The 2002 Midterm Election cycle is one of the most iconic ever as Democrats managed to stay even with Republicans despite the 40-year midterm trend for first-term presidents, inflation, gas prices, Biden’s low approval rating, and overall public discontent.
The GOP, of course, is shocked and dismayed; especially given all of the strict voting laws they enacted after the 2020 elections and MAGA’s increased policing of polling processes this year. It’s no wonder Republicans were confident they’d dominate their foes.
So why did Democrats resoundingly crush red-wave expectations?
Perhaps our relatively new approach to voting is the biggest reason.
Remember years ago? Practically every able-bodied American either set aside time to vote in person on Election Day or didn’t vote at all, and we didn’t think twice about it. And while mail-in voting was an option in most states, few knew much about it or used it.
But these days, voting by mail and early in-person voting are en vogue. And it all started with COVID in 2020 when Americans, for health reasons, were encouraged to vote early to avoid crowds or mail in their ballots. And since then, it’s no secret that Republicans are far more likely to vote in person on Election Day while Democrats are more likely to vote in early in person or mail in their ballots.
Perhaps, for an entire generation and unbeknownst to us, our voting processes prior to 2020 favored Republicans because we generally voted in person on Election Day.
COVID has undoubtedly reshaped where we work and how we shop … And, yes, how we vote.
Will Republicans have difficulty keeping up with Democrats going forward? And will the GOP attempt to do away with or severely limit processes that make voting easier and more convenient for so many Americans?