April 28, 2021

The Biden-Harris administration is just as polarizing to Republicans as the Trump administration was to the Democrats.

The president is not the nice and sweet, kind and loveable, and bi-partisan Uncle Joe that we expected in the White House. So what changed?

There are still numbing numbers of murders, mass shootings and police shootings. There is a southern border crisis, with 170,000-plus unaccompanied minors expected to come to America this year. COVID-19 has not been conquered, despite the millions of vaccines being put into people's arms, and it may well linger into 2022, with those pesky masks and remote learning the new norm in states where teachers' unions dominate.

The economy is rebounding due to the COVID aid and looming "infrastructure" stimulus packages. But the national debt is at $28 trillion and the annual deficit at $6 trillion.
America is, as they say, "living in the moment."

Those who are also living in the moment are a bunch of Democratic governors, including Andrew Cuomo (NY), Gavin Newsom (CA), Tim Walz (MN), Tony Evers (WI), J.B. Pritzker (IL) and Gretchen Whitmer (MI), as well as Republicans Ron DeSantis (FL) and Greg Abbott (TX), who all will be judged on their response to COVID-19.

The Republicans hold a 27-23 majority among the 50 U.S. governors. There are 36 states that will hold elections in 2021-22, with VA and NJ in November.

VIRGINIA: Those pesky white guys just won't go away. VA went 1,981,473-1,769,344 for Clinton in 2016 and 2,413,568-1,962,430 for Biden in 2020. It has an African-American population of about one-quarter, and some "identity politics" national Democrats think the state would elect a woman governor this year.

They better think again. Former governor Terry McAuliffe, a rich guy, is running and he faces state legislators Jennifer McClellan and Jennifer Carroll Foy and lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax in the June 8 primary.

A few years ago Democratic governor Ralph Northam was caught wearing blackface in old college days photos, and Fairfax was accused of sexual assaults, one dating back 20 years to Duke University and the other to the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston. No charges were filed and he denied the allegations, claiming they were racist.

Simple math still trumps identity politics, and with three African-American candidates splitting the "woke" and minority vote, McAuliffe is sure to be nominated. If some of the non-McAuliffe voters are disgruntled and don't vote, and if the Republican base, which is still around 45 percent, comes out, then their candidate, former speaker Kirk Cox, could win.

GEORGIA: Give credit where credit is due, and that is to Stacey Abrams, who lost the 2018 gubernatorial contest 1,978,408-1,923,685 to Republican Brian Kemp, a margin of 54,723 votes in a 3.9 million turnout, which was almost as large as 2016's. She is back for a 2022 rematch, and the GA landscape looks much different.

Trump won the state 2,089,104-1,877,963 in 2016, a margin of 211,147 votes in a turnout of nearly 4 million. Biden-Harris won it 2,473,633-2,461,854 in 2020, a margin of 11,779 votes in a turnout of over 4.9 million. TrumpÕs vote was up by 375,000, but the Democratic vote was up by nearly 600,000. And that turnout spike carried over to the Jan. 6 U.S. Senate runoffs, when Democrats won both seats.

Abrams founded the Fair Fight Action PAC after her defeat, and raised millions. The money was used for registration efforts. Georgia's population is now one-third Black, concentrated in the Atlanta area, the rural southwest and Savannah. To win statewide, a Democrat needs only one-third of the white vote plus their racial base.

The Republican-passed election law changes Ð called Jim Crow laws by Biden Ð that eliminate the COVID emergency process of mailing ballots to everybody, require a reason to vote absentee, and require an ID to vote. Democrats in 2022 will have an all-Black top of the ticket Ð Abrams and new senator Raphael Warnock. Republicans will have Kemp, who early lifted COVID restrictions, and likely NFL star and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker for senator. It will be all about turnout: If itÕs 4 million or less, Kemp wins. If it's over 4 million, Abrams wins.

NEW YORK: Like father, like son. Mario Cuomo was elected NY's governor in 1982, 1986 and 1990. He harbored presidential aspirations but didnÕt pull the trigger in 1988 or 1992. He lost in 1994, a Republican wave year, to the obscure George Pataki (R). Andrew Cuomo is on the same trajectory: He won easily in 2010, 2014 and 2018 (getting 59.6 percent), and is poised to go down in 2022. A February Zogby Analytics poll had him losing 38-57 percent to a generic opponent.

