Senate Moderates May Soon Be an Endangered Species: The Letter

Fewer Senate moderates could run in the next election as retirement and escalating partisanship and polarization take effect.

To help you understand what is going on in the U.S. political landscape and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

The Senate may lose most of its moderates in the next election cycle, either to retirement or to escalating partisanship and polarization that makes it hard for moderates of either party to thrive in Washington.

The latest casualty: Mitt Romney (R-UT), who recently announced he will not seek reelection next year amid tension with fellow Republicans. But others will follow. Neither Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), a former Democrat who is now an independent, nor Joe Manchin (D-WV) have officially decided whether to run next year. But both will struggle to win if they do. The same is true of Jon Tester (D-MT), who is vying for a fourth term in the Senate.

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Expect dealmaking in Congress to become even more difficult. All of the lawmakers mentioned so far played a vital role in facilitating agreements to pass legislation like the bipartisan infrastructure bill or, at the very least, provided pivotal votes. Without them, Congress will OK even fewer major bills.

But centrists are not extinct quite yet. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), both longtime moderates, are not up for reelection in 2024 and plan to stick around for a while. As does Todd Young (R-IN), a conservative lawmaker with a strong track record of reaching across the aisle.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.