Here are the signs Republicans’ hopes for a ‘red wave’ are receding ahead of the 2022 elections

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WASHINGTON — Last fall, Republicans had high hopes for a “red wave” in the 2022 election after storming into power in blue Virginia and nearly winning the New Jersey governor’s race. While the Democrats were demotivated, the GOP base was on fire.

But in recent weeks, numerous data have indicated that Republican prospects for a landslide victory are waning. While the president’s party is underperforming in midterm elections, there are signs it’s going to be an unusual year, potentially allowing Democrats to keep one or both chambers of Congress.

Election analysts attribute the shift to the conservative Supreme Court ruling to eliminate the constitutional right to legal abortion, falling gas prices and former President Donald Trump grabbing the spotlight and reaffirming his dominance over the GOP.

Here are the signs:

  • A democratic victory in a whistleblower election. The clearest sign of a shifting landscape came last week in the Hudson Valley, a highly competitive neighborhood north of New York City that has mirrored the national landscape for years. It voted for Joe Biden in 2020, Trump in 2016, and Barack Obama in 2012. In a climate of red waves, Democrats would have nothing to do with winning the House special election. Still, Democrat Pat Ryan defeated Republican Marc Molinaro in a test of each party’s preferred message. Ryan worked on protecting abortion rights, fighting gun violence and fighting corporate greed, while Molinaro tried to turn the election into a referendum on Biden, inflation and “one-party” rule in Washington.
  • Persuasive voters lean towards Democrats. The latest NBC News poll, conducted this month, included an unusual finding for midterm elections: Persuadable midterm voters lean towards the Democrats, the party in power. This group accounts for about 25% of respondents, who hover between the parties and tend to be male, moderate, independent and out of town. They preferred Republicans by 6 points in the combined January, March and May NBC News polls. But in the August poll, they leaned toward Democrats by 3 points.
  • The GOP’s ‘enthusiasm’ edge is shrinking. In March, the NBC News poll found that Republicans had a 17-point “enthusiasm” advantage over Democrats — that is, their voters would show more interest in voting this fall. In the August poll, the GOP advantage fell to 2 points.
  • Mitch McConnell Downplays Senate Expectations. McConnell, the Republican leader, isn’t sounding too optimistic about his prospects of taking control of the Senate, having predicted just two weeks ago, “There’s probably a higher chance of the House tipping than the Senate.” That could be a product of the changing environment, along with a phenomenon McConnell described as “candidate quality.” A series of Republican contenders competing for the first time in competitive races against seasoned Democratic politicians. Recruitment failures in states like New Hampshire and Arizona have resulted in GOP governors refusing to work.
  • Republicans are cutting ad spend in the battlefield of Arizona, while depositing money in safer Ohio. The Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-affiliated super-PAC, is slashing $8 million in Arizona spending in September, while pledging $28 million in Ohio to support Republican JD Vance, who is neck and neck in the Senate race with Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan . Senate Leadership Fund president Steven Law said in a statement the party is shifting resources because of “an unexpected expense in Ohio.” In 2020, the state voted 12.5 points more Republican than the country as a whole — it should be a setback for the GOP, especially in a favorable year.
  • Biden’s Approval May Rise (Although It’s Still Bad). One of the most disturbing data for Democrats was the president’s approval rating, which historically correlates with midterm election results. Biden’s job approval took a nosedive last summer. According to the NBC News poll, Biden’s approval rating is roughly stable at 42%. Other surveys show it’s going up, including a new Gallup poll showing his approval rose from 38% in July to 44% in August — his highest rating in a year. The main driver of the shift was that approval among independents rose from 31% in July to 40% this month.
  • Republicans seem afraid of abortion. GOP candidates are trying to cover up their views on abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling and New York special election, seemingly wary that their stance is a political loser. Among them are Blake Masters, the Arizona Senate nominee, who removed anti-abortion language from his campaign website. They also include Tom Barrett, the Republican seeking to oust Representative Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., who removed a portion of his campaign website promising to “protect life from conception,” the Detroit News reported.

In general, given the slim Democratic margins, Republicans don’t need a red wave to take control of Congress — a series of ripples in key races may be enough. And a major dissatisfaction with the economy and the country’s direction means the mood could still turn against the Democrats in the long run.

But just 70 days after Election Day, Democrats see some hope of defying historic midterm trends against the party in power.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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