For Democrats the news keeps getting better. Last night, Arizona U.S. Senator Kristin Sinema announced she is on board with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says that the Senate will take up the bill on Saturday, indicating that they could pass it before the August recess. If the bill passes, Democrats would have a string of legislative successes this summer including several bipartisan bills. 

Politically, passing the bill could help heading into the midterms. Democrats will have a solid slate of accomplishments on which to run. They’ve passed bipartisan bills to increase background checks on guns, increase manufacturing of computer chips in the country, and helping veterans who suffer from ailments caused by toxic burn pits. They will cast Republicans as standing against reducing the price of prescription drugs and measures to combat climate change. 

Republicans who are trying to portray Democrats as extremists will look out of touch with the rest of the country. Their narrative will contrast sharply with the reality that’s taking shape. The bills that have been passed fit squarely in the mainstream of American politics. A lot of them, like background checks, have had broad support for years but have been blocked by politicians, mostly Republicans, beholden to the gun industry.  

In fact, Republicans increasingly look like a party that has embraced extremism. Yesterday, Hungarian strongman Victor Orban was the main speaker at CPAC, the annual conservative conference. The authoritarian wing of the GOP has embraced Orban, in part, because of his unabashed racism and homophobia. Failure of once mainstream Republicans to denounce the Victor Orbans and Donald Trumps of the world will eventually put them on the wrong side of the American electorate. 

The grifters who populate and animate the GOP base are also being exposed. Alex Jones, the Trump ally who made a fortune calling the Sandy Hook massacre a false flag, is being held liable for the venom he spews in a trial that is exposing his lies and the incompetence of these conmen. His lawyers accidently sent his phone messages for the past two years to the opposing attorneys. Now, the January 6 Committee has requested the texts, including ones with fellow grifter Roger Stone. 

The summer has seen a big shift from the dire situation Democrats seemed to face just a few months ago. Back then, they were fending off attacks over critical race theory. In November, Republicans won governorships in Virginia and New Jersey. This time last year, we were watching the party fight itself over the Build Back Better bill after failing to celebrate the monumental Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The party seems to have taken the lessons of their losses to heart and now show a relatively unified party heading into the midterm elections. 

While all of these accomplishments and the comeuppance of the grifters and charlatans in the GOP in both courts and the January 6 Committee give Democrats room to cheer, they are still facing an up hill battle. The fundamentals favor Republicans taking back at least one House of Congress. Redistricting gives them a huge advantage. Much of the country is still more focused on inflation than any legislation or scandal. People are increasing credit card debt to cover their cost of living. Never forget that many voters are more self-interested than partisan and their personal situation beats political developments every time.

Still, the Red Wave that was looming on the horizon has largely disappeared. Odds are pretty even that Democrats can hold the Senate. They have a record to sell to voters. Republicans have a bunch of liabilities and more may be coming. In the GOP’s overreach on abortion, the activists have a salient issue to motivate an important part of the progressive base. The fall campaign should be an interesting fight. 


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