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Biden Lobbies Congress

Joe Biden visited Congress yesterday to try to sell Democratic members on two bills totaling over $4 trillion that will advance his economic agenda. The two are a $1.2-trillion bipartisan bill cooked up by a gang of 10/20/21 Senators, which is intended to pass using the regular order, and a $3.5-trillion bill that is intended to pass with only Democratic votes using the budget reconciliation process.

Given the 50-50 Senate, Biden can't afford even a single defection on the latter (nor can he really afford defections on the former), so he went to the Capitol to try to herd the cats. The problem is that progressives wanted $6 trillion and didn't get it while centrists think almost $5 trillion is too damn much. Biden's job is to convince everyone that if they don't stick together, they won't get anything and then the party will be squashed like a bug in the 2022 midterms.

A complication is that neither bill has actually been written yet. Both are currently just general points of agreement. The devil is always in the details. When it becomes clear exactly who gets money and who doesn't and who pays for it and who doesn't, the current unity could fall apart. Biden is trying to prevent that in advance. The actual votes are months away. In fact, the actual bills are months away.

Although the details won't be known until the bills are actually written, some more information about the plans for the reconciliation bill was released yesterday. Among other things, the bill will:

  • Expand Medicare with vision, hearing, and dental coverage
  • Lower the cost of prescription drugs
  • Invest in programs to combat climate change
  • Create a network of charging stations for electric cars
  • Tackle long-standing priorities on immigration
  • Pump money into elder care and child care
  • Pay for prekindergarten for many children
  • Fund family medical leave
  • Extend the child tax credit
  • Provide for more affordable housing

One of the more unusual (but vague) plans is for a tax on imports whose manufacture generates air pollution. So, for example, if a ton of steel is imported from China and the Chinese production process generates a certain amount of pollution in the process, there would be a tariff on the import to encourage China to clean up its act. Of course figuring out how much pollution that ton of steel produced won't be easy and will lead to battles.

Where the money will come from is less clear. Ideas being bandied about include raising the corporate tax rate, creating a minimum tax on transnational companies, increasing the capital gains tax on high-income earners, eliminating the step-up in basis for estates (which reduces the amount of capital gains tax they pay), and giving the IRS tens of billions of dollars to enforce existing tax laws much better. None of these are certain and much sausage making will be needed before even draft bills can emerge. (V)

Manchin Is Open to the $3.5-Trillion Reconciliation Bill

Yesterday Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the second most powerful Joe in the world, said that he was open to the $3.5-trillion bill that the Senate Budget Committee cooked up on Monday and Tuesday. However, he also said that he wants it to be fully paid for. Since tax measures are definitely allowed in reconciliation bills, if the Democrats can agree to precisely which taxes they want to increase, they probably have Manchin's vote, which is hugely important to the other Joe's plans. Earlier, Manchin said that he would support raising the corporate tax rate to 25%. If the Democrats go down that road, they will have a significant chunk of the financing, but they will need more as well. Still, having Manchin likely on board is a major development.

One thing Manchin favors is raising the Social Security cap. Currently, income up to $148,800 is subject to FICA tax. After all, how many people in impoverished West Virginia make $148,801 or more? Not so many. If the cap were raised to $1 million, it would generate quite a bit of revenue. However, Joe Biden promised not to raise taxes on people making less than $400,000 and would probably not go for that. A crazy construction in which income from $0 to $148,800 was subject to FICA, along with income from $400,000 to $1 million, but income from $148,800 to $400,000 was exempt would be difficult to administer, especially for people with multiple sources of income subject to FICA. When asked about a wealth tax, Manchin was noncommittal, but given the very real possibility that the Supreme Court would shoot that down absent a constitutional amendment, it is probably a nonstarter.

There are also parts of the spending side that Manchin likes. One area the reconciliation bill covers is an expansion of Medicare to cover vision, hearing and dental. Manchin said: "Dental is a very important part of a person's health." Cue images of tooth-challenged hillbillies from the hollows of West Virginia.

