Graphic illustration of American flag components on abstract oil paint, brushstroke background. Contemporary patriotic feel.

Two columnists express opposite views on whether the Democrats can prevail in the 2022 election.


POINT: November 2021 was no fluke; Republicans are rightfully optimistic

By Ted Harvey

Weeks after a "red wave" slammed New Jersey and Virginia, Democrats are still reeling. To quote Democratic strategist Lanae Erickson, "If House elections had to be held on the day of the Virginia elections, we would have lost 50 seats."

The writing is on the wall, and that writing is public opinion. In terms of congressional outlook, Republicans are currently polling ahead of Democrats by 10 percentage points — their largest lead since the early 1980s. When it comes to handling crime, Republicans hold a 22-point advantage. On the issue of inflation (more pressing with each passing day), it extends to 24 points.

Border security? Americans trust the Republican Party by a 27-point margin. Yes, people still believe in borders. And, no, they do not support six-figure payouts to illegal immigrants.

Making matters worse for Democrats, the liberal base is not energized by the failures of the Biden administration. Uninspired by press conferences with stock questions and scripted answers, under half of Biden voters expect to vote next year.

Democrats, beware: Nov. 2 was just the beginning. We are in the midst of a second American Revolution, characterized by a massive and mounting disdain for President Biden and his left-wing platform.

Back in June, I warned the Biden administration about the "red wave" approaching. As I wrote, "Our Founding Fathers gave us a republic by which our revolutions are fought at the ballot box." Indeed, it was fought in New Jersey, where the Senate president was taken down by an upstart. It was fought in Virginia, where Republicans won the governorship and two other statewide races, while regaining the majority in the House of Delegates. And Americans are still fighting.

Despite the incessant wailing of the radical left, Americans are seeing what happens when good-faith people rise up to fight for their children, their businesses and the American way of life.

When small businesses were summarily deemed "non-essential" and shut down last year, while big-box stores and fast-food chains remained open, Americans were infuriated. When schools were closed and childhood education was put on hold, Americans were enraged. When schools were reopened yet reserved for mask-wearers, despite minimal COVID-related risks, Americans were outraged. When children were forced to confront propaganda like "critical race theory" and "white privilege" in the classroom, Americans were frustrated yet again.

This month, Americans told the Democratic Party: Enough.

The more Democrats and their allies promote policies with little to no support, the more that everyday Americans will fight back. If Biden dares to define parents as "domestic terrorists," he and his allies will face their wrath at the ballot box.

People will organize and mobilize on Election Day. As one Democrat in Virginia acknowledged, "Voted straight ticket Republican today. First time in my life. The Democrats who kept my kids under house arrest all of last year didn't get a single vote from me." And, in the end, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe lost a state that Biden won by double digits just one year earlier. Hispanic voters, some of whom became first-time Republicans because of the Biden administration, went for Glenn Youngkin by an 11-point margin.

Yet Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blame the Virginia loss on centrism, urging her party to become even more left-wing. For lawmakers like her, the 2022 midterms will be another rude awakening.

November 2021 was no fluke. Republicans have every reason to be optimistic about the months to come. They have every reason to be encouraged by the Americans organizing and mobilizing to take back their schools, their districts and the entire country.

In the end, it will not be the Republican Party that wins the 2022 midterms — the second American Revolution. It will be the decent, hard-working fathers and mothers who stood up for their nation.

Which side will you be on?

Ted Harvey is chairman of the anti-Biden Committee to Defeat the President. He wrote this for

Tribune Content Agency


COUNTERPOINT: Democrats need to protect democracy — and pass their own agenda

By Karen Dolan

The 2022 elections are still a year away, but all signs point to trouble for Democrats. The party seems likely to lose its House majority, and possibly even the Senate.

But is it a foregone conclusion? Not necessarily. But avoiding that fate requires understanding the party's challenges and responding appropriately. To stay competitive next year, Democrats will need to take bold steps to protect our democracy — and to pass their own agenda.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is also the most sordid: gerrymandering.

How House voting districts are drawn all but determines which party wins them. Gerrymandering refers to a process in which parties draw districts that heavily favor their own members, which can often result in stark partisan imbalances.

The current districts, drawn after the 2010 Census, are already gerrymandered in favor of Republicans. But the new districts being drawn for 2022 are even worse.

Since the 2020 Census, Republican-leaning states have gained a few seats while Democratic-leaning states have lost some. According to the New York Times, the GOP now controls the redistricting of 187 House seats, while Democrats control the drawing of just 74.

GOP-controlled legislatures are working overtime to squeeze out Democratic voters in these districts, potentially leading to majority-GOP delegations even from states Joe Biden won. So even if Democratic House candidates win more votes than their GOP counterparts in 2022, they could end up in the minority.

Partisan redistricting plans are often challenged in court, and a few were struck down in recent election cycles. But this isn't likely to happen before next year. Add in the voter-suppression laws proliferating in GOP-controlled states, rising inflation, and President Joe Biden's plummeting poll numbers and the outlook for Democrats is grim.

But Democrats do have one advantage: It turns out that Biden's domestic political agenda is immensely popular.

Biden just signed a long-overdue overhaul for America's roads, bridges and transit infrastructure, which is popular with voters. And the Build Back Better Act now painstakingly trudging through Congress includes some immensely popular provisions — including guaranteeing paid family and medical leave, lowering prescription drug prices, and fairly taxing the richest among us.

Other elements of the plan would create renewable energy jobs, guarantee access to child care, and extend direct monthly payments to virtually all U.S. parents. These are all popular ideas that would benefit virtually all Americans in one way or another.

But there's a problem: Most voters don't know Democrats are actually trying to do all this. While huge bipartisan majorities support the bill's individual provisions, just 10% of voters say the Build Back Better would help them. Only a third said they knew anything about what's in it.

So Democrats have a few tasks before them if they want to survive 2022.

First, they need to pass the most sweeping version of the Build Back Better Act that they can get past their most conservative members, including Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Then they need to make sure voters know what's in it. Biden and lawmakers should take to the streets and airwaves with people affected by the act, such as members of the Poor People's Campaign, and make it known that the Build Back Better Act would significantly help nearly all families and workers in this country.

Finally, Democrats need to address the anti-democratic voter-suppression bills that have proliferated around the nation.

They could invoke a one-time exception to the filibuster to pass a "democracy infrastructure" bill over Republican opposition. Such legislation should protect voting rights and crack down on gerrymandering by calling for nonpartisan, independent commissions to redraw federal electoral districts rather than partisan statehouses.

So, before the GOP rushes in their orders for tuxedos and gowns to be sure they get through the bottle-necked supply chain by next November, let's see if Democrats can follow the will of the people, pass popular legislation, protect our democracy — and actually tell people they've done it.

Karen Dolan directs the Criminalization of Race and Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. She wrote this for

Tribune Content Agency