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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.