Red Wave so faint it looks a little pink
Those of us who love America breathe a sigh of relief because the supposed “red wave” from the midterm election turns out to be somewhere between a wave and a trickle.
We won’t have full clarity for some time, but what we do know is that the MAGA cult hasn’t been able to satisfy its goose-stepping ambitions. Even if Republicans win a majority in the House of Representatives, they have no way of claiming a seat.
In the words of right-wing apparatchik Mark Thiessen, who whined on Fox News, “This is an absolute disaster for the Republican Party.”
The conventional wisdom as of mid-term night — with inflation at 8% and President Biden burdened with a popularity rating of around 42% — was that Republicans would come to power and win at least three Senate seats and dozens in the House of Representatives. These predictions did not seem absurd; After all, the party of an incumbent president traditionally suffers a lot in his first half. President Clinton lost 54 House seats in 1994 and President Obama lost 63 in 2010.
But it’s already clear that Biden will enjoy the best halftime of any Democratic incumbent since at least 1978 — for several reasons: The Democratic base (particularly the predominantly Blue 18-29 year olds) showed up in robust numbers and swing-voting independents (who often break heavily for Republicans in midterm elections) narrowly favored Democratic candidates this time around — apparently because Trump-backed candidates scared them off.
Oh, did I mention that up to 60% of voters (according to Exit polls) said they didn’t like Trump? And that many conservatives blame Trump for the red trickle? And that the one guy Trump viciously attacked mid-night, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, won in a landslide victory?
Trump’s favorite star Mehmet Oz lost the Pennsylvania Senate race to John Fetterman. We should talk about it, because by flipping the seat in blue, the Democrats have a better chance of holding the Senate. Oz was a quack and a carpet digger (the joke on election night was that he was waiting for a flood of late votes from New Jersey), but what clearly hurt him most was his anti-abortion stance, as articulated during his debate with Fetterman when he said abortion should be a decision between a woman, her doctor and “local political leaders”. Voters favored Fetterman over Oz by 15 percentage points.
It is also clear at the national level that the deletion of Roe v. Wade through the Supreme Court gave Democrats a boost. In the Exit Polls, 39% said they were “angry” about the criminalization of abortion. Of these people, 85% voted for blue.
Also in Pennsylvania, on January 6, Democrat Josh Shapiro defeated MAGAt’s Doug Mastriano in the gubernatorial race. How refreshing it was that a gentleman of the Jewish faith defeated an instigator of fascism.
Speaking of gubernatorial elections, Democratic incumbents have won in Michigan and Wisconsin, ensuring Trump supporters will have a hard time rigging these key states in the 2024 presidential election. The guard rails of democracy have indeed been strengthened.
Other Trump-backed candidates are flaring up or struggling for breath. Blake Masters likely to go under in Arizona Senate race; Dan Bolduc flopped in the New Hampshire Senate race; and Hershel Walker, arguably the biggest dope in Trump’s MAGA squad, came second in the Georgia Senate race that will lead to a runoff in December.
All in all, as right-wing expert Erick Erickson points out, Trump has “saddled the GOP with a lot of clunky candidates.”
Nevertheless, Trump has everything under control. He actually said this while the vote was underway: “I think if they (his supporters) win, I should get all the credit. If they lose, I shouldn’t be blamed at all.”
However. But now that the midterms are finally over, can we charge this guy?
Copyright 2022 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Polman, a veteran national political columnist, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at [email protected]