2022 Won’t Be Another 1866

Hope is not a COA.

Manisha Sinha, the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut, has published an op-ed at CNN titled “Why I hope 2022 will be another 1866.” The crux:

We must hope that the midterm elections of 2022 might engender that unusual political wave and resemble the 1866 midterms, when the party in power, the Republicans in this instance, won decisive majorities in both houses of Congress. (The two political parties have long since flipped political and ideological roles.)

She goes on to draw interesting if perhaps somewhat strained parallels about the early Reconstruction era and today and to argue why we need such a corrective. And, yes, that would be great.

But here’s the thing: we’re less than a month out from the midterms and there’s simply zero chance of this happening. Democratic fortunes have risen and there’s little danger of a wave election in the opposite direction. The combination of a late legislative rally that got some massive spending bills passed, a quelling of gas prices (if still well above what they were when Biden took office), and Republicans shooting themselves in the foot by nominating some absolutely atrocious candidates mean Democrats have a decent chance of holding seats that, under normal circumstances, they wouldn’t.

Democrats could well hold the Senate. It’s unlikely that they’ll do the same with the House but it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility. But “decisive majorities”? There’s not a single reputable poll that shows that happening.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2022, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    If wishes were horses…

  2. gVOR08 says:

    That it’s not going to happen doesn’t change the fact that the countries in deep shit if it doesn’t happen.

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  3. Scott says:

    Seems to me that we are closer to 1858 than 1866.

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  4. Jen says:

    there’s simply zero chance of this happening.

    The one thing I learned in electoral politics was to not make declarative predictions with no wiggle room. However unlikely, there’s always, always the potential for a black swan event.

    That out of the way, I sincerely doubt that we’re looking at a Democratic wave event. I’ll be thrilled if Dems hold the Senate and limit losses in the House.

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  5. Kathy says:

    I’m still concerned about the accuracy of electoral polls, given the degradation of the data available. You read all the time how fewer people answer telephone polls, the main source of data, that it’s hard to believe they’re getting accurate numbers.

    Perhaps we can trust more on historical trends and recent developments. That is, the party holding the white house tends to lose seats in the midterms, and the current economic conditions and Biden’s drop in popularity indicate the expected loss of seats may be bad.

  6. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Generically and broadly speaking, yes, a loss of seats is expected in the midterms for the party that holds the White House.

    However…we elect people in districts, and each case is different. Chris Sununu decided to run for reelection as governor rather than run for the Senate, which he could well have won. Instead, in NH the Republicans are running a bit of nut, which makes it more likely that Hassan will win reelection.

    When you add in all of the local stuff that gets sopped into races, plus the anger of overturning Roe, plus a huge element of who knows, it’s hard to predict. Even the weather can have an impact in the midterms–these are typically lower turnout races, so garbage weather (strong storms, snow, or hurricane remnants) can depress turnout. This isn’t just a factor for older people (many of whom don’t care to drive in bad weather) but also those who wait to vote on the way home from work (traffic delays can prevent them from getting to polls on time).

    It really can be a bit like interpretation of a Ouija board.

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  7. Modulo Myself says:

    I’m trending into negativity regarding the polls and have a sinking feeling the NY-Gov race will be very close, and if that’s true, the Dems are trouble in Pa and Ga for the Senate.

    In NY, the entire governor’s race seems to be about whether or not you believe NYC is a hellhole last seen in Taxi Driver and Death Wish. No one actually acts as if it were, at least if you go by the skyrocketing rents. But that’s not the issue. You get to vote against the Democratic elite who are telling you that you are a suburban hysteric for being terrified. And overall, nationwide the same thing is happening with the border and gas prices and inflation. The whole stunt of DeSantis’–which is essentially the only Republican policy–revolves around an overdetermined state of mania about this stuff, and the symbolism of standing up against people who are not as hysterical as you.

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  8. JKB says:

    (The two political parties have long since flipped political and ideological roles.)

    I love these little asides that are necessary when advocating for the party with actual physical slavery, segregation and Jim Crow apartheid roots.

