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As President Biden’s approval ratings sink lower and lower, House and Senate Democrats are bolting the ship, leaving a stronger and stronger chance that the GOP takes back the House and may even take back the Senate. The latest case in point: on Wednesday, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) announced she would not run for reelection in 2022. With the precarious lead the Democrats hold in the House of Representatives, every seat matters, although Speier’s heavily Democratic district will likely send another Democrat in her place.
On Monday, the president pro tempore of the Senate, Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who is the longest-serving sitting senator, announced he would not seek reelection next year. Joe Biden won Vermont by 35 points in 2020; no prominent Republican from Vermont has launched a 2022 bid for the Senate as yet.
The Washington Post noted on Friday, “Eight Democrats have chosen not to run for reelection in 2022, with more probably on the way.” The Post added:
Members of Congress … don’t usually leave their jobs unless they are pushed out by voters, or feel like they are about to be relegated to permanent minority status. Like a Waffle House closing ahead of a hurricane, the Retiree Index can be a sign for Congress watchers — along with ominous polling and a surprise loss in what was supposed to be a safe election (in this case, Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s defeat in the Virginia governor’s race) — that the majority is about to get walloped. Some members may be getting out before their work situations go from intense to intolerable.
After the elections in Virginian and New Jersey earlier this month in which the GOP performed extraordinarily well, Nathaniel Rakich of fivethirtyeight.com noted:
If I were the Democratic Party, I’d be feeling less comforted by that number after Tuesday. While polls are usually in the right ballpark, they are still subject to a margin of error, as Democrats themselves discovered in 2020, when the generic-ballot polls overestimated their margin by 4.2 points. Plus, there was already good reason to think that generic-ballot polls right now are overestimating Democrats: Almost all so far have surveyed registered voters rather than likely voters, who tend to be a more Republican-leaning group, especially in a midterm election when the president is a Democrat.
The New York Times opined on November 9, “As Democrats make sense of their losses, ‘one fact stands out as one of the easiest explanations,’ The Times’s Nate Cohn wrote. ‘Joe Biden has lower approval ratings at this stage of his presidency than nearly any president in the era of modern polling.’”
Derek Thompson of The Atlantic echoed, “Compared with the 2020 election, support for Democrats decayed across states, genders, ethnicities, and counties. Democrats lost because of something bigger than any demographic or issue. They lost a vibes war. Despite many positive economic trends, Americans are feeling rotten about the state of things—and, understandably, they’re blaming the party in power.”