Will the 2022 midterm election hinge on inflation and crime?
“Will Gas Prices Tank Electoral Prospects for Democrats?” queried Sasha Abramsky for The Nation today.
In the wake of this week’s happenings, it might be a question worth asking.
In spite of President Joe Biden’s best efforts to convince key U.S. oil supplier Saudi Arabia to increase production, OPEC instead announced a cut in production this week.
“Turns Out Biden’s Empowering of OPEC Was a Really Bad Idea,” concluded David Harsanyi for Real Clear Politics, echoing the general sentiments of the entire Republican Party and certain progressive members of the Democratic Party.
Progressives can lambast OPEC’s decision as helping Russia, but such sentiments are unlikely to alter the unfortunate decision, or the price of gas, one penny.
Coinciding as it does with heightened tensions with Russia, a strategic oil reserve which has already been tapped, and recent moratoriums on domestic production, OPEC’s cut in production doesn’t bode well for keeping gas prices down ahead of the election.
America is bracing for the impact of another wild ride on the rollercoaster of skyrocketing gas prices.
Nor is it a situation, as some progressive press outlets have proposed, where higher gas prices, like higher prices for cigarettes, will help push the public in the direction of giving up such a filthy habit.
Unlike tobacco products, the entire U.S. economy is built on petroleum; every product we buy is shipped- in some cases vast distances, thanks to a glut of globalization- via petroleum-dependent methods.
As a nation, we are no longer manufacturing all our essentials right here at home- and we haven’t for a long time, so there aren’t any more producers closer to the consumer end point to reduce shipping costs.
Nor are electric cars a panacea; most of the electricity currently running the U.S. power grid is still generated by burning fossil fuels, namely coal, natural gas, and petroleum.
In addition, as Germany is about to demonstrate to its cost, vital energy imports, and where a nation gets them, is a national security issue.
Domestic oil production, the U.S. can do. For electric cars, the Chinese Communist Party ultimately holds the purse strings. The entire industry hinges on a choke-point of batteries and rare earth materials over which the Chinese government has complete control. This is not a happy accident, but rather the result of a carefully orchestrated insurance policy for when China invades Taiwan. There was a battery arms race. China won.
So with the price of gas almost sure to rise, the job market cooling faster than last month’s job report, layoffs beginning, and inflation squeezing the working class as never before while mainstream media outlets whistle past the graveyard, the party in control of the government- fair or not- may get the blame at the ballot box this November.
That is, if the polls can be believed, which is a big if. Then again, if pollsters are still under-sampling Republican voters, which they likely are, things are looking even worse for Democrats.
If the polls are to be believed, crime is another rising ill omen casting a shadow on Democratic Party prospects this season.
What roll did long-term public school closures play in the rise in crime taking place across the U.S.? It might be years before all the data is in and we get a definitive, irrefutable answer.
In the meantime, the rise in crimes committed by young adults and minors is responsible, in large part, to the rise in crime overall. If we agree as a society that an educated public is more peaceful and prosperous- which we do, as we’ve been funding these schools with our tax dollars for decades now- we must accept the opposite is also true: An uneducated public will be more inclined to poverty and criminality.
Possibly as a result of rising crime in New York, the Republican challenger to Democratic incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul is within a staggering two-points of catching up in the polls.
Unfortunately for Governor Hochul, and certainly for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), a man rushed the stage during one of Zeldin’s campaign speeches and attempted to stab him.
Zeldin’s attacker was immediately released from jail under New York’s recently-relaxed bail laws, though the suspect was later arrested and charged with a federal crime for attacking a sitting U.S. Congressman.
But Zeldin’s campaign commercial practically wrote itself: “The man who attacked me with a deadly weapon was re-arrested by federal authorities after being immediately released by the state of New York; what happens to the person who tries to stab you?”
In crime-besieged Chicago, while the warning of myriad Chicago CEOs go unheeded by the Mayor, Tyson Foods has become the latest in a long line of companies to exit the Windy City, which is starting to look more and more like Motor City Detroit by the day.
From California to New York City, voters living in major metropolitan areas who are experiencing a rapid-onset increase in violent and property crime are expressing essentially the same sentiment: “In, [insert city], it used to be that everyone knew someone with a crime story; now, everyone has their own.”
Some of those stories are truly heartbreaking; increasingly, they are also hitting closer and closer to Democratic Party headquarters. From home robberies to carjackings, high-profile members of the Democratic Party have been the victims of serious crimes themselves in recent months. Crime and violence have a tendency to make voters more conservative.
“A conservative,” as some have joked, “is a liberal who has been mugged.”
The U.S. electorate is undoubtably in for a wild ride over the next month, with an October surprise likely planned every single day like some terrifying advent calendar counting down to election day.
Anything could happen, but unless something happens soon, and heavily favors progressives, the Democratic Party might be in deep trouble this November.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)