Why Dems Had A Surprisingly Good Night
Against all expectations, the Anti-MAGA majority sent a message about GOP extremism
Well, that went better than anyone expected. There was no Red Wave. All of the GOP triumphalism and Democratic panic was for naught. The pro-democracy, anti-MAGA majority turned out to vote to send a message about Republican extremism.
When it’s all said and done, the Republicans are likely to control the House — albeit by a much smaller margin than anyone thought possible. Control of the Senate still hangs in the balance.
The Republicans controlling either or both houses of Congress will have profound and dangerous consequences for the nation, but there is no question last night was a great night for Democrats.
I want to analyze these incomplete results with a measure of humility. We still don’t know much about who voted or why. When more information emerges, I want to look at what it all means for the future and how it informs our strategy for 2024 and beyond. But in the meantime, here are some quick, sleep-addled thoughts on what happened.
Terrible News for Trump
After a tough few months, we all deserve a little schadenfreude, right? Last night could not have gone worse for Donald J. Trump. He put himself on the ballot by endorsing candidates, holding rallies, and teasing another Presidential campaign on the eve of the election. The voters rejected Trump, Trumpism, and his chosen candidates. It was an electoral ass-kicking. Trump likely cost the GOP the Senate, several governorships, and a bunch of House seats.
As Aaron Blake wrote in the Washington Post:
Regardless of that outcome, Trump’s candidates in key races struggled, underperforming where they shouldn’t have. And the data we have on the election indicates independents split between the two parties — despite voting against the president’s party by double digits in each of the last four midterm elections.
At the same time, Ron DeSantis won a huge victory in Florida and positioned himself as the electable Republican alternative. Members of the GOP political establishment and donor class started mobilizing around a DeSantis candidacy before the night was out.
If Trump had the self-discipline (LOL) not to make the election about himself, the Republicans would have had a much better night. Once again, the party paid the price for its fealty to Trump.
The former President/future indictee will likely still announce his candidacy next week and remains a huge favorite for the nomination, but we can all take a moment to enjoy his misery.
A Referendum on MAGA Extremism
At the beginning of the year, Democrats had an audacious but admirable goal — turn this election from a referendum on the state of the economy into a referendum on Republican extremism. I have been around for a lot of midterms and the party in power ALWAYS tells reporters they want to make the election a choice, not a referendum. And it never happens… until now.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Message Box to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.