Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections.
Abortion and Donald Trump will both appear on November’s ballot. On Tuesday, Pat Ryan, a Democrat and a decorated Iraq war veteran, upset Republican Marc Molinaro in a special congressional election in New York’s Upper Hudson Valley. Ryan won 52-48 after pre-election polls had painted him as the clear underdog.
“This is a huge victory for Dems in a bellwether, Biden +1.5 district,” according to Dave Wasserman, the doyen of congressional-race watchers, with the key words being “huge” and “bellwether”. Said differently, Republican efforts to convert the contest into a referendum on the Democrats and inflation failed.
On the campaign trail Ryan made abortion a central issue. “Choice is [on] the ballot, but we won’t go back,” he posted to Facebook hours before the polls opened. “Freedom is under attack, but it’s ours to defend.”
Usually, midterms spell disaster for the “in” party that controls the White House. From the looks of things, 2022 may be different.
There is a clear backlash against the US supreme court’s evisceration of the rights to privacy and personal autonomy. At the same time, nonstop reports of Trump’s mishandling of top-secret documents, and possible obstruction of justice charges against the 45th president, cloud his party’s future.
The end of Roe v Wade is not the blessing Republicans had assumed it would be. Looking back, the defeat of Kansas’s anti-abortion referendum was not a one-off event.
House special election results since start of June:#CA22 (6/7, Trump +5): R+24#TX34 (6/14, Biden +4): R+5— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) August 24, 2022
------(Dobbs)-------#NE01 (6/28, Trump +11): R+5#MN01 (8/9, Trump +10): R+4#NY19 (8/23, Biden +2): D+2#NY23 (8/23, Trump +11): R+7
For context: last November, when Rs massively outperformed in NJ/VA, here was the turnout as a % of total 2020 votes cast:— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) August 24, 2022
This isn't to say the enviro hasn't improved for Dems. It has. But specials can't tell us extent of improvement w/ the fuller electorate.