Another centrist Democratic senator who supports the budget is Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). He said: "The price tag is a lot of money but it doesn't scare me, it's just how it's being spent. There are plenty of needs out there, we just have to figure out how it's being spent." Sounds like he is on board, too. (V)

McConnell Blasts the Reconciliation Bill

Joe Manchin might be pretty happy right now, but another senator from a state that also has its share of tooth-challenged hillbillies is less enthusiastic about the bill, dental coverage or not. That is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). His reaction yesterday was that the deal "is wildly out of proportion to what the country needs now" at a time inflation is "raging." This is wrong in two ways. First, inflation is up but it is hardly raging (and that is before we consider the rather special circumstances that are in effect right now, as people de-pandemicize). Second, if the bill is entirely paid for with new taxes, it won't stoke inflation. Inflation can be caused by the government spending money it doesn't have, but if the spending is fully covered by new taxes (which Manchin insists on), it shouldn't contribute to inflation.

Maybe this is a hint of how the Republicans will campaign in 2022. No doubt some prices will be up over the next year, but people don't keep track of that in detail. Currently, used cars are way up, but that is not an expense that people have every month. It is things like gas prices and the cost of basic foods that people tend to notice. A potential problem with trying to make the 2022 campaign about inflation is that reporters will ask the Republican candidates: "What are you going to do about it?" Raising interest rates always helps, but there is nothing senators and representatives can do about interest rates. That's the Fed's job. Running a budget surplus could help fight inflation, but then there would be questions about what programs would have to be cut deeply. Saying that you will fight inflation by slashing welfare is probably not going to win over the suburbs.

McConnell wasn't the only senator who unloaded on the reconciliation bill yesterday. So did Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD). He said: "Having the budget resolution conversation around this complicates the issue and makes it clear what the Democrats' ultimate objectives are and if able to achieve those, yeah, it creates a lot of heartburn for our members." In other words, he might be happy with only the bipartisan bill (which is definitely not a sure thing) but with the Democrats pushing a second bill in addition, well, that is one bill too far.

The order of the two bills is important. Progressive Democrats want the reconciliation bill to go first, because they are worried that some centrist Democrat might get cold feet after passing the bipartisan bill. Republicans want to reverse the order, because they hope that some centrist Democrat might get cold feet after passing the bipartisan bill. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) hasn't said which one is coming up first. On the other hand, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said that she won't bring up the bipartisan bill for a vote until the Senate has passed the reconciliation bill, so the order the two bills pass the Senate may not matter in the end. (V)

More Than 150 Companies Back the John Lewis Act

In the past corporations were loath to take positions on legislation except when it affected them directly, such as tax cuts or subsidies to their sector. That has changed in the past year, in part due to the murder of George Floyd and in part due to multiple states passing laws to restrict voting. The corporations are getting involved in politics in ways they don't really like on account of pressure from employees, customers, and stockholders who want them to take a stand on various issues.

In a new letter released yesterday, 150 large companies, including Amazon, Best Buy, Google, Hershey's, Microsoft, PepsiCo, and Target urged Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (H.R. 4). This bill would restore parts of the original Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court gutted. It would require certain states to get preclearance from the Justice Dept. before changing their voting laws. However, it does not address the many voting protections addressed in H.R. 1.

Among other things, the letter said: "The business community is proud of our role in encouraging our employees, customers, and communities to exercise their right to vote and have a say in our government."

In June, a group of 70 companies wrote an open letter supporting the passage of H.R. 1. That letter specifically pointed out the laws that Republican-controlled state legislatures have been passing. Yesterday's letter does not mention these laws. (V)

House Republicans Raise More Cash than House Democrats

The NRCC raised $45.4 million in Q2 2021, the most it has ever raised in any quarter of a nonelection year. In contrast, the DCCC raised "only" $36.5 million in the same period, giving the Republicans a lead here of nearly $9 million. However, it should be noted that $11.1 million of the NRCC's haul came from just two donors. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) chipped in $6.6 million and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) tossed $4.5 million in the pot. Still, a dollar in the pot is a dollar in the pot, no matter where it came from.

