David Price Sees Echoes of 1994 Republican Revolution in 2022 Midterms

A few people have observed that the upcoming midterm elections of 2022 look a lot like the 1994 Republican Revolution. I personally think President Trump’s victory in 2016 is due to a similar echo of history, but after his first two years in office he has been plagued with scandals and fights between himself and Congress, who cannot seem to get along despite having such high approval ratings.


From the Senate gallery, David Price saw the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a young congressional staffer. He recalls Senator Clair Engle of California, who was dying of a brain tumor and unable to speak, being carried in to deliver a crucial vote.

In the years since, Price has seen the South move away from Democrats, and he has stayed long enough to see his party reclaim some of it as the region’s demographics have evolved.

He spent a lot of that time as a Political Science professor at Duke University, and later as an unlikely member of the exact institution he studied, even publishing a book on it.

Price is retiring from Congress after more than 30 years serving his North Carolina district, which includes the Research Triangle, at the age of 81. He is one of Washington’s longest-serving legislators and a keen observer of how the city has evolved.

And he is not pleased with what he sees.

Price has grown concerned about how Congress has become nastier and more partisan during his time in office, a trend he attributes to former Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, whose “more aggressive and more militant approach” to politics fundamentally transformed the institution, as Price put it.

At an interview in his House office, Price said, “I’m shocked at the way the Republican Party has headed.” “And I don’t believe the polarization is symmetrical for a second.” It’s unbalanced.”

Many of today’s hardball political methods were developed in North Carolina, a state known for intense political struggles over basic democratic principles.

When a political scientist at the University of North Carolina announced in 2016 that the state “could no longer be regarded as a democracy,” it made headlines. The State Supreme Court has often acted as a neutral arbitrator between the two parties, most recently when it threw out maps drawn by the G.O.P.-led Legislature that were substantially gerrymandered.

Price initially campaigned for politics after attempting to unseat Jesse Helms, the very conservative, pro-segregation North Carolina senator, as a political consultant. The fact that the Senate just confirmed the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court gave Price some joy.

Price sees dangerous parallels of the 1994 campaign, when the country’s sentiment changed significantly against President Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party in today’s politics.

“My town gatherings got really tumultuous,” he added, remembering how his campaign was forced to seek police protection.

In 1994, Price was a casualty of Newt Gingrich’s Republican Revolution, losing his seat in the red wave of that year. He returned two years later and would spend the next 26 years in the House of Representatives.

What goes on behind the scenes

Price, who is cerebral and reticent, tends to focus on a few objectives at a time. He doesn’t scream for MSNBC hits or share viral footage of his House floor remarks.

“I’ve never been a tweeter,” he said with a sigh of regret.

Price, on the other hand, has had a considerable, behind-the-scenes effect on issues such as encouraging democracy in other countries and pressing for reforms to federal campaign finance regulations. You know how at the conclusion of political advertising there’

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