2022 midterms

Chuck Schumer’s Hot-Mic Moment: Does He Know Something We Don’t?

The scoop from Syracuse. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

We are at that tense juncture of the midterm-election cycle when people in both parties get downright neurotic about close races and their consequences. That’s particular true of the Senate contests that will determine control of that evenly divided chamber. So there was likely a lot of freaking out in and beyond the Beltway when a hot mic picked up Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer at a runway in Syracuse offering Joe Biden the benefit of his latest musings on the electoral landscape.

It seems that Schumer was commenting on three Senate races: Georgia, where he said “we’re going downhill” despite a “huge” early vote; Pennsylvania, where it “looks like the debate didn’t hurt us too much”; and Nevada, where Democrats “are picking up steam.” This being a hot-mic moment rather than a Sunday-show interview, we don’t know if these perceptions were the product of private polling, dispatches from the relevant campaigns, or just Schumer’s gut.

We do know that Schumer has major influence over a couple of large campaign-funding sources (the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Senate Majority PAC), so if he puts his money where his mouth is, it should turn up in some last-minute ads, if any are still available.

The actual outcomes for Democrats Raphael Warnock of Georgia, John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada will tell us whether Schumer’s musings were right. If Democrats do win all three races, he will almost certainly get to remain majority leader.

Because of the odd but pervasive belief that optimism or pessimism about political races affects massive numbers of voters who want to go with a winner, however, Schumer should probably share his views henceforth in a more secure environment.

Schumer’s Hot-Mic Moment: Does He Know Something We Don’t?