Joe Biden’s Future Partner in Polity, John James, May Be a Risk for GOP in Senate

The relationship between Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden has traditionally been one of a loyal advisor working through the vetting process. Not the other way around. In the aftermath of what has become one of her most shocking defeats to any presidential candidate, few are questioning her relationship with the former vice president. After all, he is, by all accounts, a remarkable, consummate politician.

This should come as no surprise. Over the course of the campaign, even in an era where former first ladies routinely campaign and weigh in on the ever-growing storm regarding men’s behavior towards women, Biden has been, and will likely continue to be, a constant and arguably more effective ally for Clinton and her women’s protection program.

In 2020, however, the national landscape could prove to be quite different. The next president of the United States, whoever it is, could be a Democrat, and if that’s the case, it could mark a sea change in the political world. It could, in fact, lead to a new dynamic of women’s protection than Clinton and Biden’s own efforts for decades. For many, that would represent good news. But not everyone sees things that way.

The ins and outs of the Senate election landscape in 2022 are not fully understood yet. What we do know for certain is that there are likely to be six contested Senate races within a very lean Republican or Democrat direction, depending on how things unfold on the federal political landscape over the next several years. One of those six potential contests, however, may be completely altered by Republican prospect John James.

James, the state auditor of Indiana, has raised a number of influential eyebrows around the state. His prospects have been propelled by the personal notoriety of Donald Trump and the political clout he possesses with Hoosiers. Against this backdrop, James has vaulted into positions as the number-one Republican candidate in the contest.

Although there has been little substantial effort made by James to distill policy prescriptions into sound bites, he has been able to successfully position himself as an independent option — something that could allow him to win a surprising number of delegates on the opening night of the party’s statewide convention. If he can help Pence win Hoosier delegates on opening night, James will enjoy a substantial tailwind towards victory come the 2020 nomination.

Before you worry about James too much, though, keep in mind that Indiana is a relatively safe Republican state, having last elected a Democratic senator in 2008 and earning a 12-percentage point advantage in the popular vote in 2016. The election of a progressive Democrat in these deeply red, deep-reserved places could quickly lead to complacency and complacency will put Indiana Republican gains at risk in the Senate. In fact, three Republican Senators in red states must face voters in a matter of years: Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. This means that, among the Senate races being hotly contested in the next few years, if James can prevent the defeat of these five senators, some of their seats may not flip from blue to red.

Nonetheless, if Republicans are to effectively run the table in 2022, James’ candidacy must remain in the forefront of their minds. He is a competition that must be not only a political but also a legislative challenge. If James is to win the seat, he must do so. And if they are to avoid another Democratic sweep, the GOP will have to invest in his operation, harness his momentum, and get him started right away.

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