7 things: What campaign ’21 says about campaign ’22 (including Biden, Trump and Black voters)

WASHINGTON – The end of the off-year elections in 2021 signals the start of a brutal 2022 campaign season for control of Congress and big-state governors’ offices, races that will turn on a variety of factors – starting with the images of President Joe Biden and predecessor Donald Trump .

If the Virginia governor’s race and other contests Tuesday are guideposts, Biden’s record will be a defining issue as Democrats try to hold their razor-thin margins in both chambers of Congress.

So will Trump’s plans to hit the trail for Republicans he favors as part of his effort to keep a tight grip on the GOP, which could energize the base to victory or divide the party by alienating moderate voters.

As Virginia’s gubernatorial contest went down to the wire, Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin made arguments that will resonate across the country in 2022.

Here are some of them. Biden’s popularity plummets

During the campaign, McAuliffe told supporters that "we are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington" and that "the president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia."

Unless Biden’s political fortunes improve – he had a 42% approval rating in an NBC News poll released over the weekend – Republicans will use his unpopularity to club Democrats in every close 2022 race.

Other figures within the survey, reflecting how bad Americans say they feel during Biden’s first year in office, are troubling for Democrats.

Seventy-one percent of Americans, including 7 out of 10 independents and roughly 48% of Democrats, say in the NBC News survey that the USA is headed in the wrong direction.

Worse yet – just 18% strongly approve of Biden compared with about 46% who strongly disapprove of the president. Another telling nugget from the NBC poll: Just 18 percent of voters strongly approve of Biden’s job while a near-majority (46 percent) strongly disapprove.

His *strong* disapproves are higher than his overall approval. Of course, the Democrats will do some clubbing of their own – using Trump.

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