No red wave, no red tsunami. Thank you, Donald Trump. The blue team had a great week.
The day after the election MSNBC ran a collage of Republican politicians and commentors publicly proclaiming the coming red wave or red tsunami. Here is the link to the network story — scroll down a bit to locate the Chris Hayes video:
Schadenfreude is sometimes just unavoidable.
The Democrats have retained control of the Senate, with the opportunity to make the majority 51 seats after the Georgia runoff. The vote count is still going for House races, but the Republicans are likely to win the smallest of majorities. The Senate and House results have led to all sorts of finger-pointing, much of it directed at Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell. It was not supposed to be this way. Republicans were planning on 40+ gains in House seats and a Senate majority of 52/53/54 seats.
After all, there was inflation, and crime, and low poll ratings for President Joe Biden that the Republicans played up in their ads. Biden was mocked for going after MAGA Republicans and talking about democracy, suggesting that this year’s mid-terms were going to be a choice between the parties, not a referendum on his administration. Abortion issues got the public stirred up after the Dobbs decision, but voter enthusiasm about the issue seemed to fade a bit. But then there was the abortion vote in Kansas – Kansas! – and the enthusiasm was still there.
It certainly helped that the Republicans managed on a country-wide basis to nominate what could be called the Bozo Class of 2022. From Blake Masters in Arizona to Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and dozens of names and locations in between, the party had candidates who followed the Trump style – say any old thing that came up in their brains, without filtering. Even Mitch McConnell noted that there was a serious problem with the “quality” of many of the Republican candidates.
Rep. Peter Meijer, who lost his Republican primary after voting to impeach Trump, gave the Washington Post a nice summary of how the election turned out: “we have no choice but to heed voters when they say that ‘the grass is green, the sky is blue, and by the way, you just got your ass handed to you.’”
As we await the final results, some amazing things have been observed. Many Republicans who lost were actually conceding. While there were scattered complaints of voter fraud, the problem was minor except perhaps in the mind of the gubernatorial candidate in Arizona, Kari Lake, who mentioned the possibility of fraud even before Election Day.
While there were incidents in Arizona where masked and armed “observers” stationed themselves near voting drop boxes, nothing much came of it. Likewise the recruitment of “poll watchers” looking for irregularities did not bring noticeable disruptions or problems.
And now, post-election, some leaders of the Republican Party are zeroing in on the primary reason for the party’s less than anticipated outcomes: Donald J. Trump and his incessant lies about the 2020 election. Here are few of the more prominent comments:
- Onetime ally Chris Christie, the former Governor of New Jersey: “We lost in ‘18. We lost in ’20. We lost in ’21 in Georgia. And now in ’22 we’re going to net lose governorships, we’re not going to pick up the number of seats in the House that we thought and we may not win the Senate despite a president who has a 40% job approval. There’s only one person to blame for that and that’s Donald Trump.”
- Sen. Pat Toomey (PA) referred to losses in Pennsylvania and elsewhere as “ the debacle that he’s responsible for to some degree.”
- Former GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan referred to Trump as “a drag on our ticket.”
- A newly elected member of the House, Michael Lawler (NY17), said last week the Republican Party needs to “move forward” from Trump.
- The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board: “Trump is the Republican party’s biggest loser.”
Talk is cheap. Doing something about the party dilemma is another matter. There are names out there who are suggested as challengers to Trump including Mike Pompeo, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, Kristi Noem, etc., etc. Most of them lack the resources or guts to challenge Trump.
But then there is Governor Ron DeSantis, in a class all by himself.
For the most part Trump’s belittling of other candidates and calling them names is just rudeness and nastiness to the nth degree. But I have to admit that Trump may have hit upon a good one for DeSantis, who he is now referring to as “Ron DeSanctimonious.” I offer in support of that comment the commercial that the Governor of Florida released just before the election.
The ad is narrated by a Morgan Freeman-like voice to suggest that it is the voice of God speaking. “And on the eighth day…” the spot begins. God is mentioned ten times – more than Florida. The gist of the commercial is that God has chosen “a fighter” to save us, and that fighter is the image of DeSantis. Here is a link to the ad: https://twitter.com/CaseyDeSantis/status/1588539069243473924
This must be quite disturbing for another potential Republican candidate for president, Mike Pence. Mike has a new book coming out this week, “So Help Me God.” It has often been reported that Pence considers himself chosen by God to be president someday.
In an exclusive interview with Politics and Other Stuff last week, God said that he does not endorse any candidate for any political office. “Why would I ever want to do that? Man and woman were created to deal with such earthly issues on their own.”
Democrats, of course, have their own matters to deal with. For one thing they need to reacquaint themselves with middle America, both geographically and in political terms. The fringe of the party often contributes more problems than solutions. The party also needs to thank its elders for their great service even while bringing a new generation of leadership forward, particularly on the federal level.
The 2022 Election, now and when the final results are finally produced, has been one of the strangest and best that we have had in this country for a long time. Democracy is not out of the woods yet, but the tree clearing that we have just observed seems to point a way forward. I hope and pray.
Follow me on Twitter @kenkruly (I am not buying a blue checkmark so you will just have to take my word for it)