The Republicans also have more cash on hand now. The NRCC has $55 million in the bank now, the most ever for this point in the election cycle. The Democrats have only $44 million in the bank. Neither committee has any debt. (V)

Poll: DeSantis Is 2024 Favorite among Republicans If Trump Doesn't Run

Tony Fabrizio, a veteran Republican pollster who has worked for both Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), has run a nationwide poll among Republican voters to see whom they prefer as their presidential nominee in 2024. After all, the election is only 3½ years away, so it is becoming urgent.

If Trump decides to run again in a crowded field, about half the Republican voters want him as their nominee. DeSantis came in second at 19%. Of course, if DeSantis hired Fabrizio before announcing and got these results, he wouldn't run unless Trump announced that he wasn't running. DeSantis is only 42, so he can easily wait until 2028 or 2032 or even later if need be.

However, if Trump doesn't run, the top five are DeSantis at 38%, Mike Pence at 15%, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at 7%, Nikki Haley at 4%, and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) at 3%. Half a dozen presidential wannabees are clumped at 1-2%.

DeSantis has a lot of Trump's aggressiveness, especially about owning the libs, without the baggage (e.g., he is still married to his first wife and there aren't any personal scandals swirling around him). He definitely appeals to the Trumpist portion of the electorate without repelling conventional Republicans. He is kind of Jeb Bush on steroids.

As a candidate, he would clearly win Florida and probably Georgia and would have an edge in North Carolina. He grew up in Florida but then went to Yale and Harvard Law School, so more traditional Republicans wouldn't hesitate to vote for him in the general election. Of course, he has to win reelection in 2022 first and that means keeping Trump happy until the election and not getting too big for his britches. (V)

Vaccination May Be the Next Front in the Culture Wars

Wearing or not wearing a mask is already part of the culture wars, with most Democrats approving of masks and many Republicans opposing them. Now a new front is opening: vaccinations. This is illustrated by a recent event in Tennessee. There the state medical director for immunizations was fired by state officials for doing her job, which is to help people in Tennessee get vaccinated for all preventable diseases, including COVID-19.

Dr. Michelle Fiscus, a pediatrician, is the fired official. In an interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes, she said her job was to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine "across the state and to make sure that was done equitably and in a way that any Tennessean who wanted to access that vaccine would be able to get one. I have now been terminated for doing exactly that."

What did she do exactly that warranted her firing? She wrote a memo that publicized a decision of the Tennessee state Supreme Court that has become known as the "Mature Minor Doctrine." The Court ruled that Tennesseans from 14 to 18 may receive medical treatment without their parents' consent unless the physician believes the minor is not sufficiently mature to make his or her own medical decisions. Currently, that means a 16-year old Tennessee teenager can get the COVID-19 vaccine, even if his or her parents are wildly anti-vaxx.

Within days, Republicans in the state legislature were up in arms about Fiscus undermining parental authority, even though the decision about minors getting medical care their parents don't want was made by the state Supreme Court, not by Dr. Fiscus. This pressure led to the firing. In the past, Republicans have generally supported the concept that parents have absolute authority over their minor children, even to the point of denying those children rights guaranteed to everyone by law. Democrats have tended to support the constitutional rights of teenagers, even against the wishes of their (conservative) parents, especially on matters like contraception and abortion.

In the interview, Fiscus said: "We now have our most hesitant population being rural male conservative whites, who really do hang their hat on this political ideology that COVID-19 isn't real, isn't a threat, or that getting the vaccine somehow props up the left-wing part of our political system." She also said that she was not a political operative, just a pediatrician who was trying to protect Tennessee's children. Apparently, Fiscus' medical training did not prepare her for dealing with the children who run the state government. So we now have entered new territory. Some people in Tennessee are willing to risk letting their children die to own the libs. (V)

Beasley and Jackson Are Running Very Different Campaigns in North Carolina

The North Carolina Senate race for the seat of retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is certainly one of the top three next year (along with Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), and the Democratic primary may be the most exciting of all. Two major and one minor candidate are dominating it. The major candidates are former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (who raised $1.28 million in Q2) and state Sen. Jeff Jackson (who raised $700,000). The minor candidate is progressive former state senator Erica Smith (who raised $110,000). With that kind of fundraising, many Democratic insiders see the primary as Beasley vs. Jackson. Smith may play a small role, as she is Black, and so may pull some Black votes from Beasley, who is also Black, thus helping Jackson, who is white.

