Elections halfway through a president’s term historically don’t bode well for the president’s party. In the century since voters began electing US senators, the president’s party has only gained seats in either the Senate or House a handful of times (and only both chambers twice).
The Democrats’ majority in Congress is razor-thin: The Senate is a 50-50 split (with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote giving them the advantage) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s control of the House rests on a slim margin. In 2022, all 435 House seats and 34 of the 100 Senate seats are on the ballot. Additionally, 36 out of 50 states will elect governors.
Retirements are not a perfect indicator of future midterm outcomes, but they’re a sign. A wave of retirements has hit the House Democratic Caucus this election cycle. The party that has had more elected officials retiring from public office has lost seats in eight of the last 12 midterm cycles since 1974, according to CNN’s Harry Enten.