The incredible shrinking GOP majority
The sun has now risen three times since GOP Leader KEVIN McCARTHY assured Americans that they would wake up to a House Republican majority. Yet we still don’t know who won either chamber of Congress — and each day, the sun has set with the projected number of Republican seats dimming.
This thread sums up NV:
We are closing in on 50 hours post-close of polls in Nevada. There are thousands of mail ballots yet to be tabulated and reported. Today saw nearly 36k ballots reported in NV + a slew of winners projected.
Anyways, here’s another goodnight thread & daily roundup for you all.
— Sean Golonka (@s_golonka) November 11, 2022
And this on Rick Scott:
Rick Scott has to be in contention for one the worst senate committee chairs in my time following this, so this would have been something. https://t.co/s5tl3i2Ymb
— Taniel (@Taniel) November 11, 2022
Sohrab Ahmari/NY Times:
Why the Red Wave Didn’t Materialize
Mutual recriminations will ping-pong around right-wing circles in the coming days and weeks. Most will likely center on “messaging,” candidate choices and other such tactical failures. It’s true that local circumstances shape any midterm election — we live in a vast and variegated country, and each race has its own contours. Still, in an era when national politics exerts such a strong gravitational pull on local elections, the most important question is: What sort of national vision did the Republican Party offer working Americans in 2022?
It’s hard to say, really. The best I can come up with is something like this: Hand us the keys to government, but don’t expect us to give you anything in return. And in that indifference lies the central problem bedeviling Republicans up and down the ballot.
“McConnell and the DC strategist class humored Trump, lost both races in Georgia anyway, and then watched as our Capitol was sacked.. the worst strategic decision by any political party in any of our lifetimes. And it’s all on McConnell.” – @Timodc https://t.co/vARO8N66Ij
— Stan Veuger (@stanveuger) November 10, 2022
Meet the Pollster Who Convinced Republicans There Would Be a Red Wave
Turns out he was super-duper wrong. About almost everything. Whoops!
What’s going on here? Well, Trafalgar founder Robert Cahaly is a longtime Republican operative (one who, as you can see from the TV screenshot above this article, lends himself with an air of intellectual authority by wearing a bow tie). Many Republicans believe that independent polling operations are among the mainstream institutions biased against conservatives. During the 2012 presidential election, that feeling gave rise to a concept called “unskewing the polls,” which were said to be understating support for Mitt Romney.
The secret to Democrats’ Senate success: candidates and abortion. look at the independ women vote. look at the abortion referendum. https://t.co/HBJQhqRxTz
— Jennifer “Pro-privacy” Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) November 9, 2022
1 big thing: Democrats make quiet history
- Democrats quietly won and defended majorities in state legislatures across the country, weakening GOP power on issues at the heart of the national political debate, Axios’ Alexi McCammond and Stef W. Kight report.
Why it matters: State legislative races are on pace to be the highlight of the Democratic ballot. If Democrats hold on to Nevada, this will be the first time the party in power hasn’t lost a single chamber in the midterms since 1934, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.
The big picture: The partisan battles over democracy and abortion rights — the two issues that dominated Democratic messaging this cycle — are shaped at the state level.
Democratic Hopes Rise on Senate Control as Two States Count Votes
In Arizona and Nevada, Republicans’ path to victory appeared to narrow, though both races remain close. The G.O.P.’s odds of success are greater in the House.
“For Democrats to be in this position right now, every single thing had to go right for them on election night,” said Jessica Taylor, a Senate analyst at The Cook Political Report With Amy Walter. “And every single thing went right for them on election night.”
She added, referring to Arizona and Nevada, “I do think they’ll win both races.”
In 1983, Dems had total control of Michigan’s state government for less than a year (it was upended by recall elections).
Prior to that, they last controlled the state *during the New Deal era* https://t.co/fTowdyqPXj
— Daily Kos Elections (@DKElections) November 10, 2022
It’s hard to overstate how radicalized and anarchic the base of the Republican Party remains.
Yet Democrats did far better than many political experts predicted and than most Democrats expected. As of this writing, control of the Senate is undetermined but leaning Democratic. Republicans are likely to take control of the House by a razor-thin margin, the result of picking up a dozen or so seats. And Democrats appear to have made gains among governorships and in state legislatures.
“This may prove the best midterm performance by the sitting president’s party since 2002,” my colleague David A. Graham wrote.
Part of the reason was the Dobbs decision, which elevated abortion as an issue and energized abortion-rights voters. The New York Times’ Ezra Klein speculated that “negative polarization” helped Democrats; the fear of Republicans prevented the governing party’s normal turnout decline from happening. Preliminary data indicate that he’s correct. The Democratic base showed up, and its coalition held together quite well. Democrats did better among independents than did Republicans. Because of gerrymandering, fewer seats were in play than in the past. And politically, America is fiercely divided. Neither party can dominate the other.
But the main reason Democrats did well is Donald Trump.
Biggest loser of the midterm elections? The media.
The headlines coming into Tuesday’s elections almost uniformly predicted a Democratic wipeout. Here’s just a small sampling:
Red tsunami watch
I pulled those from The Post, the New York Times, CNN, Axios and Politico — but the rest of the news media called it much the same.
I continue to wonder if @SenRickScott will face blow back b/c he so clearly placed his personal interest in courting Trump for future ambitions over the party interest in maximizing strong Senate candidates by refusing to resist the, er, eccentric nominees Trump was imposing.
— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) November 10, 2022
Analysis: Brutal night for local GOP as Democrats romp in RI, Mass.
The biggest blow by far came in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District, where Republicans had a rare opportunity to win a federal seat in relatively friendly territory. The usually fractious state GOP united around former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who received millions of dollars in support from outside groups. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy himself made the Rhode Island race a priority.
Yet for the third time in the last three midterm elections, Fung came up short. Democrat Seth Magaziner, the millennial general treasurer, squeaked by Fung to win a three-point victory. He beat Fung in Warwick and only narrowly lost on Fung’s home turf in Cranston, while running up the score in places like South Kingstown.
Fung had explicitly cast himself as an heir to the moderate New England Republicanism of Chafee, Baker and others. But in the end Magaziner convinced voters that Fung’s personal beliefs and affability mattered less than his membership in a party which secured the end of Roe vs. Wade and whose leader refused to accept the results of the last election.
Rick Hasen/Election Law Blog:
Thoughts on Last Night: A Step Back from the Precipice on Election Denialism and a Slightly Rosier Forecast for a Free and Fair Election in 2024
The votes are still being tallied and there are still some worrisome places to watch (most importantly at this point, Arizona), but the worst case scenario seemed to have been avoided yesterday and last night in terms of risks to free and fair elections.
First, there was very little violence and disruption of voting locations. There were some glitches (including in Maricopa County, Arizona, where tabulators were apparently misprogrammed and not accepting some ballots for scanning for a time and some Clark County, Nevada locations that ran out of ballots), but things generally went pretty smoothly. Yes counting takes a long time, especially in larger states and states that do not allow pre-canvassing of mail in ballots. But there was not major meltdown reported (at least so far).
Election denialists in Congress were elected and reelected, but one might think of them as engaging in cheap talk about denialism to placate the Trumpian base of the Republican party. More importantly, it looks like most of the gubernatorial candidates who said they would not have certified the 2020 election in their state for Biden (despite all evidence that Biden fairly won the election in those states) lost their races. (Arizona is too close to call at the time I write this.) Same is true for many of the Secretary of State candidates (though AZ and NV have not yet been called). That makes the risks for official/insider shenanigans in the 2024 presidential election less likely.
Finally, relive this election’s greatest punditry hits with Simon Rosenberg: