The 2022 elections are shaping up to be on par with a presidential race, as partisan anger is driving high turnout amid concerns the soul of the nation is on the line for the next two years – and beyond.
Pre-election political violence. Worries about intimidation of both voters and elections officials. Expectations that some candidates won't accept the results and will seek to overturn them. High turnout, record campaign spending and massive advertising outlays. Oh, and which party will control the House and Senate next year.
It doesn't get more dramatic than that for a midterm election next Tuesday that is shaping up as a series of contests on par with an American presidential race. With denial of the 2020 election still prevalent – and the investigation of events related to the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt ongoing – the 2022 midterms are merely a bridge, and not a breather, before a 2024 presidential contest experts fear could be even more combative than the last one.
"In a typical midterm election, the question is who will control Congress for the next two years," with voters commonly slapping down the party in power and forcing a party realignment in the legislative branch, says Matthew Hall, director of Notre Dame's Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy.
"In this election, when you have substantial numbers of (candidates for) Congress, secretary of state, governor and attorney general openly saying that they don't believe the results of the last election and are willing to use their power, if elected, to subvert the next election, we're not talking about the next two years. We're talking about whether democracy effectively ends in two years."
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