History suggests that Republicans have decent odds of capturing the House, the Senate, or both in next year's midterm elections. In every modern midterm election except 1998 and 2002, the party out of the White House has gained seats in at least one chamber, and Democrats have only four seats to spare in the House and none in the Senate to preserve their majorities.
But as POLITICO's Huddle noted on Tuesday, one wildcard could complicate the GOP's efforts to make gains in 2022: former President Donald Trump's quest for "revenge" on GOP lawmakers who haven't shown sufficient loyalty to him.
"Donald Trump is increasingly inserting himself in the primary races of his political enemies as a form of revenge against Republicans who voted to impeach the former president after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — despite warnings from congressional allies that he should be careful about wading into primary races," reported Olivia Beavers.'
For instance, Trump has attacked Reps. John Katko (R-NY) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), both of whom voted to impeach him for inciting the Capitol riot, even though these seats aren't safe for Republicans. He has backed far-right Alaska Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka over center-right Sen. Lisa Murkowski, which could throw the first election using Alaska's new ranked-choice voting system into chaos, and is backing Rep. Ted Budd for North Carolina's open Senate race despite GOP alarm that he is not electable.
"It reminds your host of a Confucius saying: 'Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves,'" concluded Beavers. "If Trump is willing to get involved in races with frontline members, the political graves could end up filled with lost GOP seats in the House and the Senate, including some currently held by frontliners."