November 10, 2022

Election Results

“Republicans inched closer to a narrow House majority Wednesday, while control of the Senate hinged on a few tight races in a midterm election that defied expectations of sweeping conservative victories… Either party could secure a Senate majority with wins in both Nevada and Arizona — where the races were too early to call. But there was a strong possibility that, for the second time in two years, the Senate majority could come down to a runoff in Georgia next month.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left is encouraged by the results, arguing that Democrats were right to campaign on democracy and abortion.

“Although the full results are still being counted, we know this much at least: that across all states and timezones, Republicans underperformed. This morning, the stench of failure hangs over Donald Trump and his party. With Trump’s specter hovering over the ballot box like a malignant ghost, democracy and abortion proved to be more resilient issues than predicted. Crime and inflation remained relevant, but not determinative. Suburban women went Democratic. Trump scares more than he draws. He’s a turn-off who can’t give up the spotlight or the lies. For Joe Biden and the Democrats, that’s a gift that keeps on giving.”

Lloyd Green, The Guardian

Last week, “Biden delivered a speech in Washington that sought to frame the midterm election as a battle over the fate of democracy… The speech didn’t attract much attention, and where it did, critics tended to pan it as needlessly divisive, flailing by a sinking party, or, worst of all, superfluous: Biden seemed to be preaching to the choir and talking over the heads of a congregation more concerned about inflation, crime, abortion, and other urgent concerns…

“Not for the first time, Biden has both the last laugh and a better intuition about voters than his critics assume… Not only did election-denying candidates fare poorly, but voters told the Associated Press that the future of democracy was a top issue for them, trailing only inflation in importance.”

David A. Graham, The Atlantic

“Many said it was a mistake for Democrats to foist [concerns about democracy] on a harried, unhappy electorate. It required voters to set aside immediate concerns in favor of protecting a long-term philosophical and humanitarian project. Who would care? It seems enough women and young people — it is always women and young people, isn’t it? — grasped the genuine threat…

“Of course, it’s also possible that a decisive number of voters realized that a series of Benghazi hearings on Hunter Biden and allegedly ‘woke’ corporations are unlikely to curtail crime or global inflation. Perhaps some voters even understood that the erosion of Republican seriousness in government is directly related to the abandonment of democratic values and commitment by so many Republican legislators.”

Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg

"In the lead up to the election, pundits strained themselves bending over backwards to claim that Democrats’ focus on so-called ‘social issues’ leaves them out of touch from the everyday concerns ‘ordinary’ people deal with. But surprise: The results of the 2022 midterms prove otherwise. All five states with abortion on the ballot—California, Michigan, Vermont, Kentucky, and Montana—voted to increase access. These are not all blue states…“

Just days before the midterms, [Pennsylvania governor-elect Josh] Shapiro went viral for remarks he made at a rally explaining what exactly freedom is. He connected same-sex marriage, book bans, and abortion access alongside public education investment, union membership, and a secure democracy. His ideas—and the public’s overwhelmingly positive response to them—shows how ‘social issues’ are not in contention with ‘kitchen table issues.’ They never were. It’s offensive to pretend otherwise.”

Prem Thakker, New Republic

From the Right

The right is disappointed by the results, arguing that former president Donald Trump bears much of the blame for the GOP’s poor performance and praising Ron DeSantis.

The right is disappointed by the results, arguing that former president Donald Trump bears much of the blame for the GOP’s poor performance and praising Ron DeSantis.

“Inflation is at 8.2 percent, the average price of gas nationwide is $3.80 a gallon, crime is rising, the waves of migrants at the border continue, and the learning loss among kids at school is real. Democrats deserved comeuppance for the way they’ve run the country for the past two years, and by and large, they didn’t get it in the 2022 midterms. Don’t let anyone tell you this was a ‘good enough’ performance by Republican candidates. Opportunities like this year don’t come along very often in politics, and the GOP largely fumbled it away last night.”

Jim Geraghty, National Review

“In many districts and states all over the country, Republicans picked bad candidates. Believing that the fundamentals were all that was necessary to sweep them to victory, Republican leadership failed to intervene in these primaries to the extent necessary to ensure durable general election candidates. They stood aside largely out of fear of former President Donald Trump; Trump himself personally intervened in a variety of cases in the primaries, endorsing candidates almost solely on the basis of whether they were sufficiently sycophantic regarding the election of 2020. Those candidates then lost…

“The Republican Party had one job in the 2022 election cycle: to provide some semblance of responsible leadership… In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who reopened the state during COVID-19, ensured children could go to school unmasked, kept the economy open, handled Hurricane Ian and fought off the predations of wokesters and corporate Left-wingers, won an overwhelming victory: he grew his 30,000-vote, 0.4% 2018 victory margin to 1.5 million votes and nearly 20 points, and took the entire Florida GOP along for the ride. Republicans picked up four House seats in the state…

“There is a silver lining here for Republicans. Democrats, who should have been taught a lesson by voters, were saved by Republican incompetence and pusillanimity; that means they'll keep doubling down… This means Republicans will get another bite at the apple [in 2024] — but only if they get serious [and]… Nominate good, sober candidates capable of governing and earning the trust of Americans.”

Ben Shapiro, Creators Syndicate

“Donald Trump is the de facto leader of the Republican Party. He is the face, he does the rallies, he makes himself the center of attention, and he is the kingmaker. He has now failed in that role for three straight elections. Frustratingly, he refuses to take any responsibility for his failures, pointing to no possibility of change on his part as the standard-bearer… I don’t know if DeSantis runs in 2024, but Republicans would be foolish to pass over him for a nearly 80-year-old man with extremely high unfavorable ratings.”

Bonchie, RedState

DeSantis is a credible challenger to Trump. DeSantis picks his battles carefully, prepares thoroughly, and then wins decisively, especially on hot-button culture war issues that other Republicans shrink from. Where Trump blusters about wokeness, DeSantis takes it on and wins, proving that he’ll beat everyone from the corporate media to Big Business… Republicans need a leader with an agenda and message that can win — and DeSantis’s victory has proven that he can fill that role going forward.”
Nathanael Blake, The Federalist

A libertarian's take

“During the Republican primary season, Democrats took a big risk: They boosted Trumpist, election-denying candidates over their more moderate opponents. From the perspective of a coldly calculating Democratic strategist, this might have looked like a safe bet… But politics can’t all be reckless cynicism — that’s how you get Trump. As I and other critics pointed out at the time, screaming that Trump poses an existential threat to American democracy falls rather flat if you’re also helping Trumpist candidates get closer to positions of power…

“Democrats were not taking the ordinary political risk of installing a bad candidate or two; they were wagering our country’s future to marginally improve their own electoral chances. It was a feckless and unconscionable gamble. I am therefore quite distressed to report that, at least at the level of cold political calculation, it seems to have worked… [But] how many more such gambles can Democrats take before this game of electoral Russian roulette ends in a disaster?”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

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