Since the Fall of last year. every indicator has shown this November will be a wave election. What started as Biden incompetence related to the withdrawal in Afghanistan has morphed in the following months into rapid inflation and sky high gas prices.
Last year, this culminated in Republicans winning their first statewide contests in the state since 2009. Not only did they win one statewide race but all three (GA, LG, AG) and they retook the state house despite court ordered maps over the years making it lean blue.
For several months we continued to see Biden’s disapproval sit in the low 40’s but several new variables were entered into the equation. The first was inflation rocketing upward in the 1st quarter of the year. Despite solid economic growth and wage increases, inflation has actually overtaken any benefit from wage hikes. The Russian invasion of Ukraine only made this worse. It introduced gas price hikes on a level not seen since the 70s.
Democrats had hoped voters would give them credit for the growing economy but unfortunately voters seem more content to blame him and his party for inflation. Instead of learning from their mistakes, Democrats seem content to focus on culture war issues (CRT in schools, transgenderism) and ignore the pocketbook issues voters are concerned about.
Oh, and if it could not get any worse, the aura of incompetence Democrats hoped Biden had shed after Afghanistan has returned with avengeance as voters have lost faith on his ability to handle an international crisis. At first, it did look like Biden had united Europe against Russia, but a series of statements where Biden called for regime change in Russia, despite the White House contradicting him, has only made it more obvious.
But, this is all opinion minus the Virginia results. We have not had a solid amount of data to go on since Virginia. That was until last month. Texas, the state with the earliest primary in the nation, saw almost half a million more Republicans vote in the primary than their Democratic counterparts. Maybe, that could be discounted because Republicans had more competitive primaries in the state but the most recent results from last Tuesday show a trend.
On April 5th, a series of elections across the country, congressional and local, show just how bad things are looking. Republicans retook the Kenosha County Executive position for the first time in a decade while also winning three seats on the Waukesha school board. But, those were local issues you say. Well, the CA – 22 special election was not. In a seat where Trump beat Biden by a mere five points, as of this writing Republicans candidates had combined for over 65 percent of the vote. Oh, and if we need any more proof… a special election for a swing seat in Long Beach saw the Republican win by over 30 points.
Everywhere you look, warning signs are flashing. In Florida, Republicans have overtaken Democrats for the first time since 2005. In Pennsylvania, Republicans are registering former Democrats at a rate of 4 -1 compared to their counterparts.
Even once formerly bright spots, such as redistricting, seems to be turning against the party. In Maryland, the courts overturned an ugly and blatant gerrymander to keep a single seat red and another seat winnable. In Ohio, the state supreme court was cajoled by the legislature into allowing legislative drawn lines to be used for the primary. Democrats in both Oregon, and particularly Nevada, are now calling out their party for possibly drawing a dummymander. The party may suffer even after this year. In North Carolina, the Democratic majority state supreme court ordered a remedial map which makes a 7 – 7 split likely. That said, the remedial map will only stand for a single cycle. Two Democratic justices on the court are up this term and it is unlikely the party will hold them in this environment.
Now, to be fair, Republican wins this November will likely not be because voters like Republicans but a repudiation of Democratic incompetence. The splits in the Democratic Party among those who worry about working class losses vs. neoliberal elites obsessed with marginal social issues are equaled by GOP splits.
These divides will be played out in 23 and 24 and only impact the margins this cycle. But, one thing which seems clear this cycle, is November is shaping up to be a red wave (and I did not even get into the generic ballot).