A 'MAGA hangover' may improve Democrats' midterms prospects: journalist

A 'MAGA hangover' may improve Democrats' midterms prospects: journalist
Image via Gage Skidmore.

When Democratic Party strategists appear on CNN or MSNBC to discuss the 2022 midterms, they try to sound optimistic. But with President Joe Biden continuing to suffer from weak approval ratings and Americans feeling frustrated over inflation, countless pundits have predicted that 2022 will see a major red wave like the red waves of 1994 under President Bill Clinton and 2010 under President Barack Obama — stressing that Democrats are in danger of losing their narrow majorities in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

But journalist Nicole Nerea, in an article published by Vox on July 29, lays out a variety of reasons why a major red wave in 2022 isn’t necessary a done deal and why “the midterms might not be as bad for Democrats as expected.”

“For one, Democrats are outpacing President Joe Biden’s abysmal approval ratings in generic ballots: Slightly more than 43 percent of voters say that, if the election were held today, they would support Democrats in Congress, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average,” Nerea explains. “Just over 44 percent said they would support Republicans. Even influential Republican polls — including Americans for Prosperity, Echelon Insights, Chamber of Commerce, and Winning The Issues — recently found that Democrats were leading by between 3 and percentage 6 points. Democrats are also now favored to maintain control of the Senate, according to Decision Desk HQ.”

READ MORE: Pennsylvania’s GOP gubernatorial nominee is running on an anti-democracy platform

Democrats, Nerea points out, “have a fundraising advantage heading into the fall in key Senate races, including in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia and Ohio.”

“They’re also outpacing the GOP among small-dollar donors: through their platform ActBlue, Democrats amassed $64 million in small donations in June, compared to Republicans’ $26.6 million through their platform, WinRed,” the journalist notes. “There are individual races that are much closer than expected, including the Texas governor’s race and the Utah Senate race, where Republican incumbents are facing surprisingly tough reelection campaigns. And prospects for some Republican pickups are looking less likely now that the GOP has nominated far-right candidates.”

Simon Rosenberg, president of the liberal/progressive think tank NDN a former senior adviser to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), argues that one advantage Democrats have in 2022 is the fact that instead of running against a “normal Republican Party,” they are running against extremists.

Rosenberg told Vox, “I think that what you’re seeing in current polling is that there’s a MAGA hangover,” he said. “There is an anti-MAGA majority in this country.”

READ MORE: How the 'Dobbs backlash' could affect the 2022 midterms: conservative

Examples of extremists who have won GOP nominations, Nerea observes, range from Herschel Walker (who is running against incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia) to far-right gubernatorial nominees in Maryland (Dan Cox) and Pennsylvania (Doug Mastriano).

“All that’s not to say far-right candidates are handing Democrats easy wins everywhere,” Nerea observes. “Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Doug Mastriano — a fervent supporter of Trump’s 2020 election lies who compared gun control to policies under Nazi Germany and shared an image saying Roe v. Wade was worse than the Holocaust — has become less of a long-shot candidate than Democrats once thought, trailing his Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, by no more than 4 percentage points across three separate polls conducted in June. But even the relative success of candidates like Mastriano may be useful to Democrats. They are clear examples of what is, to many Democrats and independents, a frightening prospect: a return to Trumpism.”

READ MORE: 'A nationally coordinated effort': Election officials concerned about 'insider threats' as midterms approach

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