And So The 2024 Campaigns Begin

In a previous post I indicated I wouldn’t open the “Election 2024 Chronicles” until early summer of 2023. Depending on how things go between now and then I may not be able to keep that promise.

It’s virtually a given that President Biden will run for re-election. He’s as much as admitted it and I think other Democrats know that if they challenge him they may well insure a Republican victory.

On the other side, ever since he lost the 2020 election (though he still refuses to admit this) Donald Trump has hinted that he will run again in 2024. A few days ago he made the announcement here. He announced that he would announce before the midterm elections and expected he would ride the crest of a Republican landslide. That didn’t happen.

He also likely expected that once he announced that would end the race to the Republican nomination. But that hasn’t happened. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will almost certain run. Smart money is also on former Vice President Mike Pence to run and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Previous to this Mr. Trump was able to immediately halt speculation on competition but it appears his behavior may have finally come home to roost. Fox News appears to have dropped their support for Governor DeSantis and didn’t even fully carry Mr. Trump’s announcement.

So where do we go from here? Clearly a large part of the Republican Party wants Trump to drop out and give his support to DeSantis but that’s unlikely. Trump never admits defeat and never gives up. I think there is widespread fear that Trump will continue to polarize voters to the point where everyone who seeks the nomination will chew each other up until there is no viable candidate.

Trump breaks all molds and defies all expectations so predicting the future is always perilous. But if Trump is going to hit the end of the line, this may be it.

Is This What A Peaceful Election Looks Like?

Two years after every Presidential election we have another one where we choose all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 33 (or 34) members of the Senate, and a host of state governors. These elections are newsworthy but don’t garner the attention (or votes) that we see for a Presidential election.

But many of us feared this one for a few reasons:

I spoke in my last post about how Republicans expected a “red wave.” It didn’t happen, though it appears they will have a razor thin majority in the House.

This has been well documented but in 2020 President Trump loudly and consistently announced that he won the election and it was stolen from him. This was clearly untrue but he’s never seen the truth as an obstacle. In this election he handpicked several candidates for different offices. He demanded only loyalty and instructed them to refuse to accept defeat. Fortunately they didn’t follow his lead and many who loss did indeed concede.

The January 7th attempted coup d’etat clearly emboldened Trump supporters. Many of us feared they would use intimidation and threats of violence to suppress voter turnout. I’m not sure why but they didn’t.

Related to this I haven’t found widespread calls that the 2022 election was fraudulent. I’m pleased but a little puzzled.

Yesterday Mr. Trump announced he will run again in 2024. I’m a good 18 months from starting the Election 2024 Chronicles but it appears the groundwork is being laid.

Fasten your seatbelts. This will prove to be a rocky ride.

Thoughts On the Midterm Elections

It’s practically a tradition that the President’s party does poorly in the election after the Presidential election. This is partly due to the fact that virtually no President can live up to our expectations and partly due to the fact that those out of power feel more motivated to vote.

Given that and the fact that we are all dealing with inflation (ignoring the fact that the President can do very little to curb it) many of us assumed the 2022 elections would be a bloodbath for the Democrats. We were already on the razor’s edge. This Senate was divided 50/50 and Democrats hold 220 of the 435 seats in the House. Since it takes 218 votes to pass legislation this gave the Democrats only a 2 vote majority.

It was generally assumed that Democrats would lose the House, perhaps by as many as 20 or 30 seats. The final results aren’t in yet but it appears that if the Republicans do take the House it will be with only a few seats. Republicans hoped to pick up 3 or 4 seats and gain control of the Senate. Tonight it appears all but certain that the Democrats will hold the Senate and has a chance of picking up 2 seats.

So what happened? Well, a few things. Here are my thoughts:

  1. For years the Republicans ran on a platform of reversing Roe v. Wade that guarantees the right of a woman to have an abortion. In June the Supreme Court reversed Roe in Dodd v. Mississippi. This decreased many abortion opponents because, frankly, they got what they wanted. On the other hand it emboldened those who believe that women should have choice over their bodies and they turned out in large numbers to vote Democratic.
  2. The polls were simply wrong. That’s happening with some frequency and there’s an excellent story on NPR’s Planet Money. Simply put since most polling is done by phone and most people don’t answer the phone or wish to talk with pollsters it’s getting hard to acquire the necessary data.
  3. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the Trump era. Since his election in 2016 former President Donald Trump has worked hard to make himself the leader of the Republican party. He’s been wildly successful but his ongoing eagerness to lie about the 2020 election and many other issues may have run its course. He backed several extreme and unqualified candidates who just weren’t able to win. Turns out absolute loyalty to Trump isn’t enough

Full disclosure I’ve been predicting the end of the Trump era for several years now and this may also be premature. But the dissatisfaction
I’m seeing appears real.

Also this doesn’t mean the next two years will be easy for President Biden and the Democrats. But it could have been worse.