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More than four months out, anything can happen to affect the outcome of November’s elections in America. Nonetheless, I’ll stick my neck out now and offer some predictions.
The expected “red wave” will be massive, from Congress on down to the local level. Republican gains in the House (in Washington) will be 75 seats, minimum. The GOP will take the Senate by a margin of at least 53-47. It will pick up hundreds of seats in state legislatures. Democrats will fall like dominoes in one of the most powerful repudiations of an incumbent party in a century.
Whether you believe Republicans deserve such a victory or not, you have to be insensate to think the Democrats haven’t earned a good beating. The “progressive” agenda is a shameful disaster on all fronts, marked by indefensible hikes in crime, inflation, taxes, and debt. They’ve done nothing of consequence right. The President is a lying, incompetent dunce and his Vice President is a babbling nitwit; both are captives of the woke and brainless, hate-America Left. Their thrashing will be an historic joy to watch.
In American political history, major electoral wipeouts typically happen against the backdrop of at least one of the following conditions: an unpopular foreign entanglement, an economic downturn, reckless fiscal policies, or bigger-than-usual scandals in Washington. Arguably, all these factors to one degree or another are present this year.
We may not be in a conventional war, but memories of the 2021 Afghanistan debacle will still be fresh on the minds of voters who factor foreign policy into their calculus. Stagflation seems likely to be the best the Democrats can hope for when it comes to the economy, at the same time the clueless White House doubles down on remnants of its failed “Build Back Better” baloney. The fact that one party can get so much wrong and blame everybody for the results except themselves is a colossal scandal in itself.
Conventional forecasts for the GOP in the 2022 mid-terms range from a pick-up of 30 to 50 seats, so my projection of 75 or more is way outside the mainstream. But even 75 pales in contrast to what happened twice within the same decade, just 130 years ago.
The 1894 election was a whopper for party turnover. In a Congress with a hundred fewer seats than today’s, the incumbent Democrats lost 125 and the Republicans gained 130. The one issue on everybody’s mind that year was depression, heralded a year and a half earlier by the Panic of 1893. The party of President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat in the middle of his second (and nonconsecutive) term, took the heat for sky-high unemployment.
But just four years earlier, the Democrats nearly wiped the slate clean of Republicans. When the dust settled in the November 1890 mid-terms, Democrats had won an astonishing 235 seats in the House, leaving the Republicans with just 88. What was the number one issue of that campaign? Spending—reckless, feckless spending.
Grover Cleveland’s first term (1885-89) featured many battles with congressional Republicans over fiscal issues. A parsimonious Presbyterian who took his constitutional duties seriously, Cleveland vetoed more than twice as many bills as all of his 21 predecessors combined. “Though the people support the government,” he opined in a rejection of a measure to aid drought-afflicted farmers in Texas, “the government should not support the people.”
In his 1888 re-election bid, Cleveland won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College to Republican Benjamin Harrison. With a small GOP majority in the Congress, and a passive president who largely deferred to his party’s congressional leadership, the GOP spenders took the country on a grand ride.
What Democrat Grover Cleveland had vetoed, the iron-fisted Republican Speaker of the House, Maine’s Thomas B. “Czar” Reed, rammed through. The big spenders threw so much money at public works and military pensions that a new political insult was coined: the “Billion Dollar Congress.” It was the first time in American history that Congress spent a billion dollars in a single two-year session.
The first half of the Harrison administration (1889-1890) saw the Republicans not only breaking records for spending but they pushed the country off the deep end on other fiscal matters as well. They squandered a budget surplus, passed the highest tariffs to date, and put the federal government in the position of buying up nearly the entire annual output of the country’s silver mines for twice what the metal was worth. They also authorized the printing of a new paper money to help pay for it all. In massive numbers, voters repudiated the Billion Dollar Congress on November 4, 1890.
Big electoral wipe-outs demonstrate that Americans don’t much care for wars in faraway places, a sagging economy, spending and taxing binges, or politicians otherwise behaving badly. They’ve been known to turn a party out of power for perceiving it guilty of just one of those sins. If voters this November see the Democrats as presiding over all four, a new benchmark in political history may be set.
Democrats seem worried about their prospects this fall, but they should be terrified. It makes me wonder if they are so insulated that they’re underestimating the depth of the drubbing they’re destined to take, or they’re quietly confident they can cheat and steal in enough places to minimize their losses. You may have heard the old line, “When he was alive, my dad voted straight Republican. Since he died, he’s been voting straight Democrat.”
In any event, don’t put anything past a party that believes power is more important than either truth or freedom.
I’ll let Republicans make their own case. I’ve been disappointed in them enough times to know they rarely offer a true or radical alternative that they’ll follow through with. So I won’t tell you “Vote Republican.” That’s for you to decide. You should at least know which party NOT to vote for.
Raise your hand if you plan to vote Democrat. Now slap yourself. If you’re still asleep, slap again.
Lawrence writes a weekly op-ed for El American. He is President Emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in Atlanta, Georgia; and is the author of “Real heroes: inspiring true stories of courage, character, and conviction“ and the best-seller “Was Jesus a Socialist?“ //
Lawrence escribe un artículo de opinión semanal para El American. Es presidente emérito de la Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) en Atlanta, Georgia; y es el autor de “Héroes reales: inspirando historias reales de coraje, carácter y convicción” y el best-seller “¿Fue Jesús un socialista?”