Beasley and Jackson are very different candidates and so are running very different campaigns. To start with, unlike Cal Cunningham, a new-to-politics white veteran who lost to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) in 2020, Beasley is a Black woman who has run three statewide campaigns before. She also has a history as a judge, rather than as a veteran. She is no Joe Manchin and if elected will be a reliable vote for the Democratic Party, from policing to LGBTQ+ rights. She is also critical of the filibuster. But she is not running on any particular platform.

Her real pitch is to get Black voters and all women to the polls in a midterm. Democratic turnout generally falls in midterms and she claims she can reduce the fall-off just based on demographics. Women are about half of all North Carolina voters and Black folks are about 25%, so based on identity politics, she ought to appeal to 62.5% of the voters. At least, in theory. But as Yogi Berra once pointed out: "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not." In any event, Beasley is focused on getting Democrats to vote and is not appealing to Republicans at all.

Jackson is a more traditional North Carolina candidate—another white military veteran, like Cunningham. Cunningham lost to Tillis by only 1.8% and many observers think that if he had kept his zipper in its full upright and locked position during the campaign, he might have won. Jackson knows this, of course. He is younger than Beasley (38, to her 55) and is making his youthful energy, rather than demographics or policy, his main selling point. He likes to compare himself to Beto O'Rourke, who famously did a Texas-style full-Grassley and visited all of Texas' 254 counties. Jackson is planning to actively campaign in all of North Carolina's 100 counties. He is running around the state like mad, holding town halls everywhere, some of them drawing hundreds of people.

Jackson is also running as his own man. He told a college politics class that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had called him and more-or-less said: "We want you to spend the next 16 months in a windowless basement raising money, and then we're going to spend 80 percent of it on negative ads." Jackson has completely rejected that approach and is making his campaign about all the people he is meeting around the state, with much less emphasis on ads, just as O'Rourke did.

For Jackson to succeed with a ground-based campaign, he will have to deal with the fact that in political terms, North Carolina is a large state with six very different areas, as shown below:

Political map of North Carolina

  • Appalachia: This rural area has only one city (Asheville, pop. 93,000), little industry, and is mostly full of white people without a college degree. If you think this is Donald Trump territory, then you hit the nail on the head. There are about 30 counties here and among them only Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania are Democratic. Still, if Jackson can run up big margins in these, it could somewhat offset big losses in the others. And by simply showing up and demonstrating to the residents that he is not writing them off, he might pick up some votes.

  • Piedmont: This is tobacco country and is mostly rural and Republican. There are two cities here, Winston-Salem (pop. 250,000) and Greensboro (pop. 300,000). As in Appalachia, Jackson can show he cares by showing up, but he needs to do very well in Winston-Salem and Greensboro.

  • Charlotte: Democrats have great strength in Charlotte proper (pop. 900,000), but not so much in suburban Cabarrus, Gaston, and Union counties. The latter will be crucial as Democrats will be making a huge pitch for the suburbs in 2022.

  • Research Triangle: The area inside and slightly outside the triangle formed by Raleigh (pop. 484,000), Chapel Hill (65,000), and Durham (pop. 288,000) is full of universities, tech companies, and financial companies. Voters here are highly educated, ethnically mixed, and downright hostile to Republicans. Any Democrat can win this area. Jackson and Beasley will compete head-to-head for it.

  • Black Belt: This area is part of the crescent-shaped "black belt" that runs through the South. It marks the former edge of the continent when the seas were higher. The soil is extremely rich and millions of slaves worked the plantations here. Some of their descendants still live there, and so some of the counties have Black majorities. Beasley will clean up here.

