Adkins: Dems hope to buck tradition in the midterms


Democrats are hopeful they can buck tradition and not lose Congressional seats in this November’s mid-term elections. Tradition holds that they will lose the House of Representatives and likely the Senate. With only a nine-seat advantage in the House and a tie in the Senate, along with a President polling as low as Donald Trump during Covid, the best guess is that tradition will hold. After all, Democratic voters are notorious for poor turnout during the midterms.

So, what has built up the hopes of Democratic voters? It isn’t the strong economy and record job growth, or rising wages. Inflation wipes those advantages away as most voters don’t feel like it is a strong economy. It isn’t even the findings of the January 6 Committee. No, it is the highly unpopular decisions of a very unpopular Supreme Court. Polling results reveal that Democratic voters’ likelihood of voting has increased significantly since the Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and subsequent state legislatures abolishing abortion, many with no restrictions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother. Also impacting the likelihood of Democrats going to the polls is the High Court’s decisions of gun reform. The Supreme Court has its lowest approval rating, perhaps ever. Its decisions on abortion rights and gun rights are at odds with a majority of Americans.

I am not convinced the new enthusiasm of Democratic voters will allow the Party to buck tradition. Inflation, at a 40-year high, is first and foremost, the voters’ top concern, followed by fears of recession. Those issues will almost always bring down the party in power. It doesn’t even matter that this inflation is not due to anything President Biden has done. In spite of Republican arguments to the contrary, our current inflation rates are simply a matter of basic economics; supply is not keeping pace with demand. A great factor in the low supply situation is due to the pandemic shutting down or at least reducing production of goods and services. Coming out of the pandemic, consumer demand grew rapidly but supply chains have not ramped up fast enough.

If American voters perceived long-term issues as more vital than short-term ones, the Democrats would have the upper hand this November. There are five major prevalent issues, six if you consider climate change. The Republicans hold the upper hand on inflation and recession fears. These are, as we know from history, short-term issues. Democrats hold the advantage on the issues of gun reform, abortion rights — seen by a majority of women as an issue of women’s rights — climate control, and the on-going assault on American democracy. A majority of Americans hold opinions closer to the Democratic Party on these issues. But the fact remains that American voters are not known for putting long-term issues before more immediate problems. That is, I suppose, simply human nature, and it does not bode well for Democratic voter hopes.

My unprofessional guess is that the GOP will take control of the House of Representatives, but not necessarily in a complete rout. There are a good number of Trump-endorsed candidates whom the GOP wish were not on the ballot. These are primarily defenders of the Big Lie and other conspiracy theories. These candidates likely reduce the number of seats Republicans can turn over in the House. As for the Senate, there are more GOP seats up in 2022 than Democratic and those Trump-endorsed candidates mainstream Republicans are unhappy with, may well give the Democrats full control of the Senate. If that is the case, 2023 and 2024 should provide for interesting politics.

Michael Adkins formerly was chair of the Hancock County Democratic Party. Send comments to [email protected]


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