Takeaways From Tuesday’s Elections

Nov 3, 2021

The off-year elections for governor in Virginia and New Jersey tend to receive outsize attention, and the results are mined for deeper meaning about what they portend for the midterm elections the following year that determine which party controls Congress.

Here are some key takeaways from Tuesday’s elections:


Democrats’ worst fears are that they’re on course for a 2010-like drubbing in next year’s midterm elections and that they can’t use the specter of former President Donald Trump to stop it.

Those fears got a lot stronger after Republican Glenn Youngkin won the governor’s race in Virginia.

President Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 percentage points just a year ago, and if Democrats cannot generate more enthusiasm than their gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe did, they’ll likely be swept out of power in Congress.

In Virginia, governors are limited to a single term and elections are held in odd-numbered years, making it the go-to gauge of voter sentiment before midterms. It usually is a warning for the party in power in Washington and this year was no different.

McAuliffe, elected Virginia governor in 2013, was unable to excite voters amid significant headwinds facing Democrats, including Biden’s drooping poll numbers, the congressional stalemate over the president’s economic agenda and the persistence of the pandemic.

Democrats have only a five-vote margin in the House and a single-vote margin in the Senate. Historically, the party in power almost always loses seats in Congress. But if 2022 nationally is anything like Virginia 2021, Democrats will lose a lot more than normal.


It’s still 12 months before Election Day 2022. While Tuesday’s results hold some clues as to what might happen, they are merely clues.

The two biggest drags on Democrats currently are the persistence of the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain problems that have pushed up prices. Both could improve over the next 12 months, potentially bolstering the incumbent party -- or they could worsen.

There are signs Democrats could pass Biden’s infrastructure and social safety net legislation soon. Most Wall Street forecasts call for robust growth next year.


Read the full article from the Associated Press here.