  • Eastern NC: There are lots of military bases here, including (soon-to-be-former) Fort Bragg in Fayetteville (pop. 213,000) and the Marine Corps air station at Cherry Point. That will help the veteran, Jackson. It is largely rural but has a substantial number of Black voters, especially in the northern part, which will be good for Beasley.

Given this map, Beasley isn't going to bother much with Appalachia, Piedmont or the southern part of Eastern NC, and will focus on getting out the vote in the Black Belt, Charlotte, and the Research Triangle. So as the year plays out, we will have a better idea of whether an expansive ground game will beat identity politics. And despite her somewhat meager fundraising, Smith will try to compete with Beasley for Black votes and also for progressive votes in the big cities. But if her take remains this low, she's probably doomed. (V)

Tucker Carlson: The Voice of White Grievance

With Rush Limbaugh now departed, presumably to the whites-only section of wherever he is now located, Fox News' Tucker Carlson has taken over as the main voice of white grievance in America. Yesterday the Washington Post had a very long story headlined "How Tucker Carlson became the voice of white grievance." It is about his background and how he achieved his current perch. He is politically important due to the 3 million people who watch his show every weekday and take their political cues from him. In addition, he is very aware that a recent president launched his presidential bid starting as a television personality, and clearly thinks lightning could strike twice, possibly as early as 2024. So like him or loathe him, he is clearly someone who is a player on the political scene and could soon be an even bigger one.

Like Donald Trump, Carlson was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His mother was an heiress to the Swanson Frozen Food empire. He grew up in tony La Jolla, CA, in a house overlooking a fancy country club. Not exactly the kind of blue-collar background that Scranton Joe has. Carlson's father was a noteworthy Republican and director of Voice of America in the Reagan administration. In his 2018 book, Ship of Fools, Carlson recalls that he hated his first grade teacher, Marianna Raymond. He said she was an earth-mother liberal who wore Indian-print skirts, sobbed at her desk, repeated that the world was so unfair and didn't bother with subjects like reading and penmanship. The Post interviewed her and she said she was shocked by Carlson's description, didn't ever wear an Indian-print skirt, never sobbed at her desk, and taught the usual first-grade subjects. She also said that the Carlson family liked her so much that they hired her as a private tutor, possibly because little Tucker was failing first grade. It appears that somebody's version of life in first grade isn't quite correct.

For some reason, at 14, Carlson was shipped across the country to an elite boarding school in Rhode Island where he began challenging people to political debates. Afterwards, he went to Trinity College in Connecticut. Upon graduating, he applied for a job at the CIA and was rejected, so he began working for the conservative Heritage Foundation. A few years later he joined the new Weekly Standard, working for Bill Kristol. He wrote about Trump even then, saying: "He is the single most repulsive person on the planet."

In 2003, Carlson visited West Africa with Rev. Al Sharpton, philosopher Cornel West, and Rev. Albert Sampson, a former associate of Martin Luther King Jr. They went to Elmina Castle in Ghana, where, in the 18th and early 19th centuries, 30,000 enslaved Africans were held each year just prior to being loaded onto ships. Sampson said about Carlson: "He did not cry. He did not have any intellectual response. He didn't give any verbal response. It was a total detachment from the reality of the event." Carlson later said: "Racial solidarity wasn't a working concept in my Southern California hometown." Contrast that reaction with that of then-president George W. Bush, who visited nearby Senegal the same month and described slavery as "one of the greatest crimes of history."

Carlson has called Iraqis "semiliterate primitive monkeys," said "I don't like the feminist crap," and argued that people trying to immigrate to the United States ought to have something to offer like "be hot or be really smart." On a radio show, he described his views and the host paraphrased him by saying: "So, basically we need a racist president. We need to get these Mexicans out of here, and the Islam. Let's kill all the Muslims." Carlson responded: "I think that you're onto something."

While Carlson may be an ambitious television personality who grew up in privilege in an upper-class enclave, attended elite private schools, and was given every opportunity to become a success, he nonetheless consistently presents himself as a victim. Night after night, he stokes resentment in his audience, attacking liberals and Republicans who do insufficient battle with the "woke" left. Despite a video showing what happened and a court conviction, he has questioned whether George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and has said the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate with obedient voters from the Third World. He doesn't talk about "sh*thole countries," though. He is much smoother than Donald Trump.

