I am long extremely skeptical of electoral analysis as a field within political science, simply because there just isn’t enough data over a close run of time. So the historical comparisons between elections tend to move into meaningless because the historical context between data points is just too vast and thus not properly accounted for.
So this is interesting, right?
In 1934, no Democratic senators lost re-election. But since 1934, every president, Democrat and Republican, has seen at least one senator from their party lose re-election in every single midterm cycle. Biden becomes the first president since FDR not to lose a single senator.
— Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) December 7, 2022
Kinda, it is interesting. Seems odd. But what can explain this. Well, an immediate response to Rubaskin noted that no Republican incumbent senator lost either.
In other words, we can say that this was a good night for Democrats, but we can say with much more certainty that it was a massive failure in Beltway coverage because they have their narratives and they aren’t moving from them. But I don’t think there’s much to take from election night except to say that in this incredibly polarized nation, the vast majority of races are not going to switch no matter what happens at the presidential level anymore. The number of swing states has been reduced to a sliver of America and while those can switch, the age of 15 Senate seats and 100 House seats changing is long over.
I am obviously thus glad that Democrats held onto the Senate and even won a seat. But it should be noted that the number of incumbent senators who lost was zero and that’s all about the polarization (and to a certain extent terrible Republican candidates, thanks Trump!). But it’s hard to feel good about Montana/Ohio/West Virginia in 2024, even if Biden wins by 5 points or something.