AMAC Exclusive – by Shane Harris
As it stands now, Republicans look to be in prime position to retake both chambers of Congress in next year’s midterm elections. With vulnerable Democrat incumbents like Raphael Warnock in Georgia, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada up for reelection, the GOP has high hopes of breaking past the 50/50 tie in the Senate. The situation is even better in the House, with Democrats holding a razor-slim 3-seat majority after losing 13 seats in 2020. However, as COVID-19, BLM riots, and Biden corruption scandals showed last year, events have a way of shaking up political races in dramatic and often unpredictable ways. It’s often said that a few months is a long time in politics, and we have more than a year to go before November 2022.
Here are seven potential game-changers that could transform the midterm elections.
The Durham Probe Could Blow the Lid Off the Biggest Scandal in American History
Many Republicans had all but given up hope that they would ever see accountability for the FBI and Democrats’ long establishment malfeasance in the “Russia Hoax.” Yet finally, after years of silence, Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation seems to have come back out of nowhere. In August 2020, former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith plead guilty to altering an email in order to improperly obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Then, in an even more shocking development just last month, Durham secured an indictment against Washington attorney Michael Sussmann for lying to the FBI. According to the indictment, Sussmann presented allegations about the connection between the Trump campaign and Russia to the FBI without disclosing that he was acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign, in effect “[misleading] the FBI about the political nature of his work.” The indictment also made clear that Sussmann and his colleagues may have been fully aware that the information they were sharing was false.
Now, pressure is mounting on Attorney General Merrick Garland to release the full Durham report once it is complete. If the revelations thus far are any indication, the political fallout for Democrats could be significant. In the wake of the Sussmann indictment, left-wing comedian Russell Brand posted a video complaining about the Democrat deception—and if the millions of views the video has racked up are any indication, Brand may speak for the disaffection many liberals will feel when they finally realize they were lied to. Should the Durham report further expose a conspiracy between the Clinton campaign, the Obama administration, and the intelligence community to spy on and levy false accusations against President Trump, it would vindicate Trump’s assertions throughout his time in office of a Deep State effort to sabotage his presidency. Such a development would undoubtedly energize the Republican base and discredit Congressional Democrats in the eyes of the American people.
The Supreme Court Could Revise Roe v. Wade
In December, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the most significant challenge to Roe v. Wade in nearly three decades. If the uproar over the Supreme Court’s decision to allow a Texas law banning most abortions to go into effect is any indication, the political ramifications of the Dobbs decision could be monumental. While changing Roe would be an undeniable victory for conservatives in a decades-long battle, the immediate political effect for Republicans may be more of a mixed bag. On the one hand, a victory for the pro-life movement could help galvanize Republicans behind this important issue. However, it could also energize the Democratic base, providing an issue to rally around as the Biden administration and Democrat leaders in Congress botch one crisis after another.
Justice Stephen Breyer Could Give in to the Woke Mob and Retire
It didn’t take long after President Biden took office for progressives to start clamoring for the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Despite having one of the most liberal voting records of anyone on the Court, progressives have made clear that they want an even more radical, younger judge to take his place.
While Breyer has so far resisted calls for his retirement, he is nonetheless the oldest person on the Court at 82, and he has stated that he does not intend to remain on the bench until his death.
If Breyer announces his retirement at the end of the current Supreme Court term or shortly before the midterms, it would dramatically raise the stakes of the contest for control of the Senate. After watching President Trump and Senate Republicans put three justices on the Court, and knowing that there is no guarantee they win the White House again in 2024, liberals are desperate to preserve the seats they have left. If Republicans win back the Senate, they could potentially block any Biden nominee, much like they did with Merrick Garland in 2016. In effect, a Breyer retirement would make the midterm elections an election for a Supreme Court Justice as well.
Biden Could Be Forced to Step Down
Concerns about Joe Biden’s health and faculties have been well-documented throughout the 2020 campaign and the early months of his presidency, and compared to other recent presidents, he is rarely seen in public. While the White House has repeatedly dismissed concerns about Biden’s cognitive decline, aides have privately admitted that they can’t even watch Biden’s public appearances for fear that he will take questions from the media. According to one recent poll, 56% of Americans think that Biden is not mentally sharp. Most Americans also report that they do not believe he is the one really running the country.
