No Room for Error: Democratic Strategists Pessimistic About Party's Prospects in 2022 Midterms

© REUTERS / Cheney OrrSign directs voters to a polling station on Election Day in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. November 3, 2020
Sign directs voters to a polling station on Election Day in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. November 3, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.10.2021
Many factors have prompted fears among the Democrats of losing their majority in Congress, including the declining ratings of President Joe Biden amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Prospects are looking dimmer by the day for the Democratic Party in terms of the upcoming 2022 midterms, several party strategists and operatives have shared with The Hill. Initially, they had hoped that the Democrats would be able to avoid a shellacking this time – the loss of a majority in Congress in the first midterms after the election of a Democrat president, which has already been witnessed twice in recent history.
However, a series of developments in politics have tanked that optimism, according to the strategists interviewed by the Hill. They still believe the situation can change for the better, but the party has practically no room for error.
"To be blunt, I’m not feeling good about where we are. Look, it was never going to be easy or anything. It was always kind of contingent on what got done. I just think we’re starting to see how fragile this is", a senior Democratic congressional aide told the media outlet.
One of the main sources of trouble for the party is a blockage of the passing of Biden's key legislative projects - a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion social programme. The details of the second are still a matter of debate between moderate and progressive Democrats. Meanwhile, the infrastructure bill is threatened to get hold up by the progressives if they remain unsatisfied with the $3.5 trillion social package.
Not only is the party's infighting hurting the two bills, but it also nearly led to the US defaulting on its obligations, putting the economy at risk. Now, the Democrats have to show they can get the presidential agenda done soon or face the consequences in 2022, since voters might not be willing to wait, a Democratic strategist suggested in an interview with The Hill.
"It’s a kind of a catch 22. We’re asking people to vote for us so we have a bigger majority so we can make these big things happen. But the average voter, who doesn’t eat, sleep and breathe this – all they see is gridlock in Washington and they think it’s just more of the same, you know? That’s not really a great case for us".
US President Joe Biden's freefalling ratings are not helping the situation either. The trend, which started in August amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, has continued There is a chance for him to rebound, but only if the arising problems, such as rising COVID cases and disruptions in US supply chains, will be dealt with and no new blunders emerge.

"President Biden's backslide on leadership, honesty and competence and the fact that he has lost some ground on handling of the COVID pandemic has to be concerning to Democrats", polling analyst at Quinnipiac University Tim Malloy said.

Right now, the only good news the Democrats have is their campaign donations, as they outperformed the GOP by $10 million in the third quarter of 2021. But the race in 2022 will be tight nonetheless – the Republicans need only five House seats and one Senate spot to flip the chambers red.
Former President Donald Trump. File photo   - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.04.2021
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The GOP will be having more seats on defence than the Democrats during the midterms, but at the same time, at least 10 Democratic lawmakers will be retiring, thus giving the Republicans hope to grab the seats from Democratic newcomers. One House Republican, Tom Emmer, has already suggested that many retiring Democrats are simply afraid that they won't win re-election in 2022.
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