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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

What are some key ingredients for a wave midterm election, beyond powerful historical trends? A dissatisfied electorate. An unpopular incumbent president. An enthusiasm gap. As we enter the summer months, the 2022 cycle is checking all of those boxes. According to the RealClearPolitics average, fully 70 percent of the country believes America is on the wrong track. Washington, DC, is controlled by Democrats. President Biden's overall approval rating is floating around 40 percent, underwater by double digits. On the economy, he's in the 30s, with his disapproval hitting 60 percent. This review of recent history – which is accurate, give or take a seat or two – suggests that pain awaits the ruling party: 


Republicans are barely in the House minority as it is, having gained 14 seats in 2020, so their floor is higher here than what wave-riding parties have experienced in several of the previous examples. In other words, there's less low-hanging fruit on the board heading into November. The GOP is expected to win 20-35 seats as things stand, with the Senate looking like a pure tossup. One factor that continues to cut in their favor is the third metric mentioned above: 

If Republican voters are more energized, that translates into a turnout advantage. Turnout is everything. And even if independents aren't thrilled about voting, if they're breaking for Republicans (which polling demonstrates they are), that would be a politically-lethal combination for the party in power. And on issue after issue, the face of the Democratic Party is struggling mightily, even on issues Democrats think might help them: 


Twenty-eight percent approval on inflation. It's similarly dreadful on gas prices, for very understandable reasons

Of course, it's true that no president is fully responsible for inflation or gas prices, high or low. Many contributing elements of those phenomena are out of politicians' control. But Biden's policies have very much fueled the problems on both fronts, via reckless and wasteful inflationary spending, and "comprehensive hostility" to domestic energy production. Things are going poorly enough that Biden cabinet secretaries are struggling to come up with answers to questions, not unlike the tongue-tied White House Press Secretary: 

Does...anyone buy this? We were on the brink of a possible depression when Biden took office, last January? The administration inherited three COVID vaccines and an economy waiting to rebound. GDP growth increased by 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, then jumped an additional 6.3 percent in Q1, as Biden took office. Gas prices were half of what they are now. Inflation was a non-factor. Buttigieg expects voters to be grateful for all the "progress," or whatever, that's been made? Yikes. Then there's this


Here we have the Commerce Secretary going out of her way to say that she has nothing to do with the administration's response on the baby formula crisis, though she hilariously adds that she thinks they're doing a bang-up job of it. The White House has claimed that they've been all over the issue, 24/7, since it first arose. The Wall Street Journal was writing about it in January, before the Abbott recall. The president just admitted that it wasn't on his radar until April and that no one told him how serious it would be, even after that was readily apparent in February. This all constitutes excellent work, for which voters should be thankful, we're told. That posture doesn't seem to be working. See above. I'll leave you with this

Ahead of another weekend trip to Delaware, President Joe Biden remains on pace to spend more time away from the White House than any of his recent predecessors. Biden will head to Rehoboth Beach on Thursday evening to one of the two homes he owns in his home state. He spent more than a quarter of his first year in office in Delaware, typically on weekends, and has continued that trend in year two...Ahead of this weekend's trip, Biden has spent an estimated 188 full or partial days away from the White House, with 130 spent at his Delaware properties, 52 at Camp David, and six in Nantucket.


Make it 192, since that paragraph was published. No one should begrudge a president some downtime. It's a stressful job. But Biden has a knack for pushing ahead with beach weekends even when the optics are downright terrible. His call. 

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