I have no idea what mood the electorate is in this year. We will find out in about forty-eight hours.
Disclaimer: Greenbean is a-political and has no favorites in these races. I am too pro-life to be a Democrat and too pro-immigration to be a Republican. My work as a pastor and spiritual leader is far more important than any of the work these politicians do. However, watching them and analyzing what happens can tell us a lot about the world around us.
Republicans are predicting a red wave. That would be the historical model, as the party out of power almost always wins big in the midterms. Democrats, though, seem just as convinced they will win where it matters. At least, that is what Twitter thinks. I am not sure either one of them is right. There is a lot of wishful thinking happening, and it is fueled by the echo chambers.
In a non-presidential election year, two things are hard to gauge: voter interest and poll accuracy. Voter interest is usually determined by turnout. So far, early voter turnout is as high or higher than 2020, except here in Texas where I live it seems to be lighter. Go figure. Already 35 million people have voted (I among them).
I suspect polls will become increasingly more difficult to run because the normal channel of gathering data — phone lines — is not trustworthy and the internet is overrun by bots and sycophants. This gives us that problem of feeling what the mood is. What is on people’s minds — inflation, gas prices, January 6, overturning of Roe v Wade, Donald Trump, Ukraine, the environment, college debt forgiveness? We just don’t know what issues will creep to the top when people actually step in to vote.
Caveats aside, though, time for some predictions. After all, that is the fun part. I would like to point here that I was incredibly accurate in 2020, predicting both Arizona and Georgia going Biden’s way (click here to read my near clairvoyance).
I would not be surprised if the Republicans regained The House and the Senate. However, I am predicting they only take the House. I think the Senate will stay blue, but just barely. Also, look for surprises. There are always surprises.
I say this, because there are four races that are close. By my math, the Republicans need to win three of them, with holds everywhere else. The four key races are:
- Arizona — Scott Kelly is trying to fend off Blake Masters. Kelly is the Democratic incumbent, and it is close, but my read on Arizona is that Kelly will hold.
- Pennsylvania — this is the most interesting one of all. Will voters go with Dr. Oz or someone who is clearly physically incapacitated? If Fetterman wins, it is a stinging indictment on the GOP in that state.
- Georgia — The preacher versus the player — Rev. Warnock is trying to hold off Herschel Walker. Walker is a train wreck of baggage, but this will test the hold former President Donald Trump has on the overall electorate. We know he holds the GOP, but the general election voter is the X factor.
- Ohio — J.D. Vance, of Hillbilly Elegy fame, is running against Uber-politician Tim Ryan.
In the Senate now, of these four seats, two are Democratic (Arizona and Georgia) and two are Republican (Pennsylvania and Ohio). These are all essentially toss-ups, and with four toss ups, fifty-fifty is a safe bet. The Republicans would have to win three of these. That seems a tough hill to climb. Not impossible, and I wouldn’t be surprised, but it seems tough sledding.
As an observer, there is something definitely going on here in the broader spectrum, particularly as it pertains to the Republicans: the celebrity aspect. Herschel Walker, J.D. Vance, and Mehmet Oz all three became famous and well known in areas of life outside of politics or policy. They bring name recognition more than legislative skill. Celebrity seems to be what motivates Republican primaries more than policies, a quality perfected by Donald Trump.
Now for a little hometown guessing. Texas is a red state. Perhaps the reddest of them all. It is bluish in the cities, but not blue enough to offset the large swath of population in the state which are pro-life, pro-border security, pro-carrying a gun wherever they darn-well please, to be blue. Beto O’Rourke has made a lot of noise, and Greg Abott has made everyone in Texas mad in the last eight years about one thing or another, but I don’t see many avenues for a Beto victory. I could be wrong, but I would be very surprised if he wins. Look for a third Abott term.
I also think incredibly slippery Ken Paxton will win. Texans just do not care about personal behavior or accountability as much as they do ideology.
The only key issue in Texas are those house races down near the border. There was a strong Republican turnout there in 2020, and we will learn if that was a anomaly or a trend.
You can bet Greenbean will have the popcorn popped and the purple Kool-Aid ready as he watches the results Tuesday night, but be ready for a long haul. We probably will not know all the results — especially in the House, for several days. It is a big country, and there are lots of votes to count.