Though the Democrats lost their House majority in the midterms, they gained much more in a variety of ways. In fact, as the 2024 elections come closer, I expect that their losing control of the House will likely strengthen the party’s resolve and prove a boon to its prospects of winning two years from now.
In addition to holding onto the Senate majority, here’s some other benefits the Dems reaped from the midterms. The November elections further cemented young voters support for the Democratic Party. The youth vote (18-to-29-year-olds) favored Democratic House candidates by 28 points over Republican candidates. While that’s about the same as in 2020, it’s considerably better than in 2016 when youth voters turned out for Democratic House candidates by 16 points over Republican candidates and by only a 12-point margin in 2014.
Youth turnout in this election was the second highest in the last thirty years. Given their 28-pont youth advantage and the fact that voters tend to stick with whichever political party they initially register with for years to come, the Democrats’ future does appear bright.
At the same time, the recent election increased the Democrats’ standing among women voters as well. According to Elaine Kamarck, an expert on American electoral politics at the Brookings Institution, suburban women showed up en masse to help fuel Democrats’ better-than-expected showing. She noted that while women comprise 52% of the U.S. population, they accounted for 55% of the last presidential electoral vote. Clearly, another good omen for Dems going into the 2024 election.
While this year’s voter turnout did not match the 2018 midterm record, it’s “on track to easily surpass other recent midterms.” And, in a number of battleground states, many of which the Democrats won, turnout exceeded 2018. Again, a positive sign for the Dems since the greater the turnout, the more likely that they will win.
On the other hand, Republicans made gains among voters of color, though not to the degree previously predicted. Compared to the 2018 midterms, Hispanic and Asian support for the GOP jumped 10 and 17 points respectively, while Black voters shifted about 4 points to the right. Still, Democrats won the majority among Black, Hispanic and Asian and Pacific Islander voters in the 2022 midterms.
In spite of the Republican takeover of the House and their gains with voters of color, Democrats have good reason for optimism besides what’s already been noted above. In just the last few days, a new generational team has arisen to takeover for Nancy Pelosi and her octogenarian squad. For the first time ever, a Black man, 52-year-old, Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) will lead them. Katherine Clark (D-MA), a 59-year-old progressive, will be second in command. And, 43-year-old Peter Aguilar (D-CA), the highest-ranking Hispanic in Congress, will round out the new leadership team. Among them, they cover just about all the critical constituencies Democrats need to energize in 2024: Blacks, Hispanics, women and youth.
Yet, thanks to the Republicans, there’s one more factor that will give the Dems momentum moving forward. The House Republicans have already signaled that they intend to focus on investigating, and even impeaching, President Biden, Attorney General Garland and others administration officials. Rather than providing an alternative policy agenda to the Democrats’ program, they will be spending precious taxpayers’ dollars and lots of Congress’s time on digging up dirt on the Biden administration that will go nowhere since the Dems will still control the Senate.
The 2024 electorate will then have a very clear choice. Will they vote for a far-right Republican Party seeking to cut Social Security and Medicare, and eliminate a woman’s right to choose? Or will they support the Democrats who enacted major legislation for the American people on infrastructure, veterans’ aid, manufacturing, climate change, prescription drug costs and more in the last two years? And, but for the new GOP, obstructionist House majority, they would have continued to do so after 2022.
Which would you choose? I’m betting voters will go with the Dems, the party that still believes in democracy and supporting all Americans, not just the very wealthy and big business.
A retired, public sector ethics attorney, Berlin is the author of Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America (See breakingbigmoneysgrip.com.), the founder of New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics, a former U.S. Institute of Peace fellow, and the founder and former executive director of The Trinity Forum for International Security and Conflict Resolution. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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