WASHINGTON – Prepare for a busy political year – and possibly a fleeting year.
Political campaigns in 2022 will determine control of Congress and the offices of major governors, the political power of President Joe Biden and the continued influence of former President Donald Trump, as well as voting rights, LGBTQ rights, abortion rights and all other disputes. occur over the next ten months.
Nationally, Republicans are preferred to regain control of the U.S. House, in part because the president’s party tends to fare poorly in midterm elections. This year, it is the Democrats, who are also disadvantaged by new plans to redistribute Congress after the census, who in several states favor Republicans.
“Historically, in a president’s first midterm election, his party will lose seats,” said Jessica Taylor, Senate and governor’s editor of the Cook Political Report.
More: Can he recover? Joe Biden faces new dangers over Joe Manchin and the rise of COVID-19
Democrats have a better chance of retaining control of the U.S. Senate, analysts said, because some Trump-backed Republican candidates may have trouble winning nationwide races, even with the poor overall political climate for Democrats.
“For me,” Taylor said, “it comes down to climate vs. candidates.”
The nation’s political struggles will unfold throughout the year, with some landmark events already to be seen. Although schedules may change, potential turning points include:
Anniversary of the uprising (Jan. 6)
Selection January 6: Body cam shows first-hand experience with troublemakers
Footage from DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone’s body camera shows first-hand experience of the Capitol riot on January 6th.
Associated Press, USA TODAY
A year after Trump supporters invaded the United States, the Capitol, in an attempt to stop the counting of the electoral votes that elected Biden to the presidency, some Democrats are expected to argue that the violence was only a preview of things to come.
More: Timeline: How the storm of the American Capitol unfolded on January 6th
Among their concerns: Trump supporters are seeking to install like-minded Republicans in legislative assemblies and state election offices across the country, potentially making it easier to overthrow elections in the future.
Trump, meanwhile, says he will hold a “news conference” on Jan. 6 to once again make false allegations of “voter fraud” – a theme he wants Republicans to repeat through the 2022 election year.
Biden’s State of the Union (late January or early February)
The president’s annual speech to a joint session of Congress gives Biden an unfiltered opportunity to present the democratic cause to millions of Americans (and voters).
Biden and the Democrats could use all the help they can get. The bid’s approval ratings average a little more than 40%, and as often mentioned, a new president’s party does poorly in the midterm elections.
Conservative Political Action Conference (24-27 February)
The nation’s most conservative political candidates and activists gather in Orlando for a conference designed in part to refine election strategies.
A potential speaker: Trump, who spoke at two CPAC conferences in 2021.
It was at this event in Orlando in 2021 that Trump promised to defeat Republicans who supported his federal lawsuit over the January 6 uprising or otherwise opposed his efforts to overthrow Biden’s election. This theme will run throughout the 2022 campaign.
More: At the CPAC, Donald Trump is targeting the Republican Party of Liz Cheney and Mitch McConnell
Texas primary election (March 1)
As it turns out, Texas will host this year’s first party primary election, contests that will say a lot about Republican unity and Trump’s influence.
Governor Greg Abbott, despite his push for new restrictions on abortion and voting rights, faces a bunch of conservative challengers, making him potentially vulnerable to a departure on May 24.
The value of a Trump approval is also on the Lone Star State poll. Incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton has Trump’s support, but is being challenged by George P. Bush, the nephew and grandson of former Republican presidents, and prominent Conservative Congressman Louie Gohmert.
(The new Texas redistribution plan is the subject of lawsuits, and the courts may delay the primary one. This has already happened in North Carolina and may happen in states like Pennsylvania.)
Another big primary day: Pennsylvania and North Carolina (scheduled for May 17)
Two more states on the battlefield that could end up in control of the U.S. Senate have primary elections on the same day.
Both states have open and competitive Senate races for seats being vacated by Republicans, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Richard Burr in North Carolina.
Both parties have crowded Senate primary elections in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where the survivors have advanced to a couple of the fall’s most watched contests.
More: Mid-term elections in 2022: The most interesting Senate races to see, from Georgia to Pennsylvania and Florida
Georgia Primary Election (May 24)
Georgia emerged from the 2020 election season as probably the most influential political state in the nation.
It was in Georgia that the Democrats won two Senate elections on January 5, giving the party control of a 50-50 Senate because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ authority to break ties.
One of those new senators, Raphael Warnock, is seeking a full six-year term, and his Republican opponent may be retired football star (and Trump supporter) Herschel Walker.
It was also in Georgia that Trump was caught trying to pressure Republican government officials to “find” him enough votes to win over Biden in the state. Officials’ opposition triggered Trump’s involvement in the 2022 election.
Now, Trump is supporting Republican challenger David Perdue, a former U.S. senator, against incumbent GOP governor Brian Kemp. Trump says Kemp and other GOP officials did not do enough to help him topple the election in Georgia.
More: How Stacey Abrams and Georgia have changed since her last candidacy for governor
The winner of a brutal and divisive Republican gubernatorial primary will have to run against former state legislator and suffrage lawyer Stacey Abrams, whose voter registration in recent years has made Democrats competitive in this Deep South state.
Supreme Court abortion decision (end of June)
The Supreme Court usually ends its terms by issuing a series of major rulings in June – and this year the series of major cases includes what numbers should be a landmark decision on abortion, making it a major issue in elections for years.
All sides are preparing for a Supreme Court ruling that strikes in 1973 Roe vs. The Wade abortion ruling, paving the way for states to further restrict or even ban the procedure.
More: ‘They could overthrow Roe’: The Supreme Court must hear argument in the hugely successful Mississippi abortion case
Democrats, who cite polls showing support for abortion rights, believe a world without Roe will favor their candidates. Republicans note that abortion opponents have nurtured the conservative movement for decades, and they will be encouraged by the prospect of more state restrictions.
Face-off in Wyoming (August 16)
A Republican primary in one of the country’s smallest states could be the biggest test of Trump’s influence.
Trump’s most high-profile Republican target is Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., The highest-ranking Republican who voted to put Trump on trial. Other Republicans in the House eventually voted to demote Cheney from her leadership job because of her continued criticism of the ex-president.
Now Cheney is being challenged by local lawyer Harriet Hageman, a former ally who now has Trump’s backing.
Early voting (September and October)
At least 43 states offer some form of early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It reports that “early voting periods vary in length from three days to 46 days,” and “the average number of early voting days is 23.”
Given Trump’s ongoing complaints about the 2020 election, the vote will be heavily monitored by both parties. Disputes can be expected.
Election day (Nov. 8)
With the rise in postal voting and the prospect of close races, it may take days before some elections are decided. There can also be countless protests.
While these and other events are predictable, political professionals also say that many races can be determined by unexpected events: a new COVID variant, a political scandal, a form of foreign policy crisis, or developments in the overall economy.
Charlotte Clymer, an LGBTQ political activist who said proposed laws attacking these communities will also promote turnout in 2022, said many results will be decided by things we do not yet know about.
“Every week in an election cycle is a lifetime,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”