Gasoline Prices and the 2022 Election in Kansas – Leavenworth Times

The 1974 elections were a major victory for the Democratic Party. In the US Senate, the party won four seats and in the US House of Representatives, it won 49 seats. He also secured a net gain of four gubernatorial seats.

There were a number of reasons for this great Democratic victory. The Watergate scandal, which began with a robbery at the Democratic National Committee in June 1972, culminated in the resignation of President Richard Nixon in August 1974. Inflation was at high levels and overall the economy America was facing what was called “stagflation” – high levels of inflation, unemployment and high interest rates.

But one factor was particularly important in the victory of the Democrats: the sharp rise in the price of gasoline in 1972-1974. In October 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel and the international upheaval caused by this war prompted the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to raise the price of a barrel of oil by approximately 400%. This sharp rise in the price of oil quickly had an impact on the price of gasoline in the United States. In 1972, the price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States averaged 37 cents. In 1973 it rose to 41 cents and then in 1974 to 55 cents.

In the past year, there has again been a significant increase in the price of gasoline in the United States. In January 2021, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline was $2.61. In March 2022, the national average price was $4.41.

President Biden and other Democratic Party leaders rightly argue that rising gas prices are very far from entirely their fault. However, American voters have traditionally punished the ruling party if things don’t go well, no matter who is responsible.

The great Democratic sweep of 1974 was also reflected here in Kansas. In the gubernatorial race, the GOP won, but only by just over 3,000 votes. Republican US Senator Robert Dole won re-election, but only by about 15,000 votes. It was the closest election Dole had had in 35 years to the U.S. Senate.

In the 2022 election, there are a number of important races in Kansas. Governor Kelly is up for re-election, as is US Senator Moran. The four seats in the United States House are up for re-election, as are the 125 seats in the state House of Representatives. Obviously the election will be about more than high gas prices, but the 1974 results indicate there could be a major protest vote in 2022 against the incumbent party.

Ernest Evans is a columnist for the Leavenworth Times.


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