The article goes on and on. If you want to get a better idea of someone who might run for president if Trump declines in 2024, it is worth a read.

If Donald Trump doesn't run in 2024, a Carlson vs. DeSantis primary would pit two young, fiery, and articulate candidates against one another. It would be quite a show. (V)

House Republican Losers Want Rematches

Last week, two more Republicans who narrowly lost House races in 2020 have filed for a rematch. These are Wesley Hunt in TX-07 and Jesse Jensen in WA-08. They aren't the only ones. In 2020, there were 44 close races that were decided by 6 points or fewer. Republicans won 21 of them and Democrats won 23 of them. So far, 11 of the Republicans who lost have either filed or have said they are likely to file for a rematch. So far, only two of the losing Democrats have filed for a rematch. Here are the districts that were within 6 points in 2020.

District Incumbent Dem % 2020 GOP % 2020 Dem - GOP
MI-03 Peter Meijer (R) 47.0% 53.0% -5.9%
NJ-02 Jeff Van Drew (R) 46.2% 51.9% -5.8%
VA-05 Bob Good (R) 47.3% 52.4% -5.1%
NE-02 Don Bacon (R) 46.2% 50.8% -4.6%
AZ-06 David Schweikert (R) 47.8% 52.2% -4.3%
OK-05 Stephanie Bice (R) 47.9% 52.1% -4.1%
IN-05 Victoria Spartz (R) 45.9% 50.0% -4.1%
TX-23 Tony Gonzales (R) 46.6% 50.6% -4.0%
FL-26 Carlos Giménez (R) 48.3% 51.7% -3.4%
MN-01 Jim Hagedorn (R) 45.5% 48.6% -3.1%
FL-27 María Elvira Salazar (R) 48.6% 51.4% -2.7%
IA-01 Ashley Hinson (R) 48.6% 51.2% -2.6%
CA-48 Michelle Steel (R) 48.9% 51.1% -2.1%
TX-24 Beth Van Duyne (R) 47.5% 48.8% -1.3%
SC-01 Nancy Mace (R) 49.3% 50.6% -1.3%
CA-39 Young Kim (R) 49.4% 50.6% -1.2%
UT-04 Burgess Owens (R) 46.7% 47.7% -1.0%
CA-21 David Valadao (R) 49.6% 50.4% -0.9%
CA-25 Mike Garcia (R) 50.0% 50.0% -0.1%
NY-22 Claudia Tenney (R) 48.8% 48.8% 0.0%
IA-02 Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) 49.9% 49.9% 0.0%
NJ-07 Tom Malinowski (D) 50.6% 49.4% 1.2%
IL-14 Lauren Underwood (D) 50.7% 49.3% 1.3%
IA-03 Cindy Axne (D) 48.9% 47.5% 1.4%
VA-07 Abigail Spanberger (D) 50.8% 49.0% 1.8%
MN-02 Angie Craig (D) 48.2% 45.9% 2.3%
PA-17 Conor Lamb (D) 51.1% 48.9% 2.3%
MI-11 Haley Stevens (D) 50.2% 47.8% 2.4%
WI-03 Ron Kind (D) 51.3% 48.6% 2.7%
GA-07 Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) 51.4% 48.6% 2.8%
TX-15 Vicente González (D) 50.5% 47.6% 2.9%
NV-03 Susie Lee (D) 48.8% 45.8% 3.0%
AZ-01 Tom O'Halleran (D) 51.6% 48.4% 3.2%
TX-07 Lizzie Fletcher (D) 50.8% 47.5% 3.3%
PA-08 Matt Cartwright (D) 51.8% 48.2% 3.5%
WA-08 Kim Schrier (D) 51.7% 48.1% 3.6%
MI-08 Elissa Slotkin (D) 50.9% 47.3% 3.6%
PA-07 Susan Wild (D) 51.9% 48.1% 3.7%
IL-17 Cheri Bustos (D) 52.0% 48.0% 4.1%
NV-04 Steven Horsford (D) 50.7% 45.8% 4.9%
NH-01 Chris Pappas (D) 51.3% 46.2% 5.1%
OR-04 Peter DeFazio (D) 51.5% 46.2% 5.3%
VA-02 Elaine Luria (D) 51.6% 45.8% 5.7%
TX-32 Colin Allred (D) 51.9% 45.9% 6.0%

