Which is a lot predicted would be midterm Shellacking à la 2010 turned out to be the most impressive midterm shocker decades later. The bad omens that usually portend poor midterm performance just haven’t worked for Democrats this election cycle. President Joe Biden, the leader of their party, has been burdened historically low approval ratings; inflation and gas prices that have dominated news and voter awareness still remained astronomically high; the stock market has collapsed since the beginning of the year.
A”red wave” of epic proportions has been almost declared by scientists left, right and center. Predictions about the House of Representatives focused on the defeat of the Democrats 30 places, maybe even more. The Republicans, taking the chamber, put some, including Frank Luntz (and i!) as everything but what is provided. Republicans were favored to take the Senate, and some major pollsters predicted 53 places There were betting markets all in on the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and the Republican Senate conference of more than 50 members. Biden and the Democrats were expected to take a historic beating. It was nowhere near what happened.
Instead of a majority of 30, 40 or maybe even more, Republicans are on their way to a majority of less than 10 seats in the House of Representatives. They didn’t get the three, two or even one seat they needed to take control of the Senate, and that’s it remained in democratic hands. Not only that, but the odds of the Democrats actually winning the seat are higher than even. Throw in dominance Democrats in state legislative races, and you have results that would have been close to unfathomable just last week.
When trying to speculate why the Democrats had such a defiant night, it’s important to understand that the potential explanations for the surprise are nearly endless, and no single issue can be blamed for the GOP’s failure. Many races were very close, with advantages that could be explained by many problems. However, I believe that some questions were of particular importance.
The quality of the candidate from the Republican Party is one. In statewide battleground races, this is undoubtedly true. In Georgia, Herschel Walker, a a longtime ally The former president fell short of expectations and received far fewer voters than Donald Trump’s opponent, Brian Kemp. In Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz lost to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in a race that didn’t end up being that close. Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who has been keeping pace with Trump, lost by nearly 15 points. There are also examples in other states.
But when you consider the House elections, the candidate quality explanation cannot fully explain what happened. Of course, far-right candidates like it Lauren Bobert and Joe Kent fought. But many other Republican candidates for the House of Representatives, who were not so close to the former president, did the same. It also falls short of explaining the other question — for for the first time since 1934the presidential party did not lose a single state legislature.
A big reason that explains this is that, to my surprise, voters across the country have correctly decided that Democrats are not to blame for problems that are not their fault. On the eve of the elections, the biggest concern of voters, according to polls, was the economy inflation. I have no doubt that the survey was accurate. Almost a consensus thinking was that, as the party unanimously in power, the Democrats would take the fall for worsening economic conditions. The Republican Party blamed the Democrats for the continuous rise in prices.
But in the end, voters didn’t fall for the Republican charade that the wretched global economic situation was the Democrats’ fault. Given that voters have repeatedly rated the issue as extremely important, the likely explanation is not that the poll was wrong, but that forecasters mistakenly assumed that voters would blame Democrats for their problems.
A big reason why voters don’t associate inflation concerns with Democrats is the fact that the Republican plan to reverse these glaring Democratic mistakes has been non-existent. Although Republicans have been shouting non-stop with Democrats on this issue for months, they have been unable to present concrete ways to eliminate inflation if they were in power. Of course, this makes sense as there is no sensible policy to formulate. Global inflation as a result of external conditions cannot be fixed by one American political party.
Moreover, voters had clear evidence that inflation and gas were a concern were not unique in America – indeed, many countries are doing worse than us. If voters had no evidence of inflation elsewhere, then this would be a uniquely American problem, and it would be much easier to blame the Democrats.
Other issues that Republicans have tried to blame on Democrats, such as violent crime, have also been ineffective. There are exceptions – accept them New York, for example — but in places like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where the issue has been pushed hard, Democrats have done better than expected. The biggest problem for the Democrats in New York was messaging and fear of expressing an opinion on an issue rather than a policy. The reality is that both of these issues — violent crime and inflation — are not easily pinned on Democrats.
Republicans often try to argue that violent crime is more prevalent in Democratic-controlled districts in an attempt to blame the problem on Democratic policies. But there is plenty of evidence to support this. Take the fact that Oklahoma’s homicide rate is almost flat 50% higher than California and New York. Or that Republican-led Jacksonville had more murders than liberal San Francisco. Or that as of 2020, Donald Trump has won eight of the 10 states with the highest homicide rates. While it is true that crime has increased in Democratic-controlled areas, it has also increased in Republican areas. Violent crime is a very delicate issue that cannot simply be tied to the partisan credentials of mayors and governors.
The American public also recognizes that Republicans are all talk the talk, not the walk the walk, unlike the Democrats. The Democrats and President Biden were wildly successful when adopting substantive legislation. In contrast to 2010, when the Democrat suffered politically for their commitment to health care reform, Biden’s policies have not crippled his party. The main pieces of legislation that the party passed were extremely popular. This meant that the Republican Party was left to build campaigns around historically unfavorable external conditions and a bogus blame game. They didn’t have enough to seriously attack Democrats for things that Democrats actually did. And the voters, to their credit, noticed.
In general, one party’s dominant strategy has been to falsely blame the other party for major issues and hope that voters will fall for flowery rhetoric and fraud. The other party, meanwhile, had enough concrete material to stick with Republicans — issues that voters could easily understand. Conservative efforts overturned Roe v. Wade and subsequently further restricted abortion rights. It was conservative efforts that called into question the legitimacy of our elections and attacked the center of democracy. It is the Republicans swam the sunset of Medicare and Medicaid. These simply weren’t problems voters could reasonably blame on anyone but Republicans. Conversely, problems that Republicans believe could help them are not easily attributed to Democrats. And in retrospect it was evidence suggest that this may be the case.
Issues and campaigns are important in elections. Parties relying on adverse external conditions, cyclical conditions and media dumerismParties that offer unsubstantiated policy proposals and lackluster candidates are by no means guaranteed success. And in that interim period, what happened was completely clear. Relative to expectations, the Republicans have failed, and they have failed pretty spectacularly.
Devon Hesano is the opinion columnist and can be reached at email@example.com.