An Omen for the Midterms

By Lindsay Der

A year away from the 2022 Midterm Elections, the off-year elections for the governorship in Virginia and New Jersey seem to foreshadow an unfortunate future for the Democrats’ slim Congressional majority. In previous elections, the off-year races in these states have given fairly accurate predictions as to how the following year’s midterms will play out. Glenn Youngkin’s projected victory in Virginia, which had trended blue until Tuesday, especially demonstrates the apparent party shift since 2020. Despite attacks from his opponent decrying Youngkin as “Trump in a sweater vest,” the Republican has seemingly laid the groundwork for other members of his party in regards to navigating the treacherous election path in the destructive footsteps of Trump. By showing just enough support to Trump to secure the GOP primary, then keeping the former president at an arm’s length, Youngkin successfully avoided alienating die-hard Trumpets and moderate Republicans who were previously frightened away from the party. 

As Democratic opponent McAuliffe’s failed tactic emerges, Democratic candidates will not be able to rely on focusing on the blunders of Trump to vitiate the Republicans’ campaign efforts. Still too early to call as of November 3, what was predicted to have been a rather easy Democratic victory shows yet another grave omen for their success in 2022. A usually reliable measurement of the country’s sentiment toward each party, these off-year elections should invoke fear for the Democrats’ congressional majority during the midterms, especially since the majority party usually sees the most flipped seats. However, with still 12 months until those fated elections, situations may drastically change, as illustrated by the shift from the 2020 election to this year. The deviation from Democratic support may be attributed to one or both of two things: the prolonged pandemic and recently inflated price, either of which may see drastic changes that can significantly help or harm the Democratic party. Only time will tell how the Democrats will navigate the maintenance of their Congressional majority while these off-year election clues serve as just that… clues.