Manage Your Expectations, GOP Voters

 

The cake is in the oven and is baking nicely. The cake will serve up a hearty GOP majority in the US House and possibly the US Senate when the election rolls around in almost seven months.

Lots can happen between now and then, of course. But Democrats have shown no proclivity, even interest, in doing anything to soften the coming blow, with weakness abroad, an open southern border, and raging inflation at home “baked in” to voters’ equation. Democrats seem content to lead with their chins. Maybe it’s a “long game” thing, where progressive Democrats think they can purge their non-woke brethren this fall and, while a minority in the 118th Congress, entice voters to pine for their socialist schemes as a harsh and angry GOP majority overplays their “authoritarian” hand.

Perhaps Democrats dream that AOC, who turns the constitutionally required 35 years of age on October 13, 2024, to qualify as President before the Fall election, will ascend from the hearts of Americans to the Capitol’s west front on January 20, 2025. Dr. Jill Biden will guide her doddering husband to their seats to facilitate the transfer of “the football” to the former Brooklyn bartender.

Imagine the day. Millions of Americans on the mall swoon in affection and admiration as she enthusiastically takes the stage in her white pantsuit on an unusually pleasant and cloudless winter day. The traditional 21-gun salute is replaced by the release of 195 doves – one for each country – as a loving gesture of peace to an unsettled world. A Boston University graduate with an Economics degree (cum laude!), gasps are heard as she thrusts her left hand skyward while placing her right hand on a copy of Das Kapital. As a gesture of solidarity with the Chinese people, a copy of the Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung is stacked on top of Karl Marx’s book. Eschewing “so help me God,” which is not included in the constitutionally-prescribed the presidential oath, she points to the fawning crowd and laughs nervously and uncontrollably as they breathlessly await the first words of her historic inaugural speech. . .

Back to reality. Whew.

Let’s set the table, courtesy of preeminent political campaign analyst Amy Walter at the legendary Cook Political Report, founded by my friend Charlie Cook.

Currently, RealClear Politics shows Republicans ahead by 3.6 points in the generic ballot tracker. If that holds up through Election Day, it will represent a 6.6 percent positive shift to Republicans from 2020 (Democrats won the national House vote by 3.1 points in 2020).

So, what would a 6.6 point shift to the right look like? At a very crude level, we could say that it would shift the 2020 vote margin in every CD, about 7 points more Republican. So, for example, a district that Biden carried 52 percent to 45 percent (+7) would become a jump ball (50-50) in 2022. Or, a better way to think of it is that any district that Biden carried by less than 7 points would be in danger of flipping to the GOP.

That would suggest that scores of Democratic seats are in play for 2022, but hold your horses. Walter further opines that “The good news for Democrats is that (at this point) there are only 21 districts where Biden’s margin was fewer than seven points. Even if we expand that universe to include districts Biden carried by 8-10 points, that universe of potentially vulnerable Democratic-held seats expands only slightly.”

Several Republicans in seats won by Biden in 2020 look fairly safe this Fall, including Nebraska’s Don Bacon and suburban Phoenix’s Dave Schweikert. But conversely, only 6 Democrats hold seats won by Trump in 2020. Thanks to redistricting both in 2021 and in previous years, there aren’t that many swing districts anymore. It seems that members of the House are more concerned about their primaries than their general elections.

Of course, the good news for the GOP is that they need only net a gain of 5 seats for Nancy Pelosi to surrender the Speaker’s gavel to GOP leader Kevin McCarthy. No serious political prognosticator is predicting that Democrats will retain their House majority.

This congressional opening-day role is about to reverse in 2023

Then there’s the 50-50 US Senate, where the GOP has more seats to defend than Democrats. Further, Democrats have opportunities to pick up GOP seats in the swing states of North Carolina (carried twice by Trump) and Pennsylvania. Other open seats or special elections in Alabama, Ohio, and Oklahoma are out of reach to Democrats unless Missouri Republicans nominate scandal-plagued former Governor Eric Greitens. But that looks increasingly unlikely to happen. No GOP incumbent is currently in danger of losing reelection.

Most of the GOP seats are relatively safe. Democratic seats, especially in Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, and maybe New Hampshire. Some suggest Colorado could be in play. But if the GOP holds all their seats, they only need to pick up one Democrat seat to make Mitch McConnell Majority Leader again. In this political environment, the math looks very good for that to happen. GOP polling looks terrific in Georgia and Nevada, for now.

Trafalgar Group Poll of Georgia likely voters

Fast forward to the first Tuesday after the first Monday (likely January 3, 2023). Republicans hold a 16-seat majority in the House and a 53-47 majority in the US Senate, keeping all their seats and adding Herschel Walker (GA), Mark Brnovich (AZ), and Adam Laxalt (NV) to the US Senate. Kevin McCarthy is the new Speaker; Mitch McConnell is, again, Senate Majority Leader. Republicans chair every committee of Congress. The freshly re-elected Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley (R-IA) returns to chair the Judiciary Committee. Ohio’s Jim Jordan, the former two-time NCAA champion wrestler, chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

Joe Biden is still President.

What’s likely to happen?

First, rank-and-file GOP expectations will be too high. Even if he delusionally fashions himself as a candidate for reelection, Biden will still hold a veto pen for up to two years, half of his four-year term. His Cabinet and key White House praetorian guard will still be in place, controlling the levers of foreign policy, national defense, and federal regulations.

Channeling Barack Obama, Biden will suddenly threaten to implement “his” agenda via pen and phone. His southern border policies will still be in place as millions more flood the border with help from Mexican drug cartels, “coyotes,” and pro-immigration activists like Pueblo Sin Fronteras, among others, in the US.

Republicans will use their new subpoena power to hold investigations and hearings. Recalcitrant administration officials will refuse to cooperate with Republicans and leak to friendly reporters at the Washington Post, New York Times, and friendly broadcast outlets to discredit and marginalize official GOP inquiries. They’ll dare Congress to vote to hold them in contempt, as they did to no effect with former Attorney General Eric Holder. Desperate Republicans will toy with impeachment proceedings over Joe Biden’s financial connections, despite stonewalling and gaslighting from the Department of Justice. Any impeachment attempts will be derided by the media and fail in the Senate, barring broad public support.

The House will pass bill after bill to follow through on their “commitment to America,” but most of those bills will die in the Senate at the hands of Democratic filibusters. Schumer will keep enough of his troops in line for “partisan” procedural votes.

Senate Republicans have an opportunity to stall Biden’s executive and judicial nominations. Still, Judiciary Committee senior member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has only opposed two Biden-nominated judges over the past two years (to date). He’s cooperated with Democrats to help confirm more judges during Biden’s first year than were confirmed under Trump. Democrats just need to peel away three Republicans, coupled with their 48 seats, to confirm controversial nominees. Susan Collins (R-ME), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and possibly Lisa Murkowski (if she’s reelected from Alaska, far from certain) will be on the White House’s speed dial.

Sure, Congress will have control of the legislative process. But they must still overcome Senate filibusters and Joe Biden’s veto pen. They can pass their budget and maybe their reconciliation/tax bill, but the latter is subject to that pesky veto. They’ll have to deal with Senate Democrats and the White House. And Congress is likely to be blamed if the government shuts down because funding bills aren’t approved. Facts won’t matter – the mainstream media will take the White House’s side.

At least they can stop Biden and the Democrat’s legislative agenda, and that alone makes it worthwhile. While Congress has veto power over federal regulations – a veto that circumvents a Senate filibuster – but still requires the President’s signature. The votes won’t likely exist to override (it takes a two-thirds vote of both chambers). Democratic efforts to force an unconstitutional federal takeover of elections will fade away. But Republicans will have to elect a President in 2024 to undo the severe damage of weakness abroad and the ravages of inflation and supply chain disruptions at home, and much more.

Some conservatives are already demanding that congressional Republicans “ditch Mitch” McConnell and McCarthy for not being “strong enough” leaders to fight the White House. But that ignores the reality of the leadership positions they hold. The last time a House GOP leader got too far out front of his troops was Newt Gingrich in 1998. How did that work out? Both enjoy the confidence and support of their respective colleagues until they don’t. Circular firing squads rarely work well. Underestimate these leaders at your peril, especially leader McConnell. Without him, now-Attorney General Merrick Garland would be serving on the Supreme Court instead of Neil Gorsuch. Shudder.

