White House Correspondent for Gray Television John Decker visits IE University and speaks on the upcoming U.S Midterm Elections
John Decker, White House Correspondent and Senior National Editor for Gray Television, visited the newly inaugurated IE Tower in the context of the Transatlantic Relations Initiative.
During the event, hosted by the IE School of Global and Public Affairs in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain, he reviewed the presidency of Joe Biden and discussed his predictions for the 2022 midterm elections with IE students.
Decker, who has covered the last 5 US administrations, began by reviewing the first year of the Biden-Harris administration, which boasted a 55% approval rate at the time of the inauguration of President Joe Biden. He explained that Americans wanted to “give him the benefit of the doubt and thought: let’s give this new person an opportunity.”
“President Biden is not on the ticket but his popularity does impact voter turnout.”
Yet, a series of domestic, geopolitical, and foreign policy events during the administration’s first year have swayed public opinion and dented approval rates which, Decker argues, could hinder Democrats in the nearing midterm elections.
“When you have a president that’s not popular in terms of public opinion polls, the energy for the base to go out and vote decreases substantially.” Decker then outlined events that contributed to this decrease in popularity such as last August´s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, which caused disappointment amongst allies and the public. “The withdrawal was so chaotic; it did not reflect well on President Biden who campaigned on the idea of presidential leadership and foreign policy,” he commented.
“Messages differed on a daily basis,” the journalist added when reviewing the administration´s COVID-19 booster vaccine announcements whose inconsistency has created mistrust amongst Americans, according to public opinion polls . In terms of foreign policy, Decker added that conferences such as the G20 Leaders Summit and COP26 also did not bring “great breakthroughs that would give the president any type of noticeable booster.”
“History tells us that Republicans are in a very good position in terms of winning back the House of Representatives.”
Decker predicts that the “Party not in power historically gains 4 seats in the Senate during midterm elections.” Democrats currently hold a majority in the Senate with a 50-50 party split led by Majority leader Chuck Schumer. Of the total 100 seats, 34 will be contested in the midterm elections, of which 20 seats are held by the GOP and 14 seats by the Democrats.
If the seats are flipped and Republicans gain control of the Senate, it will be harder for Biden to pass legislation he campaigned for in his first term. In such a scenario, “cooperation that would allow Biden to pass legislation that is big and bold” such as last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, would remain highly unlikely, according to Decker.
“Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada, will be the five states deciding the midterm elections.”
However, Decker reminded the audience that the midterm race will depend on the nominees who have not yet been announced.
Regarding his predictions for the 2024presidential ticket, the journalist stated that there was no guarantee that Vice President Kamala Harris would necessarily be the Democratic nominee in 2024 in the case that Joe Biden did not run. Instead, he pitched current California Governor Gavin Newson as a possible contender as he exhibits “youth and energy.”
Finally, when asked if he foresaw former President Donald Trump as a possible Republican candidate, he answered: “I do not believe he is going to run for president. The prospect of being a two-time loser will make him think twice about running for election in 2024.” Nonetheless, Decker speculated that Trump would make a decision after the midterm elections in November.