2018 was a great year for Democrats, with several rising stars elected to the state legislature.
This is the first election in which “rising stars”, who are not afraid of Donald Trump, will be running. In a Republican year, many of these candidates face tough re-election prospects, against highly-qualified, well-funded GOP candidates in swing areas that could easily turn red in November.
Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are just two of the candidates being closely monitored by Democrats in their respective states to see if they are up for a step up.
However, Democrats’ “Class 2018” is in danger. They face a difficult midterm climate in battleground areas, with some districts made more difficult by redistricting while others are a shade better. They are now being weighed down by historical precedent and presidential approval ratings. This is in contrast to the 2018 election when they worked in their favor. This is a chance to show their strength and build their political careers. However, it’s also an important moment that could throw many off their course.
These Democrats will be facing headwinds for the first time in this election. It’s crucial because, even if they are considered to be running in a safe district, in the wave elections that may be upon them, there is no “safe chair” unless the member runs unopposed.
While it is more difficult for incumbents to be reelected, it is possible. These 2018 Democrats also have their advantages, especially when it comes to their ability to raise large sums of money.
Members of the class of 2018 have a number of political advantages, including the ability to raise large amounts of money from small-dollar donors and do so quickly. They created the “green wave”, which saw record-breaking online donations for Democrats in the Trump years. Small-dollar donors drove seven-figure quarterly fundraising hauls that were unprecedented for such a large group of first-time candidates.
This strength has not diminished over the years: 15 of the 25 highest-ranking Democratic incumbents thus far in this cycle were elected in 2018.
These Democrats have a major weakness and it all starts with the great, big, blue D after their names.
“2022 is 2018 reversed.” It’s a referendum about the president’s approval and in many ways, voters are even angrier in 2018,” stated Corry Bliss who was the leader of the Congressional Leadership Fund 2018, the most prominent House Republican super PAC. “Despite spending years blaming Donald Trump and pretending not to be Democrats, the 2018 class are actually Democrats. They now have voting records.
Redistricting will snag at most a half-dozen seats from “rising stars”. This is going to hurt others in their races. This happens every election cycle when swing districts are up in the air.
This time, the electorate is much angrier than in 2018. Economic conditions are worse. We will see how many of these “rising stars” have failed to materialize in November.