The reason for the disparity is probably due to the conventional wisdom that the president's party loses seats in the first midterm. Since the Democratic majority is now only four seats, these Republicans probably expect to be in the majority if they win. They also expect to have the wind at their backs solely due to not belonging to the president's party. For Democrats, the logic is the opposite: Why spend a year and a half campaigning only to find yourself in the minority if you manage to win? If strong Republican challengers run and strong Democratic challengers don't run, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But there is one factor that could mess up the best laid plans of rodents and humans: redistricting. In many cases, the boundaries of the districts that the candidates will be running in aren't known yet due to the census bureau's delay in getting the numbers out. Districts need to have the same populations, and until the detailed census data are available, it is impossible for states to draw maps, even in states that are neither gaining nor losing a seat. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jul14 A Speech Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing
Jul14 Senate Democrats Say They Have a Deal on Reconciliation
Jul14 Two More Trump Books Dropped Yesterday
Jul14 Flake Tapped for Turkey
Jul14 Cheney's Huge Fundraising Haul Suggests That She's in Trouble
Jul14 Kemp, Georgia Republicans Lost Their Balls, Blame Democrats
Jul14 Can You Say EGOT?
Jul14 Today's Schadenfreude Report
Jul13 East Bound and Down
Jul13 Infrastructure Reconciliation Bill Picks Up Speed
Jul13 Who Is the Biggest Threat to Abbott?
Jul13 California Voters Will Just Have to Guess...
Jul13 Who Will Replace Eric Garcetti?
Jul13 Edwin Edwards (1927-2021); Donald Rumsfeld (1932-2021)
Jul12 Clyburn Warns Biden: Encourage Filibuster Reform or Lose the Majority
Jul12 Republican Voters Want to Make Voting Harder
Jul12 Biden Is on the Move
Jul12 The Suburbs Will Be the Big Battleground in 2022
Jul12 Biden Supports Capitalism
Jul12 Trumpists Are Running for Governor in Many States
Jul12 Alaska Republican Party Endorses Murkowski's Challenger
Jul12 Yellen Sets Out Timeline for Global Minimum Tax
Jul11 Sunday Mailbag
Jul10 Saturday Q&A
Jul09 Biden Puts Monopolies in His Crosshairs
Jul09 Texas Is at It Again
Jul09 Another Potential Infrastructure Wrinkle
Jul09 The Republican Party Stands for Nothing
Jul09 Trump Says He Welcomes Deposition
Jul09 An Artful Solution?
Jul09 A Momentary Lapse of Reason, Part II
Jul08 House Group Approves Senate's Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
Jul08 Trump Sues Facebook, Twitter, and Google
Jul08 McCarthy Is at a Crossroads
Jul08 Biden Can Reshape the Fed
Jul08 Do Republicans Really Believe the Lies They Are Telling?
Jul08 Giuliani to Help the Democrats on Saturday
Jul08 Beasley Raises $1.3 Million for North Carolina Senate Race
Jul08 Pollsters Still Don't Know What Went Wrong in 2020
Jul08 Garcia and Wiley Concede
Jul07 It's Adams' Apple
Jul07 Infrastructure Talks Just Keep Getting More Complicated
Jul07 RNC Hacked by the Russians
Jul07 How Greedy Is Too Greedy?
Jul07 Vance Can't Dance
Jul07 Mary Trump: Ivanka's Less Loyal than Weisselberg
Jul07 Happy Anniversary, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!
Jul06 Gang Warfare
Jul06 What's the Plan for the 1/6 Commission?
Jul06 How Not to Respond to Being Prosecuted