WASHINGTON, DC, Jan 25– The red sea of the Republican Party appears to be primed to send a tsunami of grief into the hopes of Democrats in Congress who sense that things will not go well for them come to the midterm elections in November. According to The Hill, to take control of the House of Representatives, Republicans need to flip just five seats in the 2022 midterm balloting, and already, with ten months to go, 28 House Democrats have announced they are throwing in the towel.
Geoffrey Skelley, an elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight.com, says, “Retirements won’t determine the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections in the House, but they do provide a signal that Democrats believe they are in a poor electoral position. Although politicians aren’t necessarily good pundits, their attitude is understandable considering Biden’s approval rating and the trajectory of generic-ballot polling. And more retirements could still be on the way, as only one state — Texas — has passed its candidate filing deadline, so stay tuned.”
There are two reasons why Democrats are giving up so early. For one thing, there’s a Democrat at the helm in the White House, and history shows that House members who belong to the same party as the sitting president have a tough time getting reelected. To make matters worse this time around, both the sitting president, Joe Biden, and his VP, Kamala Harris, have super low approval ratings. NPR provides the icing on the cake, reporting that “the list of retiring House Democrats includes several committee chairs, a signal that veteran lawmakers see the writing on the wall and expect to lose their gavels.”
An analysis by CNN’s White House reporter Stephen Collinson notes that “a wider battle is playing out — a generational struggle between conservatism and liberal activism that Biden appears to be losing, despite some early legislative successes, as the right’s hold on critical institutions of the US political system tightens.”
Redistricting will play a major role in the midterms, and state legislatures have already begun the process of redrawing house and senate districts. It happens every ten years for the purpose of reflecting population changes in towns and cities. So far, 27 states have already finished the redrawing process, according to FiveThirtyEight analysts.
They tell us, “At this point, redistricting has created seven more Democratic-leaning seats nationally, one more Republican-leaning seat, and six fewer highly competitive seats. However, because many of those newly blue seats are already held by Democrats, it’s actually Republicans who have gained a handful of House seats through the redistricting process so far. Republicans have also converted light-red districts into safer seats in states like Indiana, Oklahoma, and Utah. Overall, redistricting hasn’t drastically changed the House landscape so far — but that’s good news for Republicans since the old maps already tilted the House playing field in their favor.”
The hope of Democrats appears to be the legislative agenda their party proposed, which focused on the basic needs of citizens and voters, particularly the overly generous BBB, Build Back Better initiative. But as National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director Michael McAdams told CBS News a couple of weeks ago: “Democrats are living on another planet if they think any piece of legislation is going to make voters forget the skyrocketing inflation, rampant crime and border crisis their policies created. “[They] dug themselves a hole they can’t escape, so the smart ones are calling it quits while they still can.”
Interestingly, Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Mark Gonzalez was also quoted in the CBS story, and, to this reader, he sounded like he was offering encouragement to call it quits. As he put it, “If you’re going to retire now, or you’re going to get out of the game, I think you’re going out on top. I think you’re providing yourself more opportunity to realize that at some point, it’s just probably better to go out.”
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