Now three major factors threaten to make conditions even worse for Democrats.
Although both Reagan and Obama went on to win reelection, the midterms led to a shift in congressional power that had profound effects on their agendas. For President Reagan, the House became a key obstacle that stopped him from achieving much of his agenda. Democrats were able to block the most draconian efforts to dismantle social safety set and pushed the administration to agree to compromises over issues like Social Security.
The first midterm election of a new presidency tends to be a referendum on the commander in chief, even if he isn’t on the ballot. Historic trends and poor economic conditions might just be enough to give Republicans the kind of majorities that would enable them to cause legislative chaos in the next two years of the Biden presidency.
Democrats will need all hands on deck from right now until the midterms, working the campaign trail to canvass, organize and register voters to facilitate turnout at levels that might potentially soften the blow that looms on the horizon.