Ronald Brownstein: Why 2022 May Bring a New Peak of Political Instability

This is what interests me.

Is it possible to break out of the stalemate in the Senate like we have seen happen over the last year on the Supreme Court and pass major legislation through Congress?


“The modern period of Congressional elections arguably began in 1994, when Republicans captured both the House and Senate in the backlash against Bill Clinton’s chaotic first two years. That ended an era in which Democrats had held the House majority for 40 consecutive years, and controlled the Senate, usually by wide margins, for all but six years over that long span. …

Aggressive GOP gerrymanders partly explain that difference in the House. But that doesn’t fully explain the GOP’s House advantage and it isn’t a factor at all in the party’s Senate edge. Instead, the Republican Congressional success largely reflects geographic and demographic limitations of the Democratic coalition that almost certainly will be evident again this week. …

If anything, the Democrats’ geographic challenge is even greater in the Senate. A dominant trend in modern US politics is that both parties are winning virtually all the Senate seats in states that typically support their presidential candidates. The challenge for Democrats is that, despite their repeated victories in the popular vote, slightly more states reliably lean Republican than Democrat in presidential races. Democrats already hold 39 of the 40 Senate seats in the 20 states that voted against Donald Trump both times (Susan Collins in Maine is the only exception). But 25 states voted for Trump both times, and they provide Republicans an even larger Senate contingent, with the GOP holding 47 of their 50 seats. Democrats have squeezed out their precarious 50-50 Senate majority only by capturing eight of the ten seats in the five states that flipped from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020 (Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia).

This geography is what makes this week’s Senate elections so crucial to Democrats. This year’s key races are occurring almost entirely in states that Biden won, albeit mostly narrowly, with Democrats defending seats in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado and Washington, and targeting Republican-held seats in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (With longer odds, Democrats have also mounted serious challenges to Republicans in Ohio and North Carolina, two states that twice voted for Trump.) Given that map, Democratic strategists recognize it’s critical for the party to expand, or at least maintain, its Senate margin now.

After this year, the Senate terrain will rapidly become more foreboding for Democrats. In 2024, they will be defending all three of the seats they hold in the two-time Trump states (Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Jon Tester in Montana), as well as seats in half a dozen other swing states that could go either way in a presidential contest (including Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.) If most of the toss up Senate races fall to the Republicans on Tuesday, those gains, combined with the 2024 map, could put the GOP in position to dominate the upper chamber throughout this decade. “If Republicans take the Senate, I don’t see in our immediate lifetime how Democrats are going to take back” the majority, says Doug Sosnik, a senior White House political adviser to Bill Clinton. …”

As things stand today, the way the system works is that both parties pass their agenda in the House and only bills that can be pushed through budget reconciliation or survive a filibuster become law. John McCain singlehandedly killed the Republican attempt to appeal Obamacare. Joe Manchin singlehandedly killed most of Biden’s agenda. Narrow Senate majorities ensure that nothing much ever happens. The cycle of trench warfare and backlash politics in the midterms always tosses out the party in power.

If the Republicans got to 60 votes in the Senate though (enough to overcome a Democrat filibuster) with a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, it is conceivable that the cycle could be broken. State legislatures could pass laws on controversial issues to test the waters at the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade has already gone down and affirmative action is poised to go down next. That’s one way to break the gridlock. The Supreme Court could also strike down the Voting Rights Act and return power to the states to control their own elections. This would enable Jim Eagle states like Georgia to destroy Democracy as libtards understand it by tightening up who is eligible to vote which would also help to end the stalemate. The most likely path out of the gridlock though is that progressive activists continue to take such toxic stands on polarizing cultural issues that they undermine and splinter the Democratic coalition which in the long term is unable to effectively compete for power in the Senate, Electoral College and Supreme Court.


  1. I have to give credit where it’s due. The conservatives, who are normally cowards and compromisers, overturned Roe v. Wade in a very short period of time, encountering virtually no organized resistance from powerful and well-entrenched shitlibs. Can they do the same with “affirmative action”, gun control and homo “marriages”? Can they actually give more power back to the states, as was the expressed wish of the Framers? Or will they cuck in the face of fierce and hysterical opposition?

