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The Four Big Questions for the Midterms

Predictions for the 2022 elections and beyond.
January 13, 2022
Tim Miller's Predictions For 2022 Midterms And Beyond

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Steve Bannon: We’re taking 100 seats and we’re going to govern for 100 years.

Tim Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark.

All right, y’all, it’s officially year two of Biden’s first term.

Ben Shapiro: His attitude is obviously that he does not want to run again.

President Joe Biden: I’ve become a great respecter of fate in my life.

Dr. Evil: Uh-oh!

Miller: And you know what that means, right?

Snowbell (Nathan Lane in Stuart Little): I’m nervous.

Miller: 2022 will be all about the midterms.

Variety of people in snippets, including reporters and Professor Chang from Community: Midterms. Midterms. Midterms. Midterms. Midterms. Midterms.

Michael Jordan: Stop it.

Miller: So when it comes to the midterms, here are the big questions. One, can the Democrats get their agenda passed? Two, will Republicans try to pivot away from the Trump drama or double down? Three, who will end up winning the elections and take control of Congress? Four, will the result set up a Trump vs. Biden Granddaddy of Them All rematch in 2024?

So let’s whip out the crystal ball and start with what, if anything, will the Democrats pass this year.

Y’all, the internal Democratic slap fight is gonna get ugly.

Biden: The people want us to get things done.

Vizzini: I’m waiting!

Miller: And it’s gonna be up to one busy man to try to wine and dine all the different factions to hold it all together.

Sidetalk TikTok interviewer: What do you wanna tell ‘Joe Byron’ right now?

Man-on-the-street interviewee: Take me out to dinner.

Miller: ‘Byron’ and the Democrats are facing a ton of pressure to pass a voting rights bill and the trillion-dollar Build Back Better spending package. And right now, the Democrats don’t have the votes for either. Because (1) the filibuster requires 60 votes to pass voting rights; (2) Joe Manchin doesn’t want to be the tie-breaking vote on a big government spending bill, since he represents deep-red West Virginia; and (3) lastly, nihilist Republicans DGAF and aren’t even trying to negotiate.

Young AOC impersonator: My Green New Deal will cost, like, $93 trillion.

Sen. Joe Manchin: That’ll sell well.

Miller: These practicalities won’t stop progressives from just pretending that Biden can snap his fingers and make utopian socialism come to America. So expect the frustration to boil over.

Dewey: I want it! I want it!

Miller: My prediction: Joe Biden will find a way to pass a smaller version of BBB that focuses on helping working-class families.

Kip Dynamite: That sounds pretty good.

Miller: To do so, he’ll need to submit to whatever Country Roads Joe Manchin wants.

Next, will Republicans go full MAGA? Last week, I watched 16 painful hours of former Trump adviser Sloppy Steve Bannon’s podcast for an article in The Bulwark. And y’all, you will not believe the shit I saw.

Bannon: Trump won, Biden’s illegitimate.

Marjorie Taylor Greene: Our country is already gone. . . . It has to be torn down and start all over again.

Violet Chachki: No, no, no, no.

Miller: This wasn’t just some dirty old man with cirrhosis streaming live from his basement. Lots of supposedly “normal” Republican politicians were going on as guests. Why? As a GOP strategist recently told New York magazine, “if you’re not willing to go full retard in a Republican primary right now, it’s hard.” You see, the brainwashed voters who listen to Bannon’s show, which is one of the most popular in America, are not gonna let the GOP return to boring, vanilla, Mitt Romney types.

Mitt Romney: I’m concerned about the direction America has been taking over the last four years.

Dr. John Watson (Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes 2): Me too.

Miller: So my prediction, GOP continues to go full MAGA.

Fake-voiced Kermit the Frog: Of course.

Miller: And one of the crazy candidates they put up for Senate will make enough own goals to cost them the race.

Even faker Kermit the Frog: Mm, well, that’s good then, I guess.

Miller: So let’s go to number three. Who will win the midterms, overall? Even if the Democrats pass voting rights and BBB—

Sheldon Cooper: Unlikely.

Miller: —even if Republicans put up a bunch of freaks who are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, the Democrats are still forked in November.

Forky: Terrifying.

Miller: For starters, the party in power is always cursed in the first midterm. And the Democrats’ poll numbers are already dipping thanks to inflation and COVID and a worry that they’re going a little too far left. Here’s my prediction. Republicans take the House in a landslide while the Senate hinges on whether Republicans nominate candidates who are just a little crazy or totally batshit bonkers.

Billy the Puppet from Saw: Make your choice.

Lois Griffin: This is freakin’ me out!

Miller: So what does all this mean for 2024? If my predictions are correct, Trump will see a path to victory and announce he’s running.

Donald J. Trump: The country needs it.

Diane Nguyen: I don’t think that’s true.

Miller: Biden will then look around at the weak Democratic bench and decide he can’t risk letting Trump get back in, so he’ll run again too. And so we end up with an old folks’ home MMA rematch for the presidency.

And while I’m feeling hot, a bonus NFL playoffs prediction.

Ice King: Unexpected bonus!

Miller: On Saturday, my man Joe Burrow gets the Cincinnati Bengals their first playoff win since before text messaging was invented and the Chiefs meet the Packers for a Super Bowl battle between the quarterback with the cringiest TikTok brother and the quarterback with the cringiest anti-vax takes.

Ace Ventura: Super Bowl time.

Miller: See you next week for more “Not My Party.” And let me know what your predictions are for 2022.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.