Cuomo was a daily media star during the first half of 2020, "following the science," shuttering businesses and closing schools. He was glorified by CNN and MSNBC. But then came reality: He had dumped COVID-19 hospital patients into nursing homes, so as to lower hospital death stats. He had allegedly harassed women by groping/kissing/touching them. His woke/Leftist base was appalled, and the legislature grumbled about impeachment (which has gone nowhere), and there were calls for his resignation, which he rebuffed.

Attorney General Letitia James (D) is "investigating" the nursing home situation. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) hopes Cuomo gets impeached. Cuomo is running for a fourth term and there is plenty of time to challenge him since the primary is in September of 2022. Possible candidates include outgoing NYC mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and state senator Alessandra Biaggi. There is a possibility that U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (known as AOC) could primary senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader. That would evoke a huge turnout by the Left.

Republicans sense an opportunity. U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin, from the eastern tip of Long Island, has announced, and Andrew Giuliani, a Trump staffer and Rudy's son, may run. Trump lost NY 5,230,985-3,244,798 in 2020, a margin of nearly 2 million votes. It would take a seriously flawed Democrat, like Cuomo or de Blasio, to lose the governorship. But it could happen. It would be 1994 all over.

CALIFORNIA: Trump lost the state 11,110,250-6,006,429 in 2020, an astounding margin of 5,103,821. CA is almost 2-1 Democratic, and getting more so. Trump lost 8,753,788-4,483,810 in 2016, meaning that the Biden vote was up 2.36 million and the Trump vote up 1.5 million.

Recall petitions have been filed but not yet certified. No date is set. The focus is Governor NewsomÕs (D) handling of COVID-19. Schools and some businesses are still shut down. Anger is surging. Newsom won with 61.9 percent in 2018. A recent Emerson poll had Newsom losing 42-58 to a generic opponent (not necessarily a Republican). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was elected in 2003 when Gray Davis (D) was recalled. Neither ex-San Diego mayor Kevin Falconer or ex-Trump DNI director Rick Grenner have the stature to win. Newsom will prevail Ð in 2021 and 2022.

FLORIDA: The state is getting MORE Republican, not less. Trump won FL 4,617,886-4,504,975 in 2016, a margin of 112,911. In 2020 he won 5,668,731-5,297,045, a margin of 371,686. Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is emerging as a Republican superstar, a fixture on FOX News, and an object of derision on CNN and MSNBC. He is Trump II, only less obnoxious but equally assertive. He kept COVID patients out of nursing homes, gave seniors vaccine priority, to shutter bars, restaurants and hotels, and kept in-person learning in schools. DeSantis won 4,076,186-4,043,723 in 2018 over Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum.

The most recent Mason-Dixon poll shows him up 51-42 over agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried (D). DeSantis will be running in 2022 with senator Marco Rubio (R), and a Republican sweep is likely. DeSantis has pushed-back on protests and Critical Race, and a 400,000-plus win will make him a formidable 2024 presidential contender.

TEXAS: After Beto O'Rourke's narrow 4,260,553-4,045,632 loss to senator Ted Cruz (R) in 2018, Democrats foresaw TX as going Red-to-Blue. Trump won 4,685,047-3,877,868 in 2016, a margin of 807,179. Democrats flooded TX with money in 2020, most directed to legislative races. But Trump won 5,890,347-5,259,126, a margin of 631,221, getting 1 million more votes than 2016 and Democrats 1.4 million more.

Governor Greg Abbott (R) has, like DeSantis, "opened" the state, and has been confronted with the border crisis. O'Rourke, who declared during a 2020 presidential debate that he's "coming for your guns," wanted to be the Biden-Harris gun czar He was ignored. He also accused Abbott of "killing people" with his COVID policies. If O'Rourke, who didn't get a job with Biden, doesn't run, then former HUD secretary and San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, or brother, congressman Joaquin Castro may run. Outlook: Given his assertive response to the border incursions, Abbott is unbeatable.

WISCONSIN: Governor Tony Evers (D) won with 49.5 percent in 2018. He has been in the shutdown mode. Public Policy Polling has him at 45-44 against a generic Republican. He is a 2022 loser

MICHIGAN: Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer won by 53.3 percent in 2018. She is still in shutdown mode with COVID hospitalizations rising. Expect a loss.