    Yes, I shall voot on Tuesday because I know it will make liberal creeps like Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow enemy howl with impotent rage.

  2. “Is it possible to break out of the stalemate in the Senate like we have seen happen over the last year on the Supreme Court and pass major legislation through Congress?”

    An example of “major legislation” I’d like to see would be a law prohibiting the banning of businesses or individuals (both of which are considered “persons” in the eyes of the SCOTUS) from banking, commerce, and employment, or the boycotting thereof, on the basis of politics or any constitutionally protected speech. Another would be a tightening of laws against entrapment. Yet another would be laws with severe penalties for investigating or otherwise targeting U.S. citizens without probable cause, not the mere suspicion, a crime has been committed. Finally, federal officials charged with crimes that affect the citizenry should be tried by a jury selected from around country, not from that bog of bias known as Washington, D.C.

  3. Unless the Republicans find a way to fumble the ball and God knows they are creative at doing precisely that, then Romney will lose his seat in Utah and McConnell will retire before he loses his primary in KY. He almost lost the Republican primary in 2020 if not for Trump’s stupidity in endorsing him. If Trump takes back the presidency in 2024, I cannot see him making the mistake again.

    In spite of calls to defund and eliminate the FBI, I don’t believe that the Republicans will do that. Already, we are seeing whistle-blowers come out of the FBI’s woodwork and Heaven only knows what kind of compromising blackmail material the FBI has on many Republican candidates even the MAGA candidates. So I think the upper echelons like Christopher Wray and his cronies will get the axe and more discreet agents who can at least pretend they are less partisan will take their places.

    Part of me is hoping that after years of dealing with the sleazy corrupt antics of the Clintons, the Pelosis, and the Bidens that a Boy Scout Republican Congress isn’t a hill that most of their voters want to die on. After all, we’re not electing these people to run our churches. I don’t care what they do with consenting adults in their down time as long as they are discreet as long as they discharge a right wing agenda for a change.

    In the meantime, if people are fed up with the Democrat Woke Party, we should see even if we have to pressure both houses, a huge Democrat majority in the House and possibly a filibuster-proof Republican Senate majority even with a Biden WH. It’s time for them to impeach the DHS Secretary Majorkas and Merrick Garland as well as Biden. That will leave Cackling Kamala “Heels Up” Harris in the presidency, but in the wake of such a purge, her administration will be too knee-capped to do much. If she’s smart, she’ll take any incentives offered not to run in 2024. I guess they’ll advance Gavin Newsom, but he’s wrecked California and I don’t see him winning.

    Otherwise, the only way the Democrats could hold onto the WH with such a huge Republican majority … which will only increase in 2024 … is if some sort of Black Swan event is staged that suspends all elections altogether. Not sure if it doesn’t happen this year, but we will see what we will see. BTW, an Arizona resident told me she saw a news blurb announcing that Katie Hobbs won the AZ gubernatorial by 57 percent …. ten days ago.

    I was wondering why they had some journactivist go to AZ and ask all these Republicans if they would accept their certain defeat this year instead of continuing to deny the 2020 “landslide” that put Joe Biden into office. I thought that was rather interesting. There is a quandary being exposed here. The Democrats plan to cheat again, but they don’t know how to do it in such a way that gives them plausible deniabilty; they’ve pissed off too many people. But then, God knows, they have the audacity to attempt it again anyway.

  4. “….Is it possible to break out of the stalemate in the Senate like we have seen happen over the last year on the Supreme Court and pass major legislation through Congress?…”

    Absolutely 100% and we don’t even need anything but a majority to do so. As I’ve said over and over we can overturn the illegal court decisions and the fact that Congress can set the qualifications for voting and for their members means we can crush the Democrats mobocracy. Their constant mass immigration could be thwarted, stopped and they could say that none of these people can vote. At all. I cover this in stupefying detail in this comment and links from it.

    We don’t have to put up with this and if we can get the right people in we can throw the Jews right out of the country and take back what they used the FED to steal from us.

    “…The Supreme Court could also strike down the Voting Rights Act and return power to the states to control their own elections….”

    “F” the supreme court. We don’t need them to overturn anything. The Congress can tell the supreme court what they can rule on. All we need is decent congressmen. That’s it.

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