It’s looking like this might just be the 2023 -2024 Congress makeup……
The New Yorker games it out for now….
Thanks to an improved electoral landscape for Democrats generally and some unfortunate GOP candidate selections for the Senate specifically, the odds of Democrats hanging on to control of the upper chamber have improved significantly of late. At present, FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 63 percent probability of maintaining a Senate majority when Congress reconvenes in January 2023.
Democratic odds of winning the House again have also improved but not enough to make it a good betting proposition: FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans a 78 percent probability of flipping the House, as one would expect in a midterm with the party controlling the White House holding a narrow four-seat majority. On the three occasions since World War II when a president’s party has lost less than five House seats in a midterm election (1962, 1998, and 2002), the president’s job-approval rating was over 60 percent. While Joe Biden’s approval rating has finally stopped dropping and is slowly improving, he’s miles away from that kind of popularity. This means the fragile governing trifecta Democrats held during Biden’s first two years in office will soon come to an end and, as in 45 of the 77 yearssince World War II, we will have divided government in Washington. So what will that be like?
In the previous century, when the country was less ideologically polarized, presidential parties could often assemble bipartisan coalitions even without a governing trifecta. But in recent decades, particularly with the rise of the Senate filibuster as a routine obstructionist device, divided government has often meant gridlock and discord. The 117th Congress of 2019 to 2020 provided a good example. It began with the longest government shutdown ever, the GOP-run Senate became a machine for approving Trump’s judicial nominees, and the Democratic-led House absorbed itself with Trump investigations, culminating in impeachment proceedings. There was little legislative activity until the COVID epidemic exploded and the White House and Congress were frightened into enacting the $2 trillion CARES Act.
The next two years probably won’t be as wild a ride even if the midterms deliver a divided Congress, but here are some factors we can anticipate with some surety….