There Will Be a Shift After November, We Just Don't Know How Yet

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

Will there be a red wave, or will Democrats hold the line nationally come November?

Either way, there’s going to be a seismic shift in American politics, though it might seem subtle because we’re already in the midst of it.

November will come with the long-awaited results at all levels of government, but most will only really be paying attention to the House, Senate, and gubernatorial races. There are three main possibilities, and two of them entail what would likely mean a major shift in what it means to be a leader in the Republican and Democrat parties for years to come.

Scenario 1: Republicans sweep at all levels

If Republicans knock it out of the park in November and manage to obtain safe majorities in Congress, conservatives will consider it game time for accountability on the Biden administration. Make no mistake that the incoming freshman class will want to make their voices heard loud and clear, and they and vocal Republicans will happily investigate and block any legislation or wrongdoing that comes down (or has gone down) the Biden and Democratic pipeline.

At the state and local levels, be prepared for there to be some rapid changes in areas where seats flip. Many Republican candidates have said they’ll work to counter the president on issues, which will be something to watch when considering the actions being taken in state legislatures and governors’ offices. Will they be able to live up to their promises given the difference between state and federal powers? Stay tuned.

In addition, education is an increasingly hot topic, so if more “parents first” candidates are elected to school boards, be prepared for local news to quickly shift to the changes they’ll be working toward. It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic brought greater attention from parents to what children were being taught, so it will be interesting to see if any school boards completely flip conservative or have a less powerful liberal/progressive majority.

Scenario 2: Democrats hold or gain ground

For starters, if Democrats hold the House and gain territory in the Senate, it’s probably game over for the filibuster. Prepare for any agenda items held up by Sens. Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin’s reluctance to scrap the Senate procedure to make their way onto President Joe Biden’s desk. In this case, the seismic shift will come from policy, which has already given Americans whiplash in the past couple of years.

Some Republicans may feel called to reflect on nominees at all levels, and there will be a debate on whether or not it was a good move for Trump-backed or heavily supportive candidates to have won their primaries. It’s unlikely that this debate will result in any tangible outcomes for the 2024 election.

Scenario 3: Republicans narrowly win Congress, overall have a slim victory

While Washington is already gridlocked, this scenario is pretty much more of the same. If Republicans do narrowly flip the House and Senate, this should be enough to hold up the Biden agenda, but nobody should expect sweeping change to come to the swamp. It’s essentially the same pickle that Democrats are in now.

However, the more interesting shifts in the third scenario come at the state and local levels. Any situation where a governor differs from the state legislature or another major state-level official could lead to more friction than before. This friction could result in moderate policy frameworks or plain gridlock, depending on how stubborn the politicians are.

With a little over a month out until election day, it’s important for people to understand that change is coming. Voters should understand the broader implications of how they vote at all levels of government, especially in these highly polarizing times.


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