Election Day 2022 has finally arrived, and Republicans are hoping it brings them back into power in one or both houses of Congress. As far back as two years ago, some in the GOP were already predicting a "red wave," and recent trends appear to favor that. Republicans have a two-point lead in the generic Congressional ballot, up five points from two months ago. Recent polls also show GOP candidates surging or taking the lead in close senate and governor's races across the country.
Nevertheless, some political experts urge a more cautious approach. "I always think it's a bad idea to say far out in advance, we have a wave coming, we're going to take 80, 100 seats, and so forth," says Rory McShane, Republican political strategist and analyst. "So I do think there was some unjustified hype early on in this cycle."
That said, McShane does think Republicans are in for a good day. "Kevin McCarthy is going to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives...Republicans will pick up the House, for sure," he tells KTRH. "I would not be surprised if it was a 10 to 20-seat gain, but ultimately I don't think it's going to be a 2014-sized landslide...I think we will make modest gains."
Modest gains would be enough. After all, the GOP doesn't need a red wave to take Congress. A Republican majority only requires a net gain of five seats in the House and one seat in the Senate.
McShane believes the ultimate question isn't how big the GOP will win, but what happens next. "Whether it's a tidal wave or a little east coast-style wave, Republicans are going to make gains," he says. "Does that then say to the Biden administration they need to adapt and change what they've been doing, or do they keep going pedal-to-the-metal...that's what will affect what happens in 2024."