Midterm elections: Inflation ‘is an X factor for Democrats,’ Yahoo News’ Jon Ward says

Yahoo News chief national correspondent Jon Ward joins the Live show for "The Biden Presidency: Year One" special to discuss the outlook for midterm elections, which issues lawmakers and voters will focus on, and party messaging.

Video Transcript

- Let's bring in Yahoo News Chief National Correspondent, Jon Ward. And Jon, we've always seen the pendulum swing back in these midterm elections. How big of a swing are we looking at?

JON WARD: Hey, yeah, I mean there is a lot of history behind this. You're right. We saw some of that swing already in Virginia last fall, with Glenn Youngkin winning the governorship in Virginia, and Republicans taking back half of the state legislature. I think the big question here is, can Republicans take back both the House and the Senate.

The House looks pretty gettable for them. It's a 10-seat differential. They only need to pick up 6, I believe. The Senate is close. Obviously, everybody, most people know that it's a 50-50 split. And Vice President Harris breaks those ties in favor of Democrats right now.

So Republicans don't need to win a lot of seats to regain the majority in the Senate. You know, one of the things Democrats have going for them is that all 14 of the seats they're defending went for Biden in 2020. So there are a couple of seats that are going to be tough for them to win.

But they also have some seats where they could potentially pick up what has been a Republican seat. So, yeah, it's looking undoubtedly like a Republican wave. That's kind of a foregone conclusion. But I think the question is how big, and how much Biden and Democrats can recover between now and this fall.

- Jon, talking about recovering between now and the fall, the perceptions don't necessarily mirror the facts on the table. So if you're a candidate who's running, say, for a House seat, you know what they're going, the opposition, if you're a Democrat, is going to throw at you. How do you respond to it?

I mean, defund the police is going to get thrown at some of the candidates. How should the Democrats respond?

JON WARD: Well, I mean, if we're talking about House races, those are always pretty specific to the district. Senate races are more statewide, more nationalized. You know, I think one of the big things Republicans are going to hit Democrats for is, you know, just basic kitchen table issues. The inflation issue is going to be massive.

So that's kind of an X factor for Democrats. How much can they get that under control. How much control do they even have over it? That was obviously a big part of your conversation with Brian Deese.

I know Democrats are going to do their best to avoid stepping into culture war, hot button issues like defund the police. I'm sure that will come up to some degree. I personally don't sense as much of that right now from Republican messaging. I think, you know, Democrats are going to need to focus on what they've done that makes a difference in people's lives.

And that comes back to the same type of issue that inflation hits, which is quality of life, pocketbook. They're going to have to talk about ways that the recovery plan from COVID and the infrastructure bill have made a real impact on people's lives. So far they haven't done a lot of that. And I think you're going to see a big push to correct that.

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