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How Badly Will the Democrats Lose the Midterm Elections?

April 28, 2022
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Even Democratic strategists now admit the midterms will be disastrous for their party. “It’s going to be a terrible cycle for Democrats,” Doug Sosnik, one of the party’s best grand strategists, recently told the New York Times. The question is how big the calamity will be. A freeway pileup? Category 5 hurricane? Or Krakatoa with all the attendant consequences?

We can’t know for sure—the list of variables and potential influences is too long—but we can speculate.

Will Congress pass some version of Build Back Better using budget reconciliation? How about any other major initiatives? If so, will they affect public opinion? My view is no BBB iteration is likely to pass, but more military aid to Ukraine probably will. So will something on China, a bill funding various Covid-related purposes, some appropriations for the coming year (but not a budget) and odds and ends, but nothing that moves the needle politically.

Does the war in Ukraine create a rally-round-the-flag effect for the president’s party like John F. Kennedy got after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis? The proximity of its resolution to the midterms allowed JFK’s Democrats to hold their House losses to four seats and gain four in the Senate. There’s been no sign of this happening for President Biden so far, and I’m doubtful it will.

Does inflation decline appreciably? Or will wages rise faster than prices? Either would soften the electoral blow for Democrats. I’m not an economist but I can’t see how inflation could fall dramatically by November. Mr. Biden spent too much on his American Rescue Plan and the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve waited too long to act, as if inflation would dissipate on its own.

Even Democratic strategists now admit the midterms will be disastrous for their party. “It’s going to be a terrible cycle for Democrats,” Doug Sosnik, one of the party’s best grand strategists, recently told the New York Times. The question is how big the calamity will be. A freeway pileup? Category 5 hurricane? Or Krakatoa with all the attendant consequences?

We can’t know for sure—the list of variables and potential influences is too long—but we can speculate.

Will Congress pass some version of Build Back Better using budget reconciliation? How about any other major initiatives? If so, will they affect public opinion? My view is no BBB iteration is likely to pass, but more military aid to Ukraine probably will. So will something on China, a bill funding various Covid-related purposes, some appropriations for the coming year (but not a budget) and odds and ends, but nothing that moves the needle politically.

Does the war in Ukraine create a rally-round-the-flag effect for the president’s party like John F. Kennedy got after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis? The proximity of its resolution to the midterms allowed JFK’s Democrats to hold their House losses to four seats and gain four in the Senate. There’s been no sign of this happening for President Biden so far, and I’m doubtful it will.

Read More at the WSJ

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