Congress will likely go Republican in 2022, but conservatives and Republicans should temper their expectations over what can be accomplished. At least they’ll be able to stop many bad things from happening and, hopefully, bad people from being named to the federal bench or key regulatory positions.

Republicans can have their cake but can’t eat it, too. Manage your expectations.

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  1. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    A pretty accurate, if disheartening, assessment.

    • #1
  2. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    This is how it ever was. Republicans never move the ball on slim majorities. We can’t even move it when we have all congress and the president.

    So what expectations are we managing?

    For me, to see it all flip means some amount of Americans are awake.

    The Republicans in office will never do what is necessary unless we fill it with MTGs, Boeberts, and Trumps.

    • #2
  3. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    This is all pie in the sky.  The Dems are not acting frightened because they are not frightened. Their hold on the electoral process, with the massive vote fraud that we saw rehearsed in 2018 and brought to near perfection in 2020, will preserve their majorities.  It is up to Republicans in those states where they hold the legislatures and governorships to prevent this.

    • #3
  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Kelly D Johnston: The last time a House GOP leader got too far out front of his troops was Newt Gingrich in 1998. How did that work out?

    I wouldn’t mind giving it another  try, but the problem was that Newt told the other Republicans to be quiet and let him do the talking.  They should all be talking. 

    • #4
  5. DrewInWisconsin, Oik! Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik!
    @DrewInWisconsin

    The GOP has no agenda because they assume they’ll win. If they felt any threat, they might be moved to adopt an America first, culturally conservative stance and lay out some plans to reassure their base. But they hate their base, and they don’t feel any threat. They aren’t taking any bold stances, and they’ll just do what they did from 2016 to 2018: nothing.

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kelly D Johnston: Republicans can have their cake but can’t eat it, too. Manage your expectations.

    I know all signs point to a blowout.  However, the Dems have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed . . .

    • #6
  7. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Good essay; I recommend it for promotion to the Main Feed.

    • #7
  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I expect the GOP will do nothing. 

     

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Somehow the Democrats remake the nation, and yet, Republicans can’t ever get any thing done.

    How is That? 

    • #9
  10. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik! (View Comment):
    The GOP has no agenda because they assume they’ll win. If they felt any threat, they might be moved to adopt an America first, culturally conservative stance and lay out some plans to reassure their base. But they hate their base, and they don’t feel any threat.

    Drew, if they DID lay out a robust, pro-American agenda, if they DID hammer non-stop on the crimes of the Clinton-Kerry-Obama-Biden crime syndicate, the GOP margin of victory would be enough to override the voting fraud.

    • #10
  11. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    So the point of the GOP, apart from enriching the Chamber of Commerce at the expense of the working class, and GOP politicians and consultants at the expense of donors, is to periodically slow the increase in the acceleration of the destruction of the Republic? Can I suggest this is not an attractive vision statement for anyone not on the inside (and therefore on the take)?

    The major obstacles to Republicans actually achieving anything set out in the OP are the corporate media and the entrenched bureaucracy. Logically, then, the GOP should be doing everything in their power to destroy these bulwarks of tyranny. Are they doing anything? Writing an op-ed for the WSJ or appearing on NPR is not undermining journalism. (Nor is appearing on Fox.) As for the Deep, Shallow and Surface State, I guess a one-line Bill to abolish the Department of Education isn’t quite nothing…

    • #11
  12. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    The real power the GOP congress will have is the budget. Will they use it?

    There need to be drastic cuts to the FBI, the DOJ, the CIA, the NSC, the Dept. of Education, the Dept of Energy, the Dept of Transportation, HUD, the various agencies. Let Biden veto the bills and shut down the government entirely.

    • #12
  13. DrewInWisconsin, Oik! Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik!
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik! (View Comment):
    The GOP has no agenda because they assume they’ll win. If they felt any threat, they might be moved to adopt an America first, culturally conservative stance and lay out some plans to reassure their base. But they hate their base, and they don’t feel any threat.

    Drew, if they DID lay out a robust, pro-American agenda, if they DID hammer non-stop on the crimes of the Clinton-Kerry-Obama-Biden crime syndicate, the GOP margin of victory would be enough to override the voting fraud.

    Yes. And they’d be a winning coalition for decades.

