With more than 19 months to go before the November 4, 2024, election – and more than seven months to go even before the few November 7, 2023, elections – far more is unknown than known, certainly in the still nascent (but daily more interesting) presidential race: the candidates, the nominees, the tolls the primaries and general will take . . . and what will happen in 19 months to the world’s and the nation’s wars/threats, health, economy/jobs, disasters, and happiness (or lack thereof).
In short, it’s too early for serious speculation . . . but that doesn’t matter since it really started late Tuesday night, last November 8th, as the polls closed on the mid-term elections.
The WALL STREET JOURNAL did an article last Friday, A Bad Start for the GOP in 2023 arguing the Democrats were enjoying a good start to the year with:
- Jon Tester’s decision to seek re-election to the Senate from Montana, the Democrats’ only hope of holding that seat (and a modest hope at that in a state Biden lost by more than 16 points);
- Turnout in Wisconsin’s primary last Tuesday with a high profile race for the state Supreme Court bringing 21% of the voting age population to polls . . . compared in 16% for a similar primary in 2020 and 12% in 2018 . . . suggesting abortion will still drive Democrat voters to turn out;
- And the Democrat victory in Tuesday’s special congressional election in Virginia, with the Democrat winning a safe “blue” seat, but winning it by 74% to 26%, what the JOURNAL called a “striking margin,” given that her late predecessor won re-election last November by “only” 65% – 35%.
But however badly the year of 2023 has started for the GOP, it could end badly for the Democrats. As we suggest in the attached, we see the Dems losing the governor’s office in Louisiana, maybe holding on in Kentucky, but with an up-hill fight to unseat an unlikable and unliked Republican incumbent in the deep “red” state of Mississippi (albeit with a great Dem. candidate, PUC Commissioner Brandon Presley, who starts within the margin-of-error against Gov. Tate Reeves . . . prompting a Presley bumper sticker, “Later Tater.”)
The real challenge for the Democrats comes in holding on to their U.S. Senate majority (AND trying to re-win a House majority) in 2024. As the linked presentation suggests, as of NOW we don’t see either happening.
Another good read last week for political junkies was a column by the always insightful Tom Edsall, in the NEW YORK TIMES “The Forces Tearing Us Apart Aren’t Quite What They Seem.” What a massive and striking party realignment/demographics he highlights. I wish my legendary mentor Matt Reese was still with us so I could ask him, “What does this mean? How fundamental/overriding is it? How long will it last, as long as the FDR coalition that lasted 80 years? Who will figure out how to use/change this?” All are questions I am pondering.
Consistent with Tip O’Neill’s eternal truth that “all politics is local,” while the presidential race may dominate the national scene and impact local races, it is at the STATE level huge outcomes will be decided: control of U. S. Senate, U. S. House and state governors, attorneys general, and state legislatures.