Aug 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former Bill Clinton advisor Doug Sosnik outlines headwinds Dems face in 2022

A graphic showing net gain or loss by the presidents party in midterms.
Graphic: Doug Sosnik

Doug Sosnik — senior adviser to the Brunswick Group, and White House political director for President Bill Clinton — is out with a new deck, shown first to Axios AM readers, warning his party how hard it'll be to hang onto its House and Senate majorities in next year's midterms.

The bottom line: "With only two exceptions (1998 and 2002), the party out of power has picked up seats in every midterm election since World War II," Sosnik writes.

  • The last five presidents have lost Senate and House majorities.

Despite President Biden's strong first six months in office, "there are some signs that his support is beginning to soften," Sosnik writes.

  • Likely driven by fallout from the Delta variant, an ABC/Ipsos poll released July 25 found pessimism about the country's direction had risen 19 points since a May 2 poll (from 36% pessimistic to 55%).
  • "Crime is also on the rise and there are indications that the Republicans are making inroads with voters on their cultural war against the Democrats," Sosnik wrote.

Sosnik's note of hope for his party: Rely on Republican unpopularity.

  • He cites a Quinnipiac Poll of 1,290 U.S. adults (conducted by phone July 27-Aug. 2; margin of error: ±2.7) that found a 61% unfavorable view of Republicans in Congress. (It's 52% for Democrats.)
  • After record turnout in 2018 and 2020, the '22 midterms will likely hinge on which party can turn out their own voters.

Crazy stats, showing how few swing states/districts there are in polarized America:

  • "Ninety-four out of 100 Senators are of the same party as the Presidential candidate who carried their state in 2020."
  • "In the House 419 out of 435 members (96%) are of the same party as the Presidential candidate who carried their district in 2020."

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