Earlier this month, the Kluge Center brought two experts on US politics and elections together for a conversation on what to expect in November from the dozens of competitive House and Senate races across the country.
In the interest of taking a closer look at these down-ballot elections, the Kluge Center brought Julia Azari, recent Kluge Distinguished Visiting Scholar as well as Associate Professor and Assistant Chair in the Department of Political Science at Marquette University, and David Wasserman, House Editor of the Cook Political Report, into conversation with Kluge Center Director John Haskell, for a virtual event: Beyond the Presidential Election: The Battle for the House and Senate.
Azari spoke about the possible change in dynamics caused by the fight over filling former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat, saying it could increase the salience of issues related to the court that were otherwise not very prominent in congressional races. Abortion, civil rights, and voting rights are all topics she expected to become more relevant, amplifying the trend in American politics where voters consider national issues first when voting for Senate and House races.
Wasserman talked about the balance of power in House of Representatives. Democrats are likely to increase their current majority in the House, he said, by as many has high single digits. Last year, Republicans were considered likely to gain seats and move the House towards a more even party split. Wasserman cited a number of problems Republicans face in winning seats in the House, including a large number of Republican-held seats being open, an advantage for Democrats on fundraising, and Republicans losing popularity in second-order suburbs like those around St. Louis, Cincinnati, and San Antonio.