     

    • #13
  14. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Just going to point out that Kelly’s outline here just underscores and bolsters everything that @gleneisenhardt writes about.

    • #14
  15. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Kelly D Johnston: It seems that (Democrat) members of the House are more concerned about their primaries than their general elections.

    The above is true with good reason.  The Dems are confident in maintaining there seats because they know Pelosi and and the Jan 6th committee will finish up their “investigation” just before the midterms.  They will announce their “October  surprise” (Surprise, surprise, surprise) which will “conclude” criminal activity, insurrection, coordinated efforts and the end of Democracy!  Except these conclusions will all be based upon opinions, not fact, wild manipulations of evil editing of statements out of context, and flat out lies. 

    This will be broadcast 24/7 by every media outlet, and the unwashed will vow to never again vote for anyone republican. The tallied votes will reflect this outcome, regardless of what the real vote is. 

    This is my projection.  

    Honesty, honor and integrity no longer exists in our political base, the deep state, nor in the media. 

    To quote Dr. Bastiat yet again:  “We’re screwed.” 

    • #15
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hang On (View Comment):

    The real power the GOP congress will have is the budget. Will they use it?

    There need to be drastic cuts to the FBI, the DOJ, the CIA, the NSC, the Dept. of Education, the Dept of Energy, the Dept of Transportation, HUD, the various agencies. Let Biden veto the bills and shut down the government entirely.

    This is true. However, the Republican base needs to target the cuts at specific, visible abuses, and that means work that none of us wants to do.   Better to call for drastic cuts that don’t have a chance.  

     

    • #16
  17. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Why is it that for the GOP politics is the art of the possible (and nothing is possible), but for the leftists they aim for the stars and hit – well, the stars? It is now, basically, official government policy and establishment doctrine that objecting to the castration and grooming of your own child is domestic terrorism. Republicans, with all three branches of government and overwhelming public support can’t even build a border wall. 

    • #17
  18. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Somehow the Democrats remake the nation, and yet, Republicans can’t ever get any thing done.

    How is That?

    The Left is remaking the nation, but as the late Andrew Breitbart famously opined, politics runs downstream from culture. Congress and politics are lagging indicators. The Left is winning by capturing other institutions (see: Disney). 

    • #18
  19. DrewInWisconsin, Oik! Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik!
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Somehow the Democrats remake the nation, and yet, Republicans can’t ever get any thing done.

    How is That?

    The Left is remaking the nation, but as the late Andrew Breitbart famously opined, politics runs downstream from culture. Congress and politics are lagging indicators. The Left is winning by capturing other institutions (see: Disney).

    I don’t see that as a good excuse for GOP failure theater.

    • #19
  20. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Somehow the Democrats remake the nation, and yet, Republicans can’t ever get any thing done.

    How is That?

    The Left is remaking the nation, but as the late Andrew Breitbart famously opined, politics runs downstream from culture. Congress and politics are lagging indicators. The Left is winning by capturing other institutions (see: Disney).

    The holders of cultural institutions are not indicative of the culture at large. We are lazy and easily pacified and herded, but we lack alternatives and our consumer choices show that.

    If the GOP provided a viable option that took on large corporations that are embracing fascism and took on the policies of Trump that encouraged competition and added protecting small businesses from a predatory marriage of corporation and government, then maybe you’d see a sea change…. Assuming it can overcome fraud in the system.

    However, to many of the GOP are perfectly fine with fascism. So they won’t. And the voting public will demonstrate their apathy for a party that doesn’t really care if we vote or not.

    • #20
  21. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Somehow the Democrats remake the nation, and yet, Republicans can’t ever get any thing done.

    How is That?

    The Left is remaking the nation, but as the late Andrew Breitbart famously opined, politics runs downstream from culture. Congress and politics are lagging indicators. The Left is winning by capturing other 

    The Left only wins a  we only lose.

    Well, they control all culture so we have lost.

    Thanks.

    I’ll give up and not bother voting. There is no,point.

    the Left control all culture and all the heights and the is nothing we can do.

    • #21
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Stina (View Comment):

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Somehow the Democrats remake the nation, and yet, Republicans can’t ever get any thing done.

    How is That?

