In a TMS exclusive, Dr. Lauren Wright, a professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, explained that Republicans’ chances don’t look too bad.
What power does Trump still hold?
- First, keep in mind that former presidents usually end up being big political voices within their own party, even if they don’t directly endorse or oppose certain candidates. For example, Barack Obama made one of the biggest speeches at the Democratic National Convention last year.
- For Donald Trump, though, it’s a little different. After certain posts he made after the January 6 attacks on the Capitol building in Washington, he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and just about every other social media site you can think of.
- That said, Trump still has quite a bit of influence within the Republican Party. Just one example of this is when Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming was removed from her leadership position in the House because she wouldn’t repeat the false claim that Trump had actually won the presidential election.
- And repeating “the big lie” that Trump actually won the election has become a sort of litmus test for Republicans nationwide, with the former president and his supporters attacking those who don’t repeat it.
How will Republicans do in the 2022 midterms?
- In a TMS exclusive, Dr. Lauren Wright, a professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, explained that Republicans’ chances don’t look too bad.
- “What matters most in the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections will probably still be fundamental factors rather than Trump looming over some of these races,” she said.
- Dr. Wright pointed to the fact that historically the party of the president loses seats during midterm elections, an average of 27 seats in the House and three seats in the Senate. If Republicans were to win just the average number of seats, it would give them a majority in both chambers of Congress.
- She also pointed to the reapportionment and redistricting efforts taking place right now, which, based on the 2020 census, decide how many congressional seats each state receives and how those congressional districts are drawn.
- The reason this is such a bonus for Republicans is that they control the state legislatures in 23 states (compared to the Democrats’ 15, with the others being either independently controlled or split between chambers). It’s the state legislatures’ job to draw the congressional district lines and both sides have been accused of historically drawing district lines to favor their party, a process known as gerrymandering.
What could Trump’s impact be in the midterms?
- But Dr. Wright didn’t discount that Trump could be a factor in the midterms, saying that just because fundamental factors are working for Republicans doesn’t mean “that Trump won’t insert himself into the political process and wreak some havoc.”
- “Trump’s involvement,” said Dr. Wright, “carries the risk of alienating some voters who might have voted for Republicans otherwise, or who are critical of Biden’s agenda for some other reason.”
- She also pointed to the races of those like Liz Cheney, where Trump’s involvement actually led to increased donations to Cheney’s campaign in spite of her criticism of the former president.
- “Something else to watch in 2022 is whether turnout is high like it was in 2018, when Trump told midterm voters to pretend he was on the ballot,” said Dr. Wright. “I doubt Biden will take that much of a direct approach, but Democrats will definitely try to attach themselves to Biden’s most popular policy agenda items and claim credit for those.”
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