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Thursday, October 27, 2022
Everything's Coming up Red for Republicans This November
That rumble you hear in the distance is the sound of Republican momentum about to inundate the Democrats. It’s Mount Doom about to erupt. It’s the furies let loose to wreak havoc in formerly blue states and districts.
“Look, man, I’ve been at this for 30 years, and it is always the period in late September and early October when an election starts to tilt and move,” said Mark Longabaugh, a progressive ad maker who worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign. “So, we’re at that moment, and I don’t think you can look at these numbers across the country and say anything but it looks like it’s moving in Republicans’ direction.”
He said, “I think it’s clear Republicans have seized the upper hand.”
There are several reasons for the Republican revival. Chief among these reasons has been something Republicans don’t control: the economy. Inflation concerns have taken over the race, and despite Democrats trying to distract voters with various ploys, voters only have to go to a grocery store to confirm the wisdom of voting for a change.
Another telling reason for the Republican surge is that GOP voters who might have defected in 2020 to the Democrats are coming home. Suburban women aren’t swallowing the propaganda that ending abortion as we know it is a threat to their lives. They’re far more concerned about groomers in schools and teachers telling their kids that they’re evil for being white.
And the Hispanic earthquake moving toward the GOP that may upend American politics in ways we can’t even fathom at the moment promises a significant realignment in the years ahead.
As for the immediate future, redistricting may be working out better for Republicans than they could have dreamed. A half dozen blue House districts that Joe Biden carried easily in 2020 are currently up for grabs. Republicans aren’t likely to win all of them. But some of these races that may go Republican will make your head spin.
Oregon — a solid blue state for 30 years — is getting very purplish.
It’s the same story in Oregon, where the state’s new House district, allocated because of its population growth, is now a “Toss Up.” That race, between Democratic state legislator Andrea Salinas and Republican businessman Mike Erickson, is razor-tight, despite a 14-point Biden margin in 2020.
The close contest in Oregon is part of a promising trend for Republicans in the western state, where their critiques of Democratic leadership on inflation, crime and homelessness are paying dividends. Thanks to a credible independent candidate on the ballot, GOP nominee Christine Drazan could become the first Republican to win the governorship there in 40 years.
And Republicans could flip three of the state’s six House seats: In addition to the new “Toss Up” rating in the 6th District, the 5th District (Biden +9) is also a “Toss Up,” and the open 4th District (Biden +13) is rated just “Lean Democratic.”
Republicans have been aided by several super PACs opening their wallets and swamping the Democrats in spending, forcing Democrats to fold the tent on several promising races that they might have won but find it necessary to allocate resources to defend seats rather than try and flip them blue.
The Senate is the true battleground, and where Democrats appeared ready to gain at least one or two seats three weeks ago, Republicans have mounted a ferocious comeback in several states where they absolutely need to either hold their own or gain a majority.
The race to replace retiring Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey appeared to be Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s to lose. He was up by six points in August, despite suffering a stroke, and the GOP candidate, Mehmet Oz, was making one mistake after another.
Then Fetterman re-emerged to give an interview to NBC’s Dasha Burns. As it turned out, Fetterman needed closed-captioning technology to communicate with Burns. The left came down on Burns for exposing the candidate’s weakness, but Fetterman’s ability to serve came into question. That six-point lead by Fetterman has all but disappeared, and the latest polls show the race to be a tossup.
In Arizona, where incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly held a double-digit lead at one time over Republican Blake Masters, older Arizonans are flocking to Masters’ campaign, bringing him within three points of Kelly. The incumbent is swamping Masters with those under 30, but Masters has a similarly large lead with those over 65.
It’s a truism in politics that older people vote and younger ones don’t. If Masters has a decent GOTV operation, he should yet prevail.
And in the race to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Republican J.D. Vance has surged ahead of Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, 47%-45%. Vance was also down considerably just six weeks ago.
The polls are trending Republicans’ way. At this point, history has shown us how hard it is to blunt this late momentum. For the first time in two months, polls show that Republicans are now favored to take control of the Senate.
We still don’t have a good handle on how big the GOP majority will be in the House. But every poll that comes out appears to indicate a growing preference for Republicans on the generic ballot and a continued slide in Biden’s approval. That double whammy will bring much sorrow and anguish to Democrats on election day.