Here are 5 key questions to prepare you for the coming days of the 2022 election season: NPR


People vote on Election Day at PS 11 Purvis J. Behan Elementary School on November 2, 2021 in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of the borough of Brooklyn in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images


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Here are 5 key questions to prepare you for the coming days of the 2022 election season: NPR

People vote on Election Day at PS 11 Purvis J. Behan Elementary School on November 2, 2021 in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of the borough of Brooklyn in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Election day is almost here! Well, almost. Tens of millions of people have already voted and the election is expected to drag on beyond Tuesday for days or even weeks. Several races, particularly in the Senate, are expected to be very close and control of the chamber may not be known for some time.

Here are five questions to help you think through this next phase of the election season.

1. Have things returned to a typical medium-term environment?

It seemed for some time – from the end of June after the Dobbs decision annulling deer until September — that Democrats could defy political gravity and not suffer the kind of losses that are so typical for the president’s party in his first half term. But over the past few weeks, much of the available data shows things are turning in the Republicans’ direction. Worries about inflation and the economy continue to be top concerns for voters, and Democratic enthusiasm numbers are lagging GOP mainstay groups. That said, Democratic Senate candidates are still locked in neck and neck races with their GOP opponents. So no one really knows exactly what will happen with the Senate – and don’t believe anyone who seems to think so.

2. How big is the GOP wave in the House?

Republicans are very likely to take control of the House – they only have to flip five seats, and after redistricting they are already favored in seven (seats deemed likely or strong Republicans), according to the Cook Political Report. Cook, who is trying to predict these things, upped his projection from 10-20 seats to 12-25. Those margins are going to be key to whether Democrats can live to fight another round. The 2024 presidential election is going to be intense, and the Senate landscape is even more Republican-friendly that year.

Democrats, of course, have an equal chance of winning the presidency again in 2024 (remember, you can’t get anything out of midterms about what that might mean for a presidential run). But if a Republican Is winning the White House, the Democrats’ best hope of blunting the agenda of a potential GOP president will likely come through the House. So they need to keep those losses to a minimum in those key, closed races to have a chance of doing so. Much depends on whether the major Democratic groups show up to vote — or not.

3. Can Democrats return their grassroots voters with Trump absent from the ballot?

There has never been a bigger turnout machine for Democrats than Trump. Sure, Trump fires up his base, but he also fires up the Democrats. Progressives and younger voters were never thrilled with Biden, but they voted for him to oust Trump from office. This is the first election after Trump, and although he played a leading role in these elections and many candidates running in the image of Trump, the enthusiasm of the group of voters The Democratic base is down in every area — young voters, black voters, Latinos — except for white women with college degrees, who cite abortion as their top voting issue.

According to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, Gen Z/Millennials voters also list abortion rights as their top concern, and it’s clear that Democratic activists are trying to use it to get them to the polls. . But it is the group that is least interested in these elections. It’s not atypical for a midterm election, but the gap between older voters and younger voters in the survey is extremely wide — 35 points. Democrats probably need youth voter turnout to be around 30% to do well, but that’s probably going to be tough. Black voters will be key in tight Senate races like Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina, while Latinos will be key in Nevada (as will Asian American voters) and Arizona. But each of these latter groups cites inflation and the cost of living as their main concern.

4. How important do candidates matter?

It’s no secret that Republicans have fielded some tough candidates in the Senate. Trump reinforced Herschel Walker in Georgia and Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania, as well as JD Vance in Ohio and Ted Budd in North Carolina. And Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, it’s safe to say, isn’t the strongest candidate Republicans could have put forward. The Oz and Walker races will be key because for the Democrats to hold the Senate, they will need to win three of four in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.

It will be a real test of the strength of party identification, which we know is damn strong, and, more importantly, of the strength of the Trump brand in the purple states. With this environment, Democrats are only in these races because of the lagging performances of these Trump candidates. He continues to be unpopular with a majority of Americans, and if Democrats hold the Senate because candidates like him lose, there will be plenty of finger pointing in Trump’s direction, even if he claims deserve it regardless – and as people close to him strongly suggest he will announce a presidential race shortly after the midterms.

5. How smoothly will voting go and what kind of chaos will candidates who refuse the election bring if they lose?

Again, think of this as election season, not election day. It is possible, if not likely, that the Georgia Senate race, for example, will take place on December 6. There is a libertarian on the ballot, where many protest votes could go and keep Walker or Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock below 50%, which is needed to avoid a runoff.

There were eyebrows raised about armed people at polling stations; voting rules and access have changed in many places; and people are expected to vote by mail in greater numbers than at any medium term in history. There is going to be a lot of confusion on election night about the number of votes, where they came from, what the shifts in favor of one party or another look like in several states.

This is all expected and not harmful, but you can expect some if not most of the candidates who refuse the election or run and perpetuate Trump’s election lies to test things and not concede the election they have lost. No one can guess how big it will be – but we are clearly in a new era of US elections that is highly uncertain.


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