    Of course, even now the advocates cling to this now flipped description from 1910:

    “The protection of the rights of the individual—of the free American citizen—is the very reason for being of the Democratic party. That party favors the individual—just as the Republican party favors the capitalists, and the Socialist party, as I shall try to show you, only the office holder. At least, those who are not office holders will, under Socialism, have the hardest kind of a time.”

    With Democrats now favoring the “Robber Barons” of social media and Silicon Valley as well as the office holders over the individuals or those who work in the material economy.

    In any case, if there is a surprise coming, it will be in favor of Republicans as it is likely after Biden’s Red Speech that many who will vote Republican won’t reveal such to some random caller so pollsters are likely undercounting Republican support

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  9. Jen says:

    @JKB:

    I love these little asides that are necessary when advocating for the party with actual physical slavery, segregation and Jim Crow apartheid roots.

    Party with these “roots” > Party that is currently okay with these ideas.

    Seriously, it IS worth examining what is going on when Republicans are espousing anti-free market ideology, protectionism, pro-Putin nonsense, and opposing voting rights.

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  10. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    I love these little asides that are necessary when advocating for the party with actual physical slavery, segregation and Jim Crow apartheid roots.

    Which party now has people waving the symbols of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow?

    It might be worth poking your head out of 1905 von Mises books and looking around at that next century.

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  11. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    I’m still concerned about the accuracy of electoral polls, given the degradation of the data available. You read all the time how fewer people answer telephone polls, the main source of data, that it’s hard to believe they’re getting accurate numbers.

    2016, 2018 and 2020 polling underestimated Republican strength.

    On the other hand Democrats have been over performing in special elections, and no one expected the Kansas referendum to go firmly pro-choice.

    Polls may only be good for measuring direction these days, and even that limited to some subset of who they would contact. I’m not up to cautiously optimistic, but things could be a surprise.

    A polling crisis (and that’s basically what it is, as old methods are breaking down due to tech and societal changes) coming at the same time the Republicans are trying to undermine confidence in democracy is very unfortunate timing though.

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  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen:

    Seriously, it IS worth examining what is going on when Republicans are espousing anti-free market ideology, protectionism, pro-Putin nonsense, and opposing voting rights.

    Sure. But if he does that, how is he going to put all of his Ludwig von Mises quotes in service for the GQP?

    And to JKB, a really appallingly low energy effort today. Very sad. And an unnamed source from 1910? [sigh]

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  13. Gustopher says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I’m trending into negativity regarding the polls and have a sinking feeling the NY-Gov race will be very close, and if that’s true, the Dems are trouble in Pa and Ga for the Senate.

    If Walker wins, I hope he gets some really nice committee assignment. Something high profile. Judiciary, maybe?

    If we’re going to be living with him, I just want the humor of him asking a Supreme Court nominee “what is your stare decision?” or some other butchering of Latin into English.

  14. wr says:

    @JKB: “I love these little asides that are necessary when advocating for the party with actual physical slavery, segregation and Jim Crow apartheid roots.”

    Of course if you really believed this is what the Democratic party stood for, you’d be a Democrat… In fact, the only reason you think it’s fun (or whatever) to describe the way this party was a century ago is because you know it will annoy contemporary Democrats who despise all these things… unlike you, who cheer them on.

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  15. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    And to JKB, a really appallingly low energy effort today. Very sad. And an unnamed source from 1910? [sigh]

    What I find offensive is their assumption “these people are as stupid as I am.”

    But they make a good case for a downvote option.

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  16. Just nutha says:

    @Kathy: I hadn’t looked at it from that viewpoint. Good observation!

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  17. al Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    I love these little asides that are necessary when advocating for the party with actual physical slavery, segregation and Jim Crow apartheid roots.

    Yes, the past 50+ years of the national Republican Party adopting a ‘Southern Strategy’ and becoming the preferred party of Southern White voters, and the party of openly supremacist White voters throughout the country is really nothing. Just a little historical aside.

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