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Pelosi Tries to Smile Through the 2022 Midterms

October 13, 2022
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The election is less than four weeks away. Now is when the politically desperate typically try to fight despondency with flights of fancy, which might explain House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s optimism on Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show” last week.

Mrs. Pelosi claimed that because Democrats have better organization, superior messaging and more money, “we will hold the House, by winning more seats.” 

Does one of the nation’s toughest, most savvy politicos really think that? Probably not. Since modern political parties emerged between 1818 and 1824, the party in power has gained House seats only twice in a president’s first midterm.

It happened in 1934, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt rallied Americans during the Great Depression, and then in 2002, when President George W. Bush’s approval ratings were sky-high after the 9/11 attacks.

Mrs. Pelosi isn’t her party’s only overly upbeat leader. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney is so confident that last weekend he was fundraising with Democratic expatriates in Paris, Geneva and London. A DCCC chairman would normally make that sort of foreign fundraising trip well before the election, not a month out, especially if, like Mr. Maloney, he personally faced a strong challenger in a newly drawn district.

Maybe Mrs. Pelosi is correct and Democrats will expand their congressional majorities. Maybe Mr. Maloney will easily win re-election as Democrats strengthen their numbers. And maybe pundits are correct when they suggest “things might be different” this midterm cycle because bad economic news and the president’s pitiful approval numbers don’t matter to voters, leaving Democrats with “a real chance” to keep “their majority intact.”

But Democrats face a simple, inconvenient fact: Nothing strategically meaningful is likely to change in their favor before Election Day.

Is inflation likely to decline dramatically this month? If it were, the Federal Reserve would be stopping its interest-rate hikes, not raising the target range for the federal-funds rate in anticipation of “ongoing increases.” The Energy Information Administration says the price of a gallon of regular gasoline has risen 26 cents nationally in the past four weeks. Because Saudi Arabia ignored U.S. pleas and teamed up with Russia to cut oil production, prices will likely go higher.

 

The election is less than four weeks away. Now is when the politically desperate typically try to fight despondency with flights of fancy, which might explain House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s optimism on Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show” last week.

Mrs. Pelosi claimed that because Democrats have better organization, superior messaging and more money, “we will hold the House, by winning more seats.” 

Does one of the nation’s toughest, most savvy politicos really think that? Probably not. Since modern political parties emerged between 1818 and 1824, the party in power has gained House seats only twice in a president’s first midterm.

It happened in 1934, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt rallied Americans during the Great Depression, and then in 2002, when President George W. Bush’s approval ratings were sky-high after the 9/11 attacks.

Read More at the WSJ

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