Economic challenges have created a major midterms obstacle for Democrats: low Biden approval ratings. While the United States isn’t the only country experiencing high inflation, it’s higher in the United States than other major economies.
The $5 trillion stimulus package gave consumers money to spend during the early pandemic shutdowns. But American businesses were still struggling with pandemic restrictions and supply chain disruptions. As businesses raised prices to counteract the high demand of American consumers, prices rose enough for American consumers to notice.
Historically, the president’s party loses seats in the midterms. With an especially unpopular Democratic president, a 2022 red wave seems inevitable.
However, rumors of Donald Trump’s early announcement of his 2024 presidential campaign could change midterm outcomes. Trump’s bombastic campaign style could allow Democrats to shift focus from economic issues to Trump. It also distracts Republicans who benefit from the economic challenges under President Biden.
Why Trump Would Launch his 2024 Campaign Early
The January 6 hearings have brought serious criminal allegations to light about Trump’s direct involvement in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. They’ve revealed Trump’s knowledge that his January 6 rally could become violent and that he planned to march to the Capitol with supporters who he knew were armed and “not there to hurt [him].“
As a presidential candidate, Trump could hijack the news cycle like he did during his 2015 campaign and first presidential term. Controlling the news cycle helped him weather his many scandals. It may not distract legislators, but it can distract voters who are inclined to view him positively.
But the benefits of an early announcement overwhelmingly accrue to Trump. He risks galvanizing young Democrats whose low midterm turnout benefits Republicans. Getting those young voters out would cushion Democratic losses during the midterms. It probably won’t keep Democrats from losing House seats. But it could give Democrats a boost in key Senate races.
Whatever its impact, Trump’s early campaign announcement will change midterm strategies for both parties.
Biden Approval Ratings vs. Anti-Trump Sentiment
Trump has upended many political norms, and he’s continuing to do so out of office. Most early presidential bids are announced the summer before the presidential election. Trump’s possible announcement in the fall would be over half a year earlier than usual. That could prompt other early presidential campaign announcements. It could also rally Democrats and derail Republican strategy enough to buck decades of voting patterns.
But even Trump’s early presidential campaign may not be enough to deliver the Senate to Democrats. Even if Trump dominates the news again, consumers will still feel the impacts of inflation at their grocery stores and gas stations. Many voters will still attribute those price changes to Biden’s administration, and that will impact many votes. Democrats won’t be completely free of low Biden approval ratings.
The 2020 Senate race will be a close one. But however the votes come out, the strategy to get to the end result will change the moment Trump announces his presidential campaign. Even a year and a half out of office, Trump is not done upending political traditions in the United States.