It is simply a reality that an individual of Biden’s age could face an unforeseen health issue that would leave him incapable of performing the very demanding job he holds. Should that happen, the Democrat Party would suddenly find itself in a leadership crisis ahead of the midterms as Kamala Harris, a historically unpopular vice president, took Biden’s place. In this scenario, a succession fight over who would be on the Democratic ticket in 2024 would suddenly take center stage, further hampering Democrats’ efforts to project a unified front and distracting from Congressional battles throughout the country.
A similar situation faced Republicans following the resignation of President Nixon in 1974. After Vice President Ford assumed the presidency, a leadership battle ensued, and Ford was nearly defeated by Ronald Reagan in the 1976 Republican primary. That internal struggle likely contributed to Ford’s loss to Jimmy Carter that fall, a precedent that would not bode well for Harris and Congressional Democrats in the event of a Biden exit.
Pelosi Could Actually Be Forced Out As Speaker
Joe Biden isn’t the only major Democratic leader who could be in peril between now and next November. Following disastrous results for Democrats in last year’s House elections, Pelosi has struggled to keep her conference together as she faces simultaneous revolts from both the progressive and moderate wings of her party. Currently, the two factions are locked in a stand-off over Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill. If Pelosi can’t get that and the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed, it would be a major blow to Biden’s domestic agenda and could undermine the confidence of the Democratic caucus in Pelosi’s leadership.
Pelosi already faced calls to step down when Democrats took back the House in 2018, and some progressives were vocally unhappy when she stayed on as speaker after 2020. Pelosi previously pitched herself as a “transitional” leader for the party, and some aides have privately speculated that this could be her last term in the House.
If Pelosi were to be forced out, resign, or announce her retirement, it would amount to a seismic shift in the political landscape in Washington. Pelosi has led House Democrats for 18 years, and her absence would almost certainly touch off an internal battle amongst progressive and moderate Democrats to determine the future direction of the party.
The Economy Could Tank
After President Trump led a historic economic resurgence following the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, that progress slowed, halted, and then began to reverse under President Biden. Inflation continues to be a persistent problem, energy prices are on the rise, the costs of everyday goods are soaring, and the country can’t seem to solve its supply chain issues.
Moreover, Biden and Congressional Democrats are pushing $4.5 trillion in spending, coupled with historic tax hikes—potentially amounting to an economic double-whammy that would fuel inflation while crushing Americans’ disposable at the same time.
The country could also face further economic hardship if Biden is unable to deliver on his promise to “shut down” COVID-19. Since Democrats have unified control of the federal government, they will likely have a difficult time convincing many Americans that Republicans are responsible for the economic direction of the country. In what was already going to be a tough year for Democrats, further economic woes would only make hurt their chances even more.
China Could Invade Taiwan—or some other unforeseen crisis
On the heels of a disastrous evacuation from Afghanistan and a highly visible public spat with France, Biden and Congressional Democrats are already on their heels when it comes to foreign policy.
Throughout the 2020 campaign, President Trump warned that Biden was “soft on China,” pointing to Biden’s previous statements calling for closer ties. Since Biden took office, those accusations appear to have been spot on, as China has only grown more aggressive around the world.
Tensions are especially high over Taiwan, which the Chinese Communist Party has long sought to bring back under its dominion. Taiwan is a key American trading partner and a vital supplier of semiconductors used in countless consumer goods, as well as military equipment. If China gains control of the island nation, it would be a historic defeat not only for Taiwan, but for the United States and free people everywhere.
In short, heading into next year, the only sure thing is that in politics, nothing is a sure thing.
While Republicans appear to be in a good position at the moment, history suggests that coasting into an election cycle and is not a wise move. Instead, the GOP should remain on the lookout for developments that they can use to their advantage—and also be cautious of how their political fortunes can turn on a dime.
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