    The Left is remaking the nation, but as the late Andrew Breitbart famously opined, politics runs downstream from culture. Congress and politics are lagging indicators. The Left is winning by capturing other institutions (see: Disney).

    The holders of cultural institutions are not indicative of the culture at large. We are lazy and easily pacified and herded, but we lack alternatives and our consumer choices show that.

    If the GOP provided a viable option that took on large corporations that are embracing fascism and took on the policies of Trump that encouraged competition and added protecting small businesses from a predatory marriage of corporation and government, then maybe you’d see a sea change…. Assuming it can overcome fraud in the system.

    However, to many of the GOP are perfectly fine with fascism. So they won’t. And the voting public will demonstrate their apathy for a party that doesn’t really care if we vote or not.

    This is the real truth.

    They control the culture?  No, they are just louder louder and actually willing to fight.

    Meanwhile, we are told we won’t for reasons. 

    • #22
  23. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    When Hank next complains I am defeatist, I’ll point him, to this thread.

    • #23
  24. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I think that the Dobbs case from Mississippi will lead to the reversal of Roe v. Wade.  This could very well provide a 3-5% swing in the Democrat’s favor.  In Arizona, we are holding the legislature by the thinnest margin possible, 31-29 in the House and 16-14 in the State Senate.  After the Cyber Ninja fiasco, if Roe is reversed, the Dems could well take the Arizona Legislature.

    • #24
  25. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Kelly D Johnston: Desperate Republicans will toy with impeachment proceedings over Joe Biden’s financial connections, despite stonewalling and gaslighting from the Department of Justice.

    You know Kelly, there are other Executive officers that could be targets for impeachment apart from the President. Go after some of his Cabinet and lesser appointed officers. How much political capital would Biden, et. al., expend to save these people?

    IMHO, the failure to impeach Joh Koskinen for his role in the Lois Lerner scandal was a major error. 

    • #25
  26. DrewInWisconsin, Oik! Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik!
    @DrewInWisconsin

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    IMHO, the failure to impeach Joh Koskinen for his role in the Lois Lerner scandal was a major error. 

    Oh my lord what a smug bastiche he was.

    • #26
  27. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik! (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    IMHO, the failure to impeach Joh Koskinen for his role in the Lois Lerner scandal was a major error.

    Oh my lord what a smug bastiche he was.

    I’m sure he still is, if he’s among the living. I can’t be bothered to check. Feh on him.

    • #27
  28. GlenEisenhardt Coolidge
    GlenEisenhardt
    @GlenEisenhardt

    Yup back to we need the white house too. You gave us the congress it isn’t enough.  Then GOP gets the white house and what? They can’t come up with 2 billion dollars to fund a wall. They have no replacement for this Obamacare failed system. They cut not one dollar. This isn’t about what they can do. It’s about what they are unable and unwilling to do. If this GOP existed in 1860 slavery would still be a thing. 

    • #28
  29. GlenEisenhardt Coolidge
    GlenEisenhardt
    @GlenEisenhardt

    genferei (View Comment):

    Why is it that for the GOP politics is the art of the possible (and nothing is possible), but for the leftists they aim for the stars and hit – well, the stars? It is now, basically, official government policy and establishment doctrine that objecting to the castration and grooming of your own child is domestic terrorism. Republicans, with all three branches of government and overwhelming public support can’t even build a border wall.

    It’s not only that the GOP won’t build a wall. It’s that they get power and chip away at the edges of democrat policies if that and make it the norm. They feed it to the country and the base thus cementing democrat gains. If we had a real party that refused so much of this democrat agenda it would make it impossible for the Democrats to implement it. Think about what would happen if the Supreme Court one day said abortion is illegal because it’s a violation of human rights. What do you think the response of California and New York would be? They are in a position of losing this issue for good and because democrats won’t accept it it would never truly be a loss. The GOP accepts every defeat and Democrat initiative. 

    • #29
  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that the Dobbs case from Mississippi will lead to the reversal of Roe v. Wade. This could very well provide a 3-5% swing in the Democrat’s favor. In Arizona, we are holding the legislature by the thinnest margin possible, 31-29 in the House and 16-14 in the State Senate. After the Cyber Ninja fiasco, if Roe is reversed, the Dems could well take the Arizona Legislature.

    So root for Roe to go on and on for political expediency. 

    • #30
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