Democrats appear to be shuffling toward a midterm disaster. They don’t have to

Election prognosticators increasingly predict Congress will fall to the GOP in this year’s midterms. The reasons have less to do with Republican policy proposals (those are scarce nationally these days) than with inflation, President Joe Biden’s low approval numbers and other factors that have the ruling party on the rocks. This is a good time to remind voters of what the GOP has done in the past and would likely do in the future with renewed congressional control — and to implore Democrats to get their act together.

The consistent pattern is that the party in the presidency almost always loses congressional seats in the midterms. Polls indicate that pattern will endure this year. The House is “about as good as gone for Democrats,” Politico predicts. The Senate outcome is less assured, in part because if disgraced Missouri ex-Gov. Eric Greitens wins the state’s Republican Senate nomination, he could well lose a winnable seat for the party. But overall, prospects in that chamber, too, still lean to the GOP.


The main factor is which side gets its voters to the polls. FiveThirtyEight and other analysts predict a major midterm enthusiasm gap: the difference between mobilized conservatives who yearn to humiliate Biden by voting against Democrats, and frustrated liberals who aren’t in the mood to defend him and his party.

Democrats have provided plenty for liberals to be frustrated about, including their inability to deliver on promises like Biden’s “Build Back Better” package for climate reform and social spending, his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, and of course the current rise in inflation. The latter is largely the result of issues that predate Biden, like current oil shortages due to private industry still ramping back up from the pandemic. But in the real world, presidents and their parties get the blame when prices go up.

Democratic successes, though, are significant, including Biden’s historic infrastructure package, vast improvement over his predecessor’s handling of the pandemic, near-record employment, and a steady hand in dealing with the Russia-Ukraine war. (How former President Donald Trump might have dealt with that fraught, potentially apocalyptic challenge is the stuff of nightmares.)

Biden has never been a smooth communicator, and Democrats as a whole have never worked and played well together. They obscure their own successes with these shortcomings. They should do a better job of reminding the nation what has been accomplished — and what stands to be lost.

While the more savvy Republicans don’t say it, the party has signaled clearly that likely results of a GOP congressional takeover (especially if they add the presidency in 2024) include all-out assaults on both abortion rights and voting rights. Liberals, moderates and conservatives who recognize the dangers of that agenda don’t have to blindly watch history repeat itself this November.

— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email