Manafort, who was jailed for tax and bank fraud charges in 2019, said that not only will the Democratic Party face a “tsunami wave” of congressional and Senate losses in November, but the GOP could further flip a number of legislative chambers.
The GOP currently already dominates the nation’s state legislatures, fully controlling 30, compared to the Democrats‘ 17, with three states having split control. According to analysis from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, at least four state chambers are considered “toss-ups” and could go either way in November, three of which are held by Democrats.
Manafort was speaking to Newsweek ahead of the release of his new book Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but Not Silenced. The book heavily focuses on how Trump won the GOP nomination and subsequent election in 2016, as well as Robert Muller’s probe into alleged Russian collusion.
Manafort, whose conviction stemmed from an investigation arising from the Russia collusion inquiry, was pardoned by Trump in December 2020 with just a few weeks left of his presidency. Manafort was released from federal prison to home confinement in May of that year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“There’s going to be a bonus that’s not even being talked about yet,” Manafort told Newsweek. “That bonus is going to be all the state legislative races they’re going to win and how they’re going to probably take over more state houses.
“Everyone’s only focusing on the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. But the Republicans are running extremely strongly across the board and down to the local races. You now see Republicans paying attention to school board races as a result of parents not liking being called terrorists.
“You’ve got ‘defund the police’ causing Republicans to put forward different candidates for prosecuting attorney,” Manafort added. “Those things aren’t being focused on but they’re going to be the bonuses for Republicans.”
Manafort was making a reference to the National School Boards Association writing a letter to Biden in September 2021 arguing that parents who were protesting a school board meeting over the teaching of critical race theory “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
As a result of the Republicans controlling more government offices after the midterms, Manafort said that the GOP will be “getting rid of some of the leftist school curricula that parents don’t approve of” such as the teaching of the critical race theory or discussing sexual orientation and gender identity to younger pupils.
Historically, the party controlling the White House almost always suffers heavy losses of seats in the first midterm election of its administration, with Joe Biden’s continually falling approval ratings a sign the Democrats could experience a particularly damaging day of elections.
The GOP will now be hoping to further capitalize on Biden’s dismal approval rating to flip state chambers from Democratic control.
The control of state legislatures will take on added significance in the upcoming years following the overturning of Roe V. Wade by the Supreme Court as access to abortions will now be decided on a state by state basis, with a number of GOP-controlled states already taking steps to ban the procedure.
One “toss up” state the Republican will be hoping to fully flip in November is Michigan, where the GOP controls the state House and Senate, but its governor is Democrat Gretchen Whiter, who has frequently been the target of attacks by Trump and other GOP-figures in recent years.
Elsewhere, Manafort believes that the reason Biden is struggling so much with his approval ratings is that he was too focused on trying to “undo” many of Trump’s policies.
“The Trump agenda is the American agenda in politics now,” Manafort said. “Biden’s presidency is trying to undo the Trump agenda and in trying to undo it he’s caused record inflation, record fuel prices and the economy is in shambles.”
Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but Not Silenced will be released on August 16.