By Milo Mandelli-Valla
New York City, New York
In the 2020 election cycle, Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives, took the White House with Joe Biden, and claimed the Senate in January 2021 with the Georgia runoffs.
Democrats have touted these accomplishments and are using their majority to push through their agenda. The democratic majority raises the stakes for the Republican Party in 2022, as they seek to take back Congress and prevent what they see as an overly expensive agenda. Democrats have until 2022 to pass legislation that increases healthcare coverage, raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and rebuilds America's infrastructure. But, if they hold onto their majority, they will be able to accomplish even more.
The House seems to be where Republicans are most likely to create gridlock in Washington. In 2020, Republicans unexpectedly managed to take back many seats in the House. Republicans hope to keep that momentum going in 2022, by addressing Biden’s inflation issues, immigration, and crime rates in liberal cities where the movement to defund the police is prevalent. Biden’s approval on these issues has rapidly declined, according to Forbes. According to poll analysis website FiveThirtyEight, Republicans will likely dominate the House in 2022, which would be enough for them to stop the current liberal agenda.
The Senate has been more difficult for Democrats in Washington thus far, as there is a 50-50 split, with Vice President Kamala Harris responsible for the tie-breaking vote. In the 2022 Midterm elections, there are a few key races, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, and North Carolina.
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are part of the “Blue Wall” in the Midwest; Joe Biden won both states in 2020 after Trump claimed them in 2016. In Wisconsin, the incumbent is Republican Ron Johnson, who has a long list of Democrats lining up to challenge him. The DNC’s frontrunner, Mandela Barnes, is running on a farther left agenda than others, similar to that of Bernie Sanders. Johnson currently seems likely to hold that seat.
In Pennsylvania, a Democrat will likely be elected because the Republican incumbent, Pat Toomey, is retiring from office. Democrats are leading in fundraising but Republicans hope that GOP frontrunner Kathy Barnette does enough to rally the Trump base. Trump is planning rallies in critical Senate states, and the former president’s support could be the wildcard in this race.
With Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina retiring, the door is wide open for many candidates to fill his place. North Carolina has been tantalizing Democrats for years, as Republicans win the state only marginally in every election. The Republicans are likely to keep the seat, with Ted Budd the frontrunner after Donald Trump endorsed him. Budd is running with a conservative platform on immigration, First Amendment rights, and the economy. Here too, Trump’s decision to hold rallies in the state could be critical for the GOP.
The state of Georgia is also up for grabs. Just two years ago the runoff elections recorded the most money ever spent on Senate races. Democrats won both races by slight margins, but incumbent Raphael Warnock will be challenged in 2022 for his seat. Warnock beat Kelly Loeffler in 2020 in a very tight race. Georgia has also recently passed voter integrity laws, made to prevent voting without showing ID, in order to limit fraudulent votes. Herschel Walker, a former NFL player, is ready to challenge Warnock after getting an endorsement from Trump. Walker has not entered the race officially. Gary Black, a long-time Georgian known for being very tough on opponents in his advertising, is another candidate in contention for the seat.
The Senate seems like a tossup in 2022, while the House seems well-positioned for Republicans to take control. The battle has become clear; it is the Republicans seeking a foothold against Democrats determined for continued control.