Currently, 50 senators boast an R after their names, while the House counts 221 Democrats and 211 Republicans; the three vacancies will probably leave the final total at 222 to 213. This is, as they say, a close-run thing.
Redistricting in the next two years will advantage the GOP. The Senate map is tougher for Republicans in 2022: With Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) retiring, Pennsylvania will be hard to hold. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) is a good successor in waiting in Wisconsin if Sen. Ron Johnson departs as expected. Ohio will stay red, though Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is stepping down. Democratic incumbents have their own challenges, not least of which will be the Solyndra-like fiascoes and other wasteful boondoggles that will inevitably emerge from the $1.9 trillion bailout that just passed the Senate.
Most people in both parties assume that President Biden will not be leading the Democratic ticket in 2024, so there will likely be a nasty battle to replace him on the Democratic side. Whether Donald Trump runs again, it is easy to see a contest forming between New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Maryland’s Larry Hogan and the quartet of Harvard Law School-trained hopefuls: Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) as well as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo.Yale Law’s Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will be in this same lane of Ivy League lawyers and fierce debaters.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley are also probable entrants, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) could surprise and jump in. This is a strong field and a deep bench for a party that is supposed to be dead.
Former president Donald Trump complicates the picture. If he ran as a third-party candidate, he’d surely hand the White House back to the Democrats, but that’s an unlikely scenario. He could have an outsize influence on who is the nominee, and his personal favorites are probably Cotton, DeSantis and Pompeo. Whether the rift between Trump and the former vice president mends, Mike Pence will be in the mix as well.
The GOP has been in stronger positions, but this is no crisis. The cries of “the Republicans are doomed” mostly come from pundits or disaffected Republicans whom Trump exiled. The corrupt and now exposed Lincoln Project took out one tribe of anti-Trumpists, but many of great character and intellect remain, talking to each other and very few other people. The center-right and old right are simply angling for position while facing a new order, a different coalition of voters and a set of issues defined by the rising menace of the Chinese Communist Party.
The test of a good analyst who is also a partisan is whether he or she can fairly and succinctly state the argument of their opponent. A journalist pretending to be objective has to be able to state both cases. In part because the supply of good pundits of the left or competent journalists who are genuinely detached has run almost to empty, we are left with an endless loop of Republicans-in-crisis nonsense.
And it is nonsense. Look at the current breakdown; the Democrats’ hold on power is razor thin. Redistricting will narrow it further, as will the inevitable midterm losses for the party that holds the White House.
Had Trump won in 2020, the GOP would be facing exactly that scenario now and most likely a disaster. Now Democrats are losing sleep over what is shaping up to be short-lived “total control.”