Even though President Joe Biden insists he’s running again — and Vice President Kamala Harris insists they don’t discuss it, the will-he-or-won’t-he is already underway. (Check out Chris‘ great handicapping of the potential field of Biden replacements). Look for the chorus of commentators on the future and face of the Democratic Party to get even louder over the next year.
And then there’s former President Donald Trump. His toying with a 2024 run has essentially frozen the GOP field (though not everyone is deterred by Trump in a 2024 primary — ahem, Gov. Ron DeSantis). The former President still holds a firm grip on his party, with GOP candidates across the country denying that Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, meaning Trump and his big lie will keep their grip on the GOP.
4. January 6 aftermath
With 700 criminal cases, at least 50 sentences and likely more to come, repercussions for the January 6 assault on democracy continue to play out in court. And on Capitol Hill, efforts to investigate how the insurrection took place continue to ramp up. The approaching one-year anniversary of the deadly insurrection will also bring sharper focus.
The nation’s highest court enters 2022 with a solid conservative majority, pressure on Justice Stephen Breyer to retire so Biden can appoint a younger liberal justice (who Republicans have already vowed to blockade). During oral arguments on December 1, Chief Justice John Roberts floated an idea on abortion rights that would uphold a Mississippi 15-week ban and stop short of ending Roe v. Wade and abortion rights nationwide entirely, but it’s unclear if any colleagues would join him. Simmering concern over the court’s politicization, combined with blockbuster decisions on the horizon, all have the makings of an incredibly significant year for the Supreme Court.
In November, voters across the country will head to the polls in the first large-scale referendum on President Biden’s first term in office. And history tells us Biden’s current approval rating could spell absolute trouble for the Democratic Party at the ballot box. With a slew of high-profile Democratic retirements, it seems many are reading the writing on the wall. Will the steady stream of departures continue? And ultimately, if conventional wisdom holds (and Biden’s approval rating stays low) how large will the GOP’s margins be on Election Day?
1. Covid’s relentless impact
Covid-19’s ongoing grip on the world, and the latest Omicron coronavirus variant, have continued to affect nearly every aspect of life — and Americans remain divided over how best to respond. As the world enters year three of the pandemic, and Covid showing no sign of disappearing, everyone must grapple with this new normal.