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How could I be so wrong?

How could I be so wrong?

I have been in the game of political punditry for more than 50 years – professionally.  My opinions were sought by friends and clients based on a record of accurate prognostications. I cannot think of a time in my career when I have been more wrong about an election outcome.

I believed in the red wave – with Republicans taking 20 to 30 seats in the house and a slightly better than 50/50 chance of the GOP taking the Senate by a seat or two.  I thought Republicans would do well in electing governors and other state-based constitutional offices.  Maybe even some gains in state legislatures.  I expected at least some of the so-called MAGA candidates would win their elections — Kari Lake in Arizona and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, to name a couple.

Now that the dust has mostly settled on virtually all the races, I face the fact that my crystal ball did not see the results.  Not even close.  As a political analyst, I had to do a little analysis of myself.  Where was I wrong – and why?

I do take some comfort – but not a lot – in the fact that most of the observers and pundits, on both sides, were also wrong.  The polls were wrong … again.  While it is not my method to parrot what other pundits and pollsters say, they are a factor in my own analytical process.

What I discovered is that this was truly an unprecedented Midterm Election.  It was unique while I was factoring in historic realities.  

  1. Republicans traditionally do better than the pollsters indicate.  This year it was the opposite.  One media analyst said that because of past errors, pollsters over compensated and gave too much consideration to Republican votes when making up their models.  That makes sense.  It explains why all those super tight races did not fall to the Republicans, but to the Democrats – by significant margins in many cases.
  1. Abortion has never been an issue that drives voters.  Although I still maintain it was not a deciding factor for most voters, it obviously played a larger role than I thought it would.
  1. Remember “It’s the economy, stupid”?  Since Democrat operative James Carville said those immortal words back in 1992, it has been a political truism.  Not this year.  With the worst inflation in 50 years … high gas prices … and supply chain shortages …. It should have been a slam dunk for the GOP.  Democrats were successful in trumping the economy, so to speak.
  1. The party in power does not do well when their President is below 50 percent in the favorable rating.  President Biden had been bouncing between the high 30s and mid-40s. Obviously, that tradition did not apply this year.
  1. Then there was the youth vote.  Unlike previous elections, young folks did more than talk about politics.  They came out in greater numbers than in the past – and thanks to educational indoctrination, they swung far left.
  1. Independents historically break to the Republican Party.  Not this year.

None of these were a silver bullet.  It took all of these in some measure to influence the outcome.  But there was another factor – and even more important factor – Donald Trump.  Democrat accusations and criticism – many ways over the top – and Trump’s own big mouth and bad behavior created a powerful anti-GOP force among the voters.  While the things I mentioned above played a roll, I do believe that this was a huge “anti” election.  The people were not voting for Democrats as much as against Republicans.  Democrats were again successful in smearing the GOP brand with their attacks on Trump.

Ironically, it is the same “anti” voting that put Trump in office in 2016 – and got him 74 million votes in 2020.  What changed this year as a big percentage of voters dislike the Trump Republican Party more than they disliked the Biden Democratic Party.  I obviously missed that wave.

So, there tis.

P.S. The only good news is that I never bet on political races.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry HoristLarry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

20 Comments

  1. Orville Losey

    You were not wrong! You merely overlooked the desperation of the demoncraps to win by using their one and only chance.
    The dems know fraud well, how to commit fraud, and how to cover up the fraud that they have committed.
    President Trump lost due to fraud. That is well known now. Biden bragged about having the best fraud voting organization
    the world has ever seen. But, because this amount of fraud was never seen before, there were no laws in place to prevent it from happening and no laws to deal with it after it happened. Yes, everyone knows that Trump won in 2020, but He is still
    considered to have lost.
    Katy Hobbs is considered to have won the race for governor in Arizona. That means that Lake AND Trump (the loser) lost
    again, right? That election was obviously rigged, and I believe thatLke will be declared the winner when that race is finally
    settled. And I understand that a Republican also won the Senate race in Alska.
    And in Pennsylvania, Fetterman hired a sleezy lawyer to get a liberal judge to vacate the order of a judge who had declared
    that certain improper ballots were not to be counted. Those ballots were enough to allow Fetterman to illegally win the race. That means that President Trump lost again, right? Do you really think that was Trumps fault?
    https://freebeacon.com/elections/fetterman-taps-dirty-tricks-dem-lawyer-in-11th-hour-mail-in-ballot-bid/

    Reply
    • BibFy

      Lives in the multiverse 😉

      Victim of Democrats. Can’t beat them, can’t figure it out, must be magic, he’s the victim, they cheated him.

      Can’t prove but since he’s a loser, it must be true.

      And they call us snowflakes.

      Reply
    • Ac

      Orville,
      Wanting something as important as this past election to go one way and it turns out not as hoped or predicted is not an automatic red flag signaling fraud. But, those who did not succeed with votes legally cast and accurately counted ( as both 2020 and 2022 have been) conspiracy theories arise from lies in disinformation.
      Basic objective facts of the matter regarding elections are truths known going in. Some candidates win and their competition does not. The later honorably concede thanking those who supported them, win or loose. It’s the way our democracy works. Ultimately, unless significant fraud appears with incontrovertible evidence in support of a claim. The election results are called just and fair. Pundit quackery making noise in dispute of generally accepted facts they are the authors initiating conspiracy theories .
      It’s like attempting entry to an interstate highway by way of an exit ramp. If traffic is not on the ramp does not mean it’s right. Soon, that driver will discover opposing traffic has the right of way.
      Thinking fraud surrounds one party, then believing no fraud or wrong doing goes on in one’s own party constitutes fraudulent thinking, Be careful which information sources that you trust. Those that hold to one narrow view alone without allowing more moderate voices a hearing become suspect. Not bearing witness to truth found is not illegal but it is being dishonest.
      Check the facts again. Trust that American democracy works.

