Whither The Red Wave
The Republicans boldly predicted a red wave throughout the 2022 election cycle. Kevin McCarthy fearlessly prognosticated that the GOP would gain 60 seats in the U.S. House and Senator Rick Scott predicted the Republicans would gain five seats in the U.S. Senate. In the last few weeks of the election, Republican operatives told the press that the GOP was on the cusp of a landslide.
At the same time, Republican polling firms flooded the zone with erroneous, partisan polling to back up their fearless prognostications. (Reputable, non-partisan polling consistently indicated a close election.) Nate Silver at 538 and Real Clear Politics plugged these bogus polls into their polling averages and further fed the false notion of a red wave.
The “liberal” mainstream media fell for the false GOP narrative and polls, and joined the Republicans in forecasting a GOP sweep. In the closing weeks of the campaign, the leading organs of the mainstream press were littered with numerous faulty stories that wrote the Democrats’ political obituary. They enlisted foolish Democrats to speak on background who joined in those predictions of doom.
A funny thing happened on the way to the GOP coronation — the Democrats won a surprising victory that few pundits and politicians foresaw. I was one of the few people who actually dug into the data and discovered that the once reliable polling averages had been polluted with garbage GOP polls. I will give Democratic political analyst Simon Rosenberg a lot of credit for piercing the false narrative of a Republican triumph.
As it stands now, control of the U.S. Senate is now leaning heavily Democratic. The majority in the Senate will now come down to three close elections in Nevada, Arizona and Georgia. The New York Times has now predicted that Catherine Cortez Mesto will hold on to her Senate seat in Nevada. Mark Kelly looks increasingly likely to win the Arizona Senate seat. Georgia is headed to a run off that will force the Republicans to defend every foolish utterance and lie from Herschel Walker.
The Democrats even have an outside chance of winning the House. It’s a bit of a longshot but it’s doable. The best case scenario for the GOP in the House is a narrow five to ten seat majority that doesn’t give McCarthy any breathing room.
Several House GOP sources told CBS News that they are now increasingly worried that if GOP wins a narrow House majority, it’ll be utter chaos for McCarthy and his leadership team. The likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene and her allies will have much more influence in a tight GOP House. These radicals are radioactive outside of the hardcore MAGA base.
A slim GOP majority in the House would be problematical for Nebraska CD02 Representative Don Bacon. His vote is actually going to matter for the next two years. Bacon will no longer have the luxury of hiding behind majorities on either side to play his phony “bipartisan” games. Bacon will be forced to take radical votes or he will be shunned by his party bosses.
“This election is a nightmare for Republicans. They botched a national election with inflation running rampant across the country. The Republicans ran Newt Gingrich out of town for far less than this in 1998. Wonder how Trump and McCarthy will fare after the DeSantis coronation and the GOP’s disaster.” Joe Scarborough
Fox News Marc Thiessen said: The midterm results are “a searing indictment of the Republican Party … The Republican Party needs to do a really deep introspection look in the mirror right now because this is an absolute disaster.”
Out going GOP U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) contended that Donald Trump bears significant blame for the “debacle” on Tuesday. Toomey asserted: “Last night across the country was a terrible night for Donald Trump... The more MAGA a candidate was, the more they tended to underperform even in their own states.”
The reality is that Trump is a stone cold loser. Trump was the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over the loss of the White House, the House and the Senate in a single term. In 2022, he saddled the GOP with poor candidates, and he assisted the Democrats in their goal of turning the midterms into a choice between Biden and Trump. The Democrats gained ground in the last days of the campaign in the non-partisan polls once Trump made himself the center of attention again.
Thanks to Trump and GOP extremism, The Democrats will now have have the best midterm performance by an incumbent party since 2002, when there was a rally around the flag effect after 9/11. The Democrats defied history in the midst of the worst global inflation crisis since the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Republicans need to conduct a serious inquest of why they did so poorly with 8% inflation and the media screaming “CRIME” every 2 seconds.
Trump lost 40 House seats in his first midterm in 2018.
Obama lost 63 in 2010.
Clinton lost 52 in 1994.
Reagan lost 26 in 1982.
Carter lost 15 in 1978.
Biden’s U.S. House (and Senate) is a dead heat.
The Republicans were joined by the media as the biggest losers of election 2022. Fox has literally spent the entire fall assuring their audience that a massive red wave was assured. The “liberal” mainstream media followed Fox in believing the GOP spin.
The main stream media embarrassed itself when they bought hook line and sinker the notion that we were headed for a giant red wave. They unquestioningly embraced bogus and partisan polls, and fell into a herd mentality, protecting each other by buying the same conventional wisdom.
The mainstream media badly under estimated the salience of the issues of abortion and democracy. Instead, they blindly followed Republican talking points on crime and inflation. In the exit polls, abortion ranked nearly as high on the list of priorities as inflation. Voters can be concerned about inflation, democracy and women’s rights all at the same time.
Unfortunately, the U.S. is saddled with the dumbest press in the free world.(Their foolishness probably cost Hillary Clinton the election in 2016 when they blew the email controversy out of proportion.) The talking heads who were so easily fooled by the Republicans should do an inquest of their own so that they don’t commit this kind of journalistic malpractice again.
Closer to home here in Nebraska, the results were disappointing. The Republicans are one vote away from getting to the magic number of 33 that would give them a filibuster proof majority in the legislature. It will come down to a close legislative race in Omaha where there are still thousands of uncounted ballots.
There are two factors behind this disappointing result. Pete Ricketts spent $5 million on various races around Nebraska. In addition, millions of dollars in dark money came in from outside of Nebraska to flood the zone with deceptive, negative advertising. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of GOP money was spent in some of the most hotly contested legislative races.
Another factor is that there were no Democratic candidates for legislature outside of the Lincoln and Omaha areas. In previous cycles, strong Democratic candidates have won in red areas like Grand Island, Beatrice, Fullerton, Fremont and Burwell. Democrats need to campaign in rural areas. We simply can’t cede wide swaths of the state to the Republicans.
Despite being outnumbered in the legislature, the Democrats can still block extreme legislation. All is not lost. I predict that Jim Pillen will struggle as governor. He was in hiding during most of his campaign and now he will have to hit the ball in the big leagues. (Interestingly enough, Ricketts visibly struggled in 2015–16.) Moreover, the unicameral usually has a handful of moderate Republicans who believe in the independent role of the legislature and don’t take orders from the governor.
Going forward, we need to build on the national victory and work for a comeback here in Nebraska. Thanks to our hard work, the Democrats held off the MAGA Republicans. There is an anti-MAGA, anti-Trump majority in the U.S. As Coretta Scott King said: “Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.” Now let’s get it done!