Why 2022 isn't Joe Biden's win
Don't overread the election cycle and try to apply it to 2024.
In the wake of every national election, the search for meaningful and novel narratives usually lends some tendency to over-interpret the results.
But as the dust clears on the 2022 midterms and the takeaways continue to pile up, don’t mistake the cycle for what it wasn’t.
2022 was, at is core, a rejection of radicalism. A rebuffing of election denialism and menaces to democracy. A spurning of extreme abortion limitations. A snubbing of celebrities (see Oz, Dr and Lake, Kari…and soon, likely Walker, Herschel.) And yes, a gentle pumping of the breaks on Washington’s spending excesses (don’t forget, Republicans took the House by cobbling together wins in liberal New York) as we stare at a plausible recession entering the New Year.
It was the NON-change election; a vote to keep things normal, with both hands on the wheel and some moderating tweaks.
What it wasn’t, Democrats should understand, is a sweeping endorsement of Joe Biden’s presidency or a mandate for his re-election in 2024.
I can understand why those on the left might hope to think otherwise. Midterm elections are traditionally billed as referendums on the president, which is why the commander-in-chief’s party performs so poorly historically. They’re also media-driven expectation games and the fact that Democrats did indeed lose the House has been masked somewhat by the slow-motion way Republicans retook the lower chamber.
If I was aboard Team Biden, I too would be taking the opportunity to swagger. The president escaped what historical trends said should’ve been a political calamity. He surfed over the wave into a wash.