There was a HUGE win for the Democrats in New York U.S. House District 19 last week. Democrat Pat Ryan beat Republican Marc Molinaro by a 51% to 49% margin. Ryan ran on abortion and GOP extremism and the Republican candidate campaigned on inflation and the economy. This is a true swing district that was carried by Biden in 2020, Trump in 2016 and Obama in 2008 and 2012.
This race was considered to be a bellwether for national political trends. Consequently, both parties fielded good candidates and poured money into the race. It would have been considered a moral victory of sorts for the Democrats if they’d even kept it close. Instead, the Democratic nominee won in a district that Trump carried by 7 points in 2016. If there was a red wave developing, the Republican would’ve won by double digits.
“Overall, on the last major primary night of the year, the winds appeared to be shifting in Democrats’ favor.” Politico
“In your typical midterm election with an unpopular Democratic president, you’d expect Republicans to be flying high. But the evidence is mounting that the national political environment right now actually leans toward Democrats….It would have been easy to write Nebraska off as a fluke, after Democrats ran better than expected in a House race there last month. But then came Minnesota, where Democrats again beat expectations. And then, in New York on Tuesday, the dam broke.” New York Times
Democrats have now outperformed Biden’s numbers in each of the four U.S. House special elections since the extreme Dobbs abortion decision in June.
#NE01 — Trump +15 -> R+5
#MN01 — Trump +10 -> R+4
#NY19 — Biden +1.5 -> D+2.2
#NY23 — Trump +11 -> R+6
There have now been four special House elections since the GOP Supreme Court threw out Roe. According to Nate Silver, the Democrats have outperformed their expected margins in those elections by an average of 9 points.
The Democrats have exceeded expectations this summer since Democratic voters have been motivated by the GOP Supreme Court’s abortion decision. Independents and some moderate Republicans have also been alarmed by this decision. Voters are angry about the Republican Supreme Court and they don’t want their rights taken away.
Democratic voters have also been fired up by Biden and the Democratic Congress’ legislative achievements this summer. In August alone, the Democrats passed the Semi-Conductor Act, the Veterans Health Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Formerly disenchanted Democratic voters changed their image of the Democratic majorities in Washington from an ineffectual majority to an effective one. Biden now has the best legislative record since Lyndon Johnson.
“Lots of focus on Dems being more engaged/energetic post-Dobbs, which is undeniably true. But to me, the GOP/Trump base appears less engaged than it was last November, which is just as big a part of the story.” Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report
Democrats , the “liberal” mainstream media and even some prominent Republicans are now recognizing that there most likely won’t be a red wave and that 2022 will be a competitive election cycle. We’ve never had a major party in America before that is as radical and as contemptuous of democracy as today’s GOP. That changes the normal calculus for mid-term elections.
The reality is that there is an anti-Trump and anti-Maga majority in this country. Trump and the Republicans lost in every election cycle between 2017 and 2021. Trump was the first president since Hoover to lose control of the White House and the Congress in one term. The GOP controlled Supreme Court and the MAGA Republicans have woken up this anti-MAGA majority.
“ The big mistake many political analysts made this cycle was overly discounting how extreme/crazy/ugly MAGA had become. Once GOP ran towards a politics nation had rejected twice in overwhelming numbers 2022 was likely to be a competitive election.” Simon Rosenberg tweet.
All of this adds up to a much more favorable political environment for the Democrats. According to Silver, the Democrats currently have a 65% chance of holding their Senate majority. That’s up from 44% before the Supreme Court’s abortion decision.
Similarly, the Democrats’ chances of winning the House are now much better. Silver posted that the Democrats winning New York CD19 means that “the House would be at least a toss-up, probably lean D.” What makes this forecast even more promising is that there are 222 House districts that are more Democratic than New York CD19.
I firmly believe that the political environment will continue to improve for the Democrats. We have a long list of popular achievements and Biden’s approval ratings are rising.
On the other hand, the GOP is saddled with Trump’s increasing legal problems and just sheer bizarre behavior. In addition, Trump has recruited a large number of candidates who would fit in well with the famous Star Wars bar room scene. Those unfit candidates will cost Republicans some seats that they otherwise might have won.
Events will continue to break against the Republicans. There will be more horror stories of women and girls who are denied abortions. Republican legislators will continue to push for reactionary and wildly unpopular abortion bans. This issue isn’t going away. Moreover, there will be more mass shootings committed by Trump supporters and MAGA Republicans.
All this is terrific news for Nebraska Democrats. Freedom is on the ballot in 2022. It’s progress versus radicalism. Vote for Patty Pansing Brooks in Nebraska CD01! Vote for Tony Vargas in Nebraska CD02! Vote for David Else Nebraska CD03! Vote for Carol Blood for governor!