To Hawthorn Friends & Family – 

Today I made my annual trip to “Sweet Home Alabama” to share our best guesses about next year’s election with a major manufacturing organization.  The presentation can be accessed HERE.

Of course, I stipulated it is FAR too early to make any predictions with confidence.  Who, three months ago, would have predicted the intensification of COVID, the hurricanes and wildfires, Afghanistan?  What will happen in the next three months, let alone the next 13 between now and the ‘22 election?

That said, when asked for our views we share them as best we can clarify them.

Obviously, in addition to the “unknowns,” an enormous amount depends on the performance of President Biden AND the performance of Congress.  And while the Virginia governor ‘21 election will be instructive — as the California recall was earlier this week — it’s always a mistake to read too much into a one-off election.

In Virginia, the race continues tight, tighter than it should be for former Gov. McAuliffe.  More than $60 million has already been reported, TWICE as much as at this time four years ago.

Yes, Newsom won big in California, almost two-to-one.  But with no super-star opponent, he massively out-spent and out-organized his opposition . . . but still suffered deterioration in the Latino vote.  Of those who DID vote for a replacement, the super-far-right Larry Elder got 46% of the vote, his closest opponent less than 10%.  While the California results seem an endorsement of Newsom’s tough anti-COVID track record, it would probably be a mistake to suggest that should worry Newsom’s polar (and policy) opposites in California and Texas.  The three states are so different (despite the once hyped “Californiazation of Texas”) they might as well be on three different planets.  But whether COVID results will turn voters against either the Texas and/or the Florida governor (who has reportedly already raised $53 million for his re-election) will continue to be watched and measured in the polls.

Given what we know today and the tracks politics seems to be on, our assessment is that it is POSSIBLE the Democrats will LOSE control of the SENATE and LIKELY the Democrats will LOSE control of the HOUSE.  Prospects for both will likely change several times over the next 13 months.

Stay well:  healthy, safe and reasonably sane.