Back in 1994, Republicans won a net of 54 House seats and eight Senate seats, marking a monumental shift in the country’s politics. Republicans need far less than that in 2022 to win majorities – a net gain of five seats in the House and a one-seat switch in the Senate would do the trick.
The signs of a major wave election for Republicans this year are there. Consider:
* Democratic retirements are through the roof. There are currently 29 House Democrats either retiring or running for other offices this fall, 11 more than for the Republicans. And a number of those Democratic retirements are in vulnerable districts.
* Democrats are, as McConnell noted, in charge of the White House and both chambers of Congress. Again, if past is prologue, that means voters will largely blame them for the problems facing the country.
Now, nothing in politics is a sure thing, especially with roughly seven months to go before the election. That’s especially true in the Senate, where races tend to be less buffeted by national winds than on the House side.
And McConnell is mindful that his party can still screw it up. “You can not nominate somebody who is just sort of unacceptable to a broader group of people and win,” he said Tuesday. “We had that experience in 2010 and 2012.” In those elections, McConnell added, Republican voters nominated “bizarre people … who could not win in November.”
“So far, I’m optimistic that in the places that are going to determine who the next majority leader is we are going to have fully electable nominees,” McConnell said. “Having a fully electable nominee is critical for the Senate.”