It could still happen. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer. Photo: Michael Smith/Getty Images A few weeks ago, I entertained the unlikely but very real possibility that Democrats could actually emerge triumphant this fall, becoming the third party of the president since the early New Deal to make general gains in a midterm election. After all, Democrats had experienced a major turn of fortune (and of enthusiasm) thanks to some important legislative victories, a bit of better economic news, and the powerful backlash against the outrageous Supreme Court decision abolishing constitutional abortion rights. But now is an appropriate time to weigh the evidence suggesting that the Democratic comeback may fall short of its goals — and to consider the consequences if Republicans make the gains nearly everyone expected back in the spring. Because there are currently some straws in the wind that bode ill for Dems. All those great Democratic voter-registration gains — especially … [Read more...] about Democrats’ Midterm Comeback Could Be Too Little, Too Late
As the saying goes, elections results are the only polls that really matter. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images Some of Democrats’ recent optimism about the 2022 midterms stemmed from real-life developments, including overperformance by Democratic candidates in special elections and the palpable sense that the issue landscape after Dobbs ended federal abortion rights is significantly more favorable to them. But the belief that we are approaching an atypical midterm in which the president’s party might do pretty well is also based on polls — particularly the generic congressional ballot , an approximation of the national House popular vote. From November 2021 through July 2022, Republicans led in the generic ballot in the RealClearPolitics averages . But now Democrats have a 0.4 percent lead in the RCP averages, and a more substantial 1.3 percent in FiveThirtyEight’s averages . Democrats are also doing quite well in public polling of individual Senate races. … [Read more...] about Will the Polls Be Wrong Again in 2022?
Senate candidate Herschel Walker of Georgia hopes his party’s strength and his heroic image will help him avoid debates, or at least lower any expectations for his performance. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images The received wisdom from political scientists on candidate debates is that, outside the presidential arena where everything gets attention, they rarely have a significant effect. This is mostly because viewership of anything other than a presidential debate is typically limited to the kinds of political junkies who have already made up their minds. The exception comes when a candidate makes a serious gaffe in a debate (e.g., former Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s inexplicable brain freeze during her opening remarks in a 2010 encounter she nonetheless survived); the news media will cover it, and the opposing campaign will heavily publicize it. This is why front-runners tend to avoid or minimize debates, while candidates who are in danger of losing will relentlessly call … [Read more...] about Do Debates Really Matter in Senate Races?
1 Health & Fitness You still have time to request an absentee ballot in Maryland — and more and more voters have been doing just that. Deb Belt , Patch Staff Posted Reply MARYLAND — Voters in a handful of states can request an absentee ballot now as 2022 midterm election campaigns enter the final stretch. Absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 general election in Maryland will be available around Sept. 29. Voters should be aware the procedure to get a mail-in ballot they followed in the 2020 general election may not be the same now. Multiple states changed their election laws after the COVID-19 pandemic upended voting patterns in the presidential election, with 69 percent of Americans casting ballots nontraditionally , according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Sponsors of new state laws on absentee voting say the changes improve election security, while critics say they make it harder for people to vote. There are … [Read more...] about 2022 Midterm Elections: When, How To Get Absentee Ballots In Maryland
Dive in. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images/Shutterstock With the party primaries completed, and early general-election voting beginning on September 23 in Minnesota, we are now fully immersed in the battle for control of Congress, the governorships, and many other positions of power in state and local governments that will be determined on November 8. There are all sorts of Big Picture dynamics affecting the ultimate outcome, including economic indicators, the backlash to the U.S. Supreme Court decision killing abortion rights, the president’s relative popularity, and the historical pattern of the president’s party almost always losing ground in midterms. But ultimately, every election comes down to individual contests between candidates. The following is an effort to note 13 — a baker’s dozen — races that will determine the shape of government and politics for the immediate future. There’s a heavy emphasis on Senate races, because these are typically … [Read more...] about The 13 Most Fascinating and High-Stakes Political Races to Follow Between Now and November
