I’ve got a busy week so instead of a big blog, here are a few observations about the state of politics in midsummer.

The political environment is slowly improving for Democrats. It’s not going to get good enough to make 2022 a good year for the party, but it might get good enough to stave off another wave. Gas prices are going down and if they continue to the trend, they might not have much of an effect on the election by November. 

Inflation is also going down. It’s going to be slower and less dramatic than gas because convenient stores don’t have signs advertising the price of goods and services. Still, if people are worrying less about the cost of living, then they are less likely to be angry at the party in power.  

The January 6 hearings are having some impact. They’ve clearly shown that Trump and his minions intended to interrupt our democracy. While I don’t think the hearings will change any minds, they might dampen enthusiasm of the Trumpists going into the fall election. 

Women are more upset about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade than a lot of people realize. If they become politicized, they could provide the uptick in Democratic voters that the party needs to offset the GOP’s historical advantage of being the party out of power in a midterm election. 

For the moment, voters seems to be separating their dissatisfaction with Joe Biden from their opinion of Democratic Members of Congress. While Biden is underwater by double digits, the Congressional generic ballot is only separated by about two points and Democrats seem to be improving their standing. While Democrats hope this phenomena will hold, Republicans will spend hundreds of millions of dollars wrapping Democratic candidates around the unpopular president. I suspect at least some of their effort will be successful, but it might be muted more than in the past. 

While I still believe 2022 will favor Republicans, it doesn’t feel like a 2010-style wave. Back then, Tea Partiers were revving up the GOP base with rallies while the fight to pass the Affordable Care Act left everybody dissatisfied with both the process and the new law, dampening Democratic turnout. I’m not seeing the driver for big GOP turnout or the factors that would seriously depress Democratic turnout that leads to a wave. 

All of that said, we’re in the middle of summer with little happening politically. Congress is in recess and in North Carolina, the General Assembly is adjourned. Most people aren’t paying much attention to anything other than vacations and the lack of news. We’ll know more about the environment in September. Future events could certainly shape the election, but, right now, 2022 seems more likely to be a more “normal” midterm than a wave. Of course, given our recent history, that would be less than normal. 


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