Primary elections in Alaska and Wyoming are today–another five more states have primaries by Sept. 13.
Even with state primaries pending, pundits are speculating about general election races in November. The president’s party usually loses Congressional seats in the off-year and Biden’s popularity is low, so Democratic weaknesses loom large, especially the staying power of COVID. the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, and price increases.
It doesn’t seem to matter that, since April, deaths from COVID-19 have been just 20% of the February peak. Or that the 2,500 military troops in Afghanistan when Biden was inaugurated were nowhere near enough to protect thousands of non-military personnel from advancing Taliban troops. Heroes managed to airlift 48,000 individuals out through a single airport in nine days.
And just how much did prices increase during July? Zero. The drop in the 12-month inflation rate fell from 9.1% to 8.5% because energy prices fell more in July than other prices increased. Since Idahoans haven’t yet seen gas less than $4 a gallon–the new national average–we can be sure some states are suffering less from inflation than we are.
And the latest Democratic weakness? FBI confiscated 15 boxes of highly classified material from the basement of Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago. Supposedly, this attack on a former president is heightening Republican unity and destroying Democratic chances in November. It hurts even to imagine that evidence of espionage by the former president makes some even more devoted to him.
Yet, after nine public hearings by the January 6 committee, YouGov’s Weekly Tracker indicates Trump’s popularity has fallen by less than 1%.
Of course, we won’t know if Trump’s strength heightens the chance of Republican victories until after ballots are cast Nov. 8.
Democrats are encouraged by recent developments in Kansas. This state, where Trump beat Biden by 15% in 2020, was evenly split, pro-choice and anti-abortion, in a Pew Research Center poll released in July. Just weeks later, Kansas voters defeated an anti-abortion-rights amendment, 59% to 41%.
Some believe that the Supreme Court decision allowing states to outlaw abortion will heighten unity among pro-choice Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. Yet, voting for an issue does not always affect who one votes for. Many Idahoans voted for Medicaid Expansion and for an anti-public-healthcare Republican in November 2018.
Yet, Democrats do have much going for them–last month 528,000 more jobs were added to the economy and unemployment fell to 3.5%. And that’s with the Federal government spending just 20% of what it had spent while fighting COVID and recession in 2020 and 2021.
And, in the last few weeks, Democrats managed to get a number of bills passed that were both needed and popular. The PACT Act, covering medical conditions for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, is labeled a bipartisan act, but some veterans won’t forget that 44 Republicans voted July 27 to block bringing the bill to the floor. (Idahoans shouldn’t forget that our senators–as well as our representatives–voted against the bill every time.).
The CHIPS and Science Act will provide $52.7 billion to boost the U.S. production of semiconductors so necessary to the American military and businesses. (Again, all Idaho Congressmen voted against it.)
And the Inflation Reduction Act will promote green energy, extend the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, allow Medicare to negotiate prices of medicine, improve the enforcement of tax laws and reduce the deficit by $300 billion. It will be financed by having corporations making $1 billion or more in income pay a 15% minimum tax and by taking stock buybacks at 1%.
Not one Republican voted for it.