2022 election will heat up quickly after the first of the year, slowing work in Congress

Someone asked me the other day why the commentators keep saying it will be difficult for Congress to accomplish much after the first of the year because of the mid-term elections.

It’s a good question. After all, the election isn’t until early November. You’d think there would be plenty of time to pass significant legislation. Democrats are in charge at least until January 2023. Couldn’t they push through Biden’s Build Back Better legislation next year?

But here’s the reality. The 2022 election gets intense very early in the year, including in Utah. Politicians’ attention turns to the election early in 2022 and everything is seen through the lens of political campaigns. 

Difficult issues will become even more difficult. Tough votes become even tougher. Opponents will be watching carefully, looking for vulnerabilities in voting records. 

This is especially true for Democrats in the context of what happened this year in Virginia and New Jersey. Voters, especially moderates and independents, made it clear they aren’t in the mood for left-wing priorities.

Thus, the sooner Democrats can push through their top-priority legislation, the less it is likely to impact the election next November. The House was poised to pass Build Back Better Thursday night and many Senate Democrats are anxious to take it up and get it passed.

A lot of pundits have also theorized that while many elements of the legislation might not be popular today, once it is enacted and citizens start receiving benefits, they will like it. Democrats are counting on that. Republicans will be portrayed as grinches who want to take away goodies from needy Americans. 

In reality, the 2022 election is upon us. Some campaigns have already started. In Utah, for example, challengers to Sen. Mike Lee are already off and running. Across the country, many incumbents and challengers are formally announcing their candidacies. Filing periods have already started in some states.

In Texas, candidate filing started Nov. 13 and the state’s primary election is March 1. In North Carolina, candidate filing starts Dec. 6. March 8 is the primary election. Some 30 primary elections will be held in June and August.

In Utah, the filing prior opens March 7 and closes March 17. The primary election is June 28. However, Jan. 3 is the first day candidates can file their notice of intent to gather signatures. Party caucuses and county and state conventions will be held early in the year. 

The point is, the 2022 election will ramp up quickly after the turn of the year. Members of Congress will be wrapped up in campaigns and it will be difficult to pass substantive legislation, especially anything controversial.