      Reply
  2. Tom

    You have some good points Larry. Please allow me to pontificate upon them just a bit. This time around, I was an Independent that broke for GOP but did split my ticket on a few state races. PS: Please do not tell this to Frank Stetson, he thinks I am a wet noodle neutral on the fence with no balls kind of guy. Reality is I waited until the last couple of days to take my stand. Here is what I think:

    1) Let me just say, “I told you so.” when I stated in a previous blog of yours that Independents do not like the fighting between parties and threats of many investigations. We viewed that as Oh crap, two more years of nothing getting done but investigations. GOP also did not present a clear vision of where they will take the country, just investigations. Trump stumping remarks offended, and Kari Lake comments were the same piled on. So yes you are right, in the Independent mind, it became a referendum on Trump and Trumpism in the GOP more than a referendum on Biden’s poor performance. As I also stated earlier, too many mini-Trumps in the GOP. The good news is that if the GOP wakes up and realizes that we Independents (whom are often moderate) are the largest voting block, and if the GOP moderates their positions so that we do not puke when we hear them, they will win the WH in 2024. My prediction is that Trump running in 2024 will most likely be a loser, and the Dems will paint the GOP as the party of violence and no.

    2) Abortion-We white older males mostly did not consider this to be a driver. But the young and middle age suburban women sure did. GOP did underestimate this. You are correct in your assessment.

    3) GOP came out with their state abortion policies too soon and should have let the issue die down, because it was dying down! They resurrected it by all of these policy court battles and hype. And the Dems knew their opponents would do this. Back to Dems being political prostitutes and GOP being useful idiot enablers! Those court challenges played right into Dem hands.

    4) GOP overestimated people would vote based on the economy. Problem is we are seeing an economy unlike any before where inflation is runaway but there are two jobs for every unemployed person. So people in general are willing to suffer the inflation when they are employed and at least able to make ends meet. They simply limit discretionary spending. People who want to work have jobs, wages are up, and their 401Ks/markets are still doing ok. Unemployment and lack of income and significant market drops are much bigger drivers than inflation, and these were not present in their minds. Biden knew this and did have this wisdom that even many in his party did not have, so do not feel bad that you missed it.

    5) Biden also knew that even if his student loan forgiveness program was put on hold or shot down, it would have a lot of traction among young voters. And it did! They came out for the free goodies. Young voters are much more socialist leaning or at least sympathetic, so the Dem message of horrible GOP taking away their goodies greatly resonated with them as much as if you took away their iPhones that grow out of their ears.

    6) Historical statistics was illusory at best. People do not care about statistics and most are not concerned or knowledgeable about how they work. Just because the historical stats say one thing, does not mean that one thing will happen this time. The other side of any statistic was not considered by the GOP, but the Dems were banking on it because they knew the conditions were different – GOP failed to see it. As a Mathematics teacher and Independent, I never believed it would be a red wave but was a bit surprised by the level of Dem successes.

    7) Border issues, war in Ukraine, national debt, energy policy were not that important this time around. But this too shall pass. What the GOP needs to realize is that in the future, midterm elections may be about the ruling party’s success, but will for sure be all about domestic issues and what does the most good for the most people.

    8) Dems were fairly successful at painting the GOP as the party of violence, anti-abortion, Christian fundamentalism, anti-student without actually saying it, and party of endless investigations. They were able to do this because of far right policies, big mouths like Lake and Trump, and countless messages on all of the impeachments and investigations they will have when they come to power in 2023. GOP does not know when to shut their mouths. The Senate race failures with Legislature successes say that the soul of America is in favor of a few key investigations but has no stomach for more impeachments and two years of nothing getting done. Americans said “we want a balance of power, not a fight for power.” And so they let the Senate remain Dem while flipping the Legislature in an effort to put the brakes on bad Biden and GOP policy.

    I think the silver lining in the 2022 election is that it is now pretty clear where the soul of America lies. It is no longer slightly right of center. It is now slightly left of center, and a new generation of voters will matter bigtime, and so will Independents matter more. GOP cannot win without seriously modifying and softening its positions, as well as understanding the Independent voting block and the under 30 years old voter block.

    Don’t take it too hard Larry, you will have another chance to be right in 2024.

    Reply
  3. Papa Bear

    ‘How could I be so wrong?” Simple, you forgot about the demo-rats large network that comes up with new and various ways to cheat and rig elections. Look what happened in Florida where they now have a special police unit to make sure that cheating does not get a chance to change results of the true election counts. Seems like a good idea for the other 49 states to follow Florida’s idea on hat one. Maybe then we could once again have honest and fair elections in this country.

    Reply
    • BibFy

      Yeah, Florida has fraud police so there must be fraud. No holes in that logic. Actually, it looks like all of the first arrest will be turned over and released. The second arrest are like ours, don’t look behind the screen, they say they have tapes, but no one has seen them. Yeah, no holes in their logic. It’s not like desantis just wants some national press.

      Just because someone cries wolf does not mean the wolves are at your door.

      Reply
    • frank stetson

      Turns out that DeSantimonious has been quietly weaponizing voter fraud as a political stunt to impress the nation. PBear is a good example, he is impressed.

      First, he focused on felons voting which may or may not be illegal in FL depending on status. His first sting of 20 were all felons, many of whom were given voting cards indicating they had voting privileges, they voted, and then were arrested. Unfortunately for Desantimonious, FL law calls for this to be a willful act and most have stated they got the card, they just didn’t know. One has been let go, it’s expected all will be let go.

      Meanwhile, at the same time, Desatan quietly produced a form that all on probation must sign. The form notes: ““By signing this letter,” you agree that you are solely responