June 17, 2024

the midterms go so goes 2024

Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932
As the midterms go, so goes 2024
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
          WASHINGTON — The outcome of two races will tell America if there is a blue wave or a red wave – or no wave at all – when the wins and losses are tallied in November. If Democrat Tim Ryan defeats best-selling author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” J.D. Vance, for a Senate seat in Ohio, it will be an upset. It will mean the Democrats are having a great night.
          On the other hand, if former television anchor Kari Lake defeats Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs for governor in Arizona, the win would signal a big night for Republicans. Lake is an election denier who says the 2020 election was stolen from the former president, and, further, she will not accept her own defeat if the Arizona vote count goes against her.
          If elected, Lake would have significant sway over the 2024 elections, how they are conducted and how the votes are counted. She has made it clear she would be ready to implement the strategy endorsed by Donald Trump and his allies to send a slate of alternate electors to Washington if she disagreed with the outcome of the race in her state.
          The latest polls in Arizona indicate a close race, essentially a toss-up between the two candidates.
          In Ohio, Ryan and Vance are locked in an equally tight race in a contest that most observers thought would be an easy win for Vance. But the author turned Silicon Valley investor has had a challenging time returning to his Ohio roots, displaying unease on the campaign trail and the Trump cult of personality.
          At a rally in Ohio, meant to highlight Vance, Trump led attendees in what was billed as a QAnon anthem. Supporters raised their arms and pointed skyward. According to news reports, Vance did not want Trump campaigning for him, so the former president was sure to tell the crowd, “J.D. is kissing my ___ he wants my support so bad.”
          Democrat Tim Ryan, elected to his tenth term in the House in 2020, represents Youngstown, a working-class community, where he has been the voice of the forgotten middle class for 20 years in Washington. He has differed with his party on trade and other issues and led an effort to replace Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic leader after the 2016 election.
          Pelosi handily defeated him, but his willingness to oppose her has been a useful talking point in Ohio, a state that has increasingly moved rightward in recent elections. The state’s senior senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, is a positive role model for Ryan as a Democrat who can still win statewide in Ohio as a champion for working people.
          The outcome of these two vastly different races will tell a lot about what is ahead for both parties, and for their standard bearers. If there is no wave, meaning neither party gains a definitive edge, then it’s back to candidate quality, and the difference the right candidate can make.
          The candidate factor is most evident in the Pennsylvania Senate race, where Trump endorsed Dr. Oz, a much weaker candidate than his primary rival, David McCormick, would have been. Democrat John Fetterman has the edge, and if he wins, it would be a pickup for the Democrats. Whether it constitutes a wave is debatable given the weakness of Trump’s handpicked candidate.
          Further, the Trump endorsed gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, is over the top in conspiracy theories, and headed to likely defeat.
          Either way, Trump will be reading the results closely, very closely, because if enough of his candidates are defeated, he will be unlikely to mount another run for the presidency. Trump once said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and he wouldn’t lose a single vote. That may be true, but he wouldn’t gain any either. So, as the midterms go, so goes 2024
          See Eleanor Clift’s latest book Selecting a President, and Douglas Cohn’s latest books The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency and World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers).
          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn
          © 2022 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

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