Kevin McCarthy announces his conference’s “Commitment To America,” such as it is. Photo: Barry Reeger/AP/Shutterstock In Thomas Pynchon’s 1965 cult novel The Crying of Lot 49 , a character who has taken too much LSD decides that if everyone on earth repeats the marketing phrase “rich, chocolatey goodness,” it will represent the voice of God. With or without drugs, a lot of people in politics have a similar delusion that getting candidates to make the same noises like chirping cicadas will produce electoral victories. It’s a particularly strong belief among congressional Republicans, who share the dubious conviction that Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” is what flipped control of Congress in 1994. So it’s not surprising that with the assistance of Gingrich and former Donald Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway , the House Republican Conference has released a new “agenda” document, entitled “Commitment to America. ” The document, clearly designed for online … [Read more...] about House Republicans Release Their Vague ‘Agenda’ for 2023
Wacky ex-general Don Bolduc, the front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination in New Hampshire. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images If Republicans fall short of a Senate takeover bid that earlier this year looked very promising, they can blame it on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision or Donald Trump’s unhelpful endorsements in multiple Senate primaries . But it’s pretty clear that, for whatever reason, the GOP has gone into a highly competitive midterm-election cycle with a suboptimal Senate-candidate roster. That is especially clear in New Hampshire, where the last Senate primary of the cycle (not counting Louisiana’s nonpartisan “jungle primary” on General Election Day) will take place September 13. New Hampshire Republicans are haunted by a Senate candidacy that didn’t happen. Until Governor Chris Sununu took a pass on a race against vulnerable incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan, Republicans were confidently putting the Granite State … [Read more...] about New Hampshire Senate Primary Could Be Another Unforced Error for GOP
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc smiles during a primary-night campaign gathering in Hampton, New Hampshire, on September 13. Photo: Reba Saldanha/AP/Shutterstock It’s one of those election results that isn’t surprising but is still a shocking reflection of how Republican voters have embraced wild MAGA politics. On Tuesday, the final day of the 2022 primaries, New Hampshire GOP voters nominated former Army general and generally extremist politician Don Bolduc to battle Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan for a U.S. Senate seat. Establishment Republicans were slow to unite behind an alternative to Bolduc; when they did, New Hampshire State Senate president Chuck Morse didn’t have the mojo to defeat the 2020-election-denying and all-around wacky front-runner. Morse benefitted from a big infusion of late national Republican ad expenditures and an equally late endorsement from Governor Chris Sununu (who unexpectedly took a pass on the Senate race). Morse did well … [Read more...] about Republicans Shudder as Extremist Don Bolduc Wins Senate Primary
Two old rivals are locking horns once again. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images In 2020, Georgia became the ultimate battleground state with a very close presidential contest and two Senate races that went into overtime and ultimately decided control of the chamber. The tradition continues this year with another close and crucial Senate race featuring incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker . But for aficionados of high principle and hardball tactics, the race to watch is the rematch of Republican governor Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams . Kemp is a hard-core conservative and veteran vote suppressor who survived a purge attempt by Donald Trump earlier this year, while Abrams is a nationally renowned voting-rights champion who came very close to winning four years ago in the most successful Georgia Democratic gubernatorial campaign of this century. The two pols represent polarized and evenly matched parties … [Read more...] about The Georgia Governor’s Race Is Ground Zero for Polarization
Less unpopular lately. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images For a brief moment this week, it looked as if Joe Biden’s doom spiral was back. The president had invited allies from across the country to the White House’s South Lawn to celebrate his massive Inflation Reduction Act in a nationally televised ceremony, but a surprisingly torrid inflation report and subsequent stock dive seemed certain to derail the Tuesday festivities and embarrass the West Wing — and to remind everyone of Biden’s unrelentingly grim winter and spring, when the state of the economy had his party girding for a midterm wipeout and even fellow Democrats questioned his place on the top of their ticket . Yet by midmorning, a different political story had become topic A in the political press. Republican senator Lindsey Graham stole the media spotlight with a freelanced proposal of a 15-week national abortion ban that immediately cleaved GOP leaders and activists and … [Read more...] about Biden Isn’t the Main Character of the Midterms Anymore