In a typical midterm election, the party holding the White House and Congress suffers a setback, while the minority party gains power. This year, that’s good news for the GOP, which expects to complete a “red wave” in November and retake the House and Senate.
But former lawmakers like Rick Santorum, R-Paa are viewing the race with skepticism. Speaking to Newsmax last week, he called on his party for complacency ahead of the midterm: “Republicans need to start paying attention. If you look at the national elections, if you look at a lot of these races, like in my home state of Pennsylvania – if it’s a red wave year, the elections just aren’t showing it. ,
Certainly, new voting, a special election in New York, a landmark Supreme Court case, and candidate hiccups are worrying Republicans and persuasive Democrats.
Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania is holding its most important open-seat Senate election yet. Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz beat a crowded primary field, partly thanks to the support of former President Donald Trump. But his bid is not guaranteed in a politically red state.
Oz’s rival, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, pranks him with advertisements for the attack. While Oz has tried to attack the awakened agenda and rising cost of living, last week he sent an advert showing him mixing names and prices at a grocery store where he was shopping for “crudités.” Tha – also known as veggie tray.
Opponents have used this and other jabs at his lavish lifestyle, including the fact that he recently moved from New Jersey, to argue that he is out of touch with voters. Last week, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report adjusted its analysis of the race from “toss-up” to “Lean Democrat.”
Pennsylvania is an example of many. The midterm is still 75 days away, the elections are only asking which party voters want to win a majority in the Congress. Since last November, Republicans have come out on top, but that changed in mid-August. Polls from NBC, RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight all showed Democrats leading with a 0.5 percent lead.
How did this happen? Analysts point to a number of factors on the biased outlook. On the one hand, it is easy for Republican candidates to criticize the current administration’s policy failures such as Afghanistan’s withdrawal and inflation. But the Democratic nominee is using the Supreme Court’s pro-life ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson to energize pro-abortion voters, turning the midterms into a referendum on healthcare.
Last Tuesday, Democrat Pat Ryan defeated Republican Mark Molinaro by just 2 percentage points in the state’s special election for New York’s 19th congressional district in the Catskills. Although it was not a regular primary, political strategists saw the race as a threat in a swing district with high voter turnout. Biden won the district in 2020, but Trump claimed it in 2016 and Obama in 2012.
Still, University of Georgia political science professor Jamie Carson said he was not convinced that the mid-term forecast based on Ryan’s victory was any clear.
“A special election basically predicts what is going to happen in a particular election,” Carson told me. “Any time there’s an election in an off year, people will watch it to predict what’s going to happen months from now. But to be honest, a lot can change.”
Ryan has largely run his race on abortion, saying that the Republicans’ pro-life stance threatens democracy. According to FiveThirtyEight, this has been a normal campaign position since Dobbs’ decision in June, which is largely when Democrats began to outperform Republicans.
Election analyst Nathaniel Rakich wrote, “The correlation is not causation, but given the precise timing, it appears that Dobbs’ decision is responsible for the change in the political climate.” “In other words, it may be similar to other major news events that turned the midterm elections on their head: the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton in 1998 and the September 11 attacks and the War on Terror in 2002.”
A recent NBC News poll found that a “threat to democracy” is now associated with “cost of living” as the top issue for voters. “Abortion” is in seventh place. The same poll also found that Democrats almost match Republicans in their enthusiasm to vote in November. Pundits say Republicans have been slow to adapt to these changes.
“Every week, more and more people see the GOP focusing on the wrong things,” Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson told Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report. “They are focusing on what ignites right-wing social media and what the former president likes, not what matters to the American people.