DANIEL VAUGHAN: Republicans poised for a big Red Wave election

It’s election week, and all signs point to a Republican wave. Democrats are sending out all the big guns to the campaign trail, from the Obamas, Clintons, Bidens, and even Oprah. The problem is that these big guns are campaigning in places like New York and Illinois, Democratic strongholds. Democrats are campaigning like they’re on the defensive because they are: a big Republican night is on the way.

Midterm predictions trend Republican.

My view is that Republicans walk away with four Senate seats, taking them to a 54-46 seat majority and between 30-40 House seats. I also expect Republicans to maintain a large majority in the number of legislatures and governorships they hold.

I’m not alone in this view. In its final estimate, the Cook Political Report shifted its expectations in the Senate from a neutral environment with no changes — an evenly divided Senate, to a Republican lead. Cook now projects Republicans to win at least three Senate seats for a 53-47 majority.

RealClearPolitics has shifted their Senate projections to 54-46, in line with what I expect. The Economist and FiveThirtyEight are more conservative but still expect Republicans to take a majority in the Senate. A House majority is all but a given for all these sites.

The rosiest of scenarios for Republicans could take them from the stratosphere to outer space, where they win five Senate seats, giving them a 55-45 majority. The odds of that happening are slim but possible.

Republicans hold the lead on the generic ballot in all the polling averages. That’s important because since 1994, in every election where Republicans had a lead on the generic ballot, they gained seats in both the House and Senate. We should also expect Republican generic ballot support to be understated in polls. An average two-point polling error in Republicans’ favor turns a red wave into a tsunami.

Inflation is the number one issue.

The reason Congress is flipping parties should be evident to everyone. Americans are dealing with raging inflation at 40-year highs, weakening economic conditions, high-interest rates, and many other issues ranging from crime to education system failures. Republicans are hammering all those issues, while Democrats want to discuss “threats to democracy.”

You don’t have to take my word for it. Take the word of Democrats, who pushed through massive spending that fueled inflation.

On July 26, 2021, NBC News journalist Jonathan Allen wrote an analysis piece that went through Democratic plans. The main takeaway? “Inflation doesn’t matter.” Allen added, “That’s the message Democratic leaders are sending as they try to push more than $4 trillion into the economy.”

Speaking of Democrats, Allen wrote: “In effect, they are making a bet that Americans will reward them for the benefits of their spending plans rather than punish them for inflation that might not last as long.”

Allen added another point on Republicans: “But what top Democrats are really saying, at a time when Republicans warn that a record infusion of government spending would hypercharge inflation, is that short-term price spikes aren’t relevant to their attempts to expand the role of the federal government.”

Democrats fail to see the problem.

It turns out inflation was not transitory, Democratic spending did matter, and Democrats ignored the warnings from Republicans and left-leaning economists like Lawrence Summers. We’re here because Democrats made policy decisions that backfired. The economy is in a bad spot because of progressive legislation.

And now, voters get to make their voices heard on those policies.

That’s not the only reason people are mad with Democratic policies. You can look at education, crime, and other social issues and find other voters. The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial races flipped to Republicans on education alone. But the overriding issue driving this election is — and always was going to be — inflation.

Three weeks ago, NBC News reported: “Democrats struggle with message on inflation in final midterm push.” Further in the article, “‘What is our message about why inflation is going to be worse if Republicans win?’ Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told NBC News in an interview. ‘I don’t think our economic message has been loud enough or sharp enough.'”

It’s the economy, stupid.

Now, here we are on the doorsteps of the midterm elections, and not a single Democrat can tell you their message on inflation. It’s only the number one overriding issue for most voters, and Democrats haven’t cobbled together a single, coherent message on how they’ll fix things.

If we’re being brutally honest, Democrats seem surprised anyone thinks inflation is an issue. That’s a sign of how out of touch they are as a party. You didn’t have to be an economist to see inflation coming. Democrats not only didn’t see inflation coming but also refused to acknowledge it existed as an issue until they got to the midterms and started scrambling.

That’s not to say Republicans have the solution to everything. But they are talking about issues that matter. Democrats are not. You get points for at least talking voters’ language.

Is it possible polls are wrong, and Democrats outperform what we’re seeing now? Sure, that’s always possible. And if it does, the soul-searching in the polling industry will be apocalyptic. But electoral fundamentals told us long ago this would be a Republican year.

The difference is that poor governance by Democrats has turned a stereotypical midterm into a red wave moment. Democrats chose this path, and now we get to see the fruits of their labor.