered Republican minority. But the new congressman, now under investigation by local and federal authorities, was instead a crucial cog in Kevin McCarthy’s House majority, having flipped the redrawn Third Congressional District in New York, an area that had been represented by Democrats for decades, by eight points.
The divisions in the party and the void of the state Democratic organization have both been relieved by these setbacks. Few New Yorkers cared, until late 2022, that the statewide Democratic apparatus operated, for the most part, as a hollowed-out appendage of the governor, a second campaign account that did little, if any, work in terms of messaging and turnout. New Hampshire, a state with roughly half the population of Queens, has a Democratic Party with 16 full-time paid staff members. New York’s has four, according to the state chairman, Jay Jacobs. One helps maintain social media accounts that update only sparingly. Most state committee members do not know where the party headquarters are or if they have one. The location is at 50 Broadway in Manhattan.
What is notable is that McClellan didn’t just win, she outperformed Biden’s 2020 margin by 13 points. It’s part of a pattern in special elections this year that suggests that the national environment may be friendlier to Democrats than Biden’s sub-50% job approval rating would indicate.
The sample size of 12 isn’t large enough to look at special state legislative elections, so the average swing could shift as more contests are held.
The change in special elections reminds me of what happened in early 2019. Democrats were coming off a big 2018 midterm campaign in which the special elections leading up to it were the first indication that the party was in for a big night.
In terms of how the current political environment could affect a swing state, look no further than one of the most important swing states: Wisconsin.
There was a nonpartisan election last week for a critical Supreme Court seat. This race – to succeed a retiring conservative – will determine whether liberals or conservatives hold the majority on the bench and could affect rulings on abortion and gerrymandering, among other issues.
Two liberals and two conservatives ran in the primary, which had an unusually high turnout. A liberal and a conservative have advanced to the April general election, but the two liberals combined beat the two conservatives combined by 8 points – in a state Biden won by less than a percentage point in 2020.
We have to wait to see if this blue tint continues as the year goes on, because that is what we are seeing in a small section of elections across the country.