Category Archives: 2022 election

the next two years

Last spring, I noted that my own predictions for US politics had been badly wrong. I doubt that anyone was interested in the reliability of my crystal ball, but it can be useful to lay out one’s own expectations, test them against reality as events unfold, and then reflect on why you were right or wrong.

In that spirit, I currently expect Republicans to win the House–and quite likely the Senate–and to sweep more really extreme characters into state and federal office. I think the outlines of current federal policy will then remain basically unchanged, because Biden will be able to veto Republican bills, and the House GOP has a poor recent record of even mustering the votes on its own side. There may, however, be hair-raising showdowns over the debt limit and annual must-pass appropriations.

State policies will vary, with red states and blue states heading in opposite directions on abortion, policing, climate, education, and other key issues.

The Supreme Court will probably ban the use of race as a consideration in university admissions. That will not only have a major impact on who attends college (which is the main issue) but will also begin a deluge of litigation to investigate and alter pervasive practices within higher education. Documents will be subpoenaed; people will be deposed.

The Supreme may also gut the Clean Water Act and could decide Moore v. Harper in a way that allows legislatures to override the’ decisions in presidential elections, which would throw the 2024 election into grave question.

We are headed into a recession. That will cause social needs and dissatisfaction to rise and tax revenues to fall.

The probability of an international crisis is reasonably high, not only in Ukraine/Russia but also China/Taiwan and Iran. Justice may prevail in each of those cases, but the risks to the people of those regions and the world are serious.

At home, we will see more frequent acts of overt political violence and perhaps some really major politically motivated crimes.

Trump will be running for president, first unofficially and then as a declared candidate. He will easily dominate the GOP primary. Meanwhile, there is a substantial probability that he will face at least one criminal proceeding. He will use his prosecution as evidence of persecution by his political enemies.

Echoing the Clinton and Obama years, the new Republican majority will grow rapidly unpopular. Biden’s popularity will be suppressed by the recession but boosted by his opponents: Trump and the Hill GOP. Democrats will help to amplify the most extreme Republican voices. Biden will poll ahead of Trump through most of the 2024 election season, but there will be a real possibility that state legislatures and the US House will overrule the voters, especially if the Supreme Court exempts legislatures from judicial review regarding elections. Certainly, Trump will pre-announce that he cannot possibly lose, and a fair number of Republicans will echo that claim. I believe there would be resistance within the GOP, but that would be an intra-party struggle that would make everyone else into bystanders.

(By the way, if I did the math right, then according to the Social Security Administration’s actuarial tables, there’s a 73% chance that both Biden and Trump will still be alive in 2025, and a lower chance that both men will be healthy enough to serve.)

My predictions may be too pessimistic. Last time, I was overly positive. Regardless of how things play out, I’d offer two thoughts about addressing our situation.

First, a lot more Americans should be learning specific skills for organized nonviolent civil resistance. I am not arguing that nonviolence is morally superior or preferable in all situations. I do believe that only large-scale movements that are predominantly nonviolent will be relevant and plausibly effective in defense of democracy in the United States at this point. Here are few resources for learning. I am actually quite optimistic that the American people will prove hard to dominate and will resist effectively, but skills will help.

Second, we may have opportunities to build a better system, not merely preserve a flawed one. For instance, the Supreme Court has already played a problematic role in our government, and a crisis may be an opportunity for basic reform.

To take one example of a very bad-case scenario: Biden actually wins more Electoral College votes than Trump does in 2024, but several state legislatures award their votes to Trump, and the House certifies him as the president. That would be the beginning, not the end, of a chapter in American democracy. The end would depend on us.

See also: how I misjudged our moment; time again for civic courage; how to respond, revisited; reforms for a broken Supreme Court; etc.

Challenges Reported by Candidates for Local Office

Newly published: Peter Levine & David Abromowitz, “Challenges Reported by Candidates for Local Office,” State and Local Government Review (2022). Available behind a paywall: or in page proofs as open access here.


A survey of 711 candidates for local offices in the United States, conducted in December 2021, reveals that many were concerned before they began their campaigns about the impact of politics on their work and family, the time demands of campaigning, their ability to raise funds, and their knowledge of the process, among other obstacles. Many candidates who had anticipated each concern found it less onerous than they had expected. Those who were parents, those with full-time jobs, and those who had experienced poverty as children were especially likely to have difficulty meeting work and family obligations while campaigning. Being liberal, being young, having less education, and experiencing poverty in childhood were all associated with concerns about being qualified to run. The study offers additional details about which backgrounds and experiences are associated with specific challenges in local campaigns. The results may inform efforts to recruit and support underrepresented candidates.

Table 6 (“Predictors of Concerns”) summarizes some key findings. It is based on statistical models that account for other factors.

Our paper is an example of Civically Engaged Research (CER) in political science: “an approach to inquiry that involves political scientists collaborating in a mutually beneficial way with people and groups beyond the academy to co-produce, share, and apply knowledge related to power or politics, contributing to self-governance.”* David Abromowitz is a leader of the the New Power Project, which is “uniquely focused on recruiting and empowering values-driven individuals who have grown up in marginalized or underserved communities” to run for office. David approached me with the idea of conducting a survey of current candidates, drawing the sample from BallotReady. We designed the survey instrument together. I crunched the numbers, addressing David’s queries as well as my own. Our article illustrates that civically or community-engaged research is not always qualitative or hands-on. Although we statistically analyzed an anonymous survey, our collaboration was essential, and the results should help the New Power Project while contributing to the scholarly literature.

*Rasmussen, A., Levine, P., Lieberman, R., Sinclair-Chapman, V., & Smith, R. (2021). Preface. PS: Political Science & Politics, 54(4), 707-710. doi:10.1017/S1049096521000755. See also: civically engaged research in political science; engaged theory and the construction of community; how to keep political science in touch with politicsmethods for engaged research.