This week on The Brief: 2022 Senate map, voter suppression, Trump as the de facto opposition leader

This week on The Brief: 2022 Senate map, voter suppression, Trump as the de facto opposition leader

On this week’s episode of The Brief, we’re already analyzing the 2022 Senate map! Daily Kos elections editor Jeff Singer joined hosts Markos Moulitsas and Kerry Eleveld to talk about the 2022 electoral map for 2022, fighting back against voter suppression efforts, and the hold that Donald Trump continues to have on the GOP.

With so much progress already happening under the Biden administration, including a jobs plan and a successful vaccine rollout, Moulitsas and Eleveld opened by discussing the reconciliation process and how progressives can capitalize on wins so far and push forward on priorities like the For the People Act and D.C. statehood. The U.S. Senate prospects in 2022 will play a huge role in determining the success of these and many other of the Biden administration’s other long-term priorities. So naturally, the pair turned to Singer to talk about what that map looks like and why we aren’t talking about U.S. House races yet.

Singer mentioned the current redistricting cycle, which is why so much about House races remains up in the air. The process cannot start in earnest until about August, and some of the new House seats in some states won’t be clearly delineated until mid-year next year, he explained. That being said, the past indicates that 2022 could be dicey for Democrats, as they are currently the party in power, according to Singer:

History tells us [the prospects of the incumbent party] are pretty bad. Midterms, almost always, with a few exceptions, the party that controls the White House loses seats in at least the House, usually the Senate … party power loses a lot of seats. So, history is not great on that, but there are always exceptions, and there are midterm losses, and then there are midterm losses. So I know this is a cycle where we don’t have much room for error, but even so … there’s always a chance for differences.

The people who show up to vote disproportionately are the people who are angry, he added, and as if your party controls the White House, then you are probably a lot less likely to be angry than those in the minority. Another interesting factor is that Trump continues to remain front and center, which throws a wrench into the GOP’s and the Democrats’ plans. “Plenty of Republicans still think Trump is the president, or should be,” Singer said, “but to some degree politically, he is the de facto opposition leader in a way that [hasn’t ever] really happened before.” 

Singer discussed what’s at stake with several seats in battleground states, such as Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and New Hampshire, all of which will host elections next year that could determine the balance of power in both the Senate and the House. Given the challenges of getting the vote out in a nonpresidential election year, Moulitsas says he feels worried.

The trio then pivoted to discuss the continuing impact of Trump on the GOP and how he continues to stay in the spotlight. Trump could be a wild card in 2022, and it remains to be seen how he will wield his influence. As Eleveld said, “Trump is so much more interested in settling scores than winning elections.” She also noted how between November 2020 and the Georgia Senate runoffs in January, there was a dropoff in engagement from Republican voters—notably, from Trump-only voters who believed the election was rigged.

Moulitsas believes this is a purposeful play on the GOP’s part:

Trump is really refusing to leave the stage, and it’s interesting because Republicans could ignore him and he’d literally go away … he only has as much power as Republicans want to give him, and they want to give him all power, which is one of the real big mysteries of 2021: Why do they insist on this? 

I would actually argue [Republicans] aren’t worried about winning swing voters at this point; they’re looking at the 74 million voters that Trump got … [regarding their strategy], prong one is to suppress the vote; prong two is to mobilize the Trump voter.

This approach is not without its merits, and Singer believes this is absolutely a purposeful play—one that aligns with their push for voter suppression:

Republicans wouldn’t be passing [voter suppression laws] if they didn’t think it could work … we have overcome before, and we do need to overcome again. What we have seen in some of these states, at least in the short term, voter suppression does backfire … but the big danger isn’t what happens in 2022. It’s what happens in 2024, and 2026.

Moulitsas then brought up the law of unintended consequences, noting that a lot of voter suppression efforts have the unintended effect of motivating those whose voices they intend to silence. Singer believes it’s possible Republicans could retake the Senate and that Democrats are the underdogs heading into 2022—but much remains in the air, especially with redistricting in the mix.

Watch the full episode here:

You can also listen to The Brief on the following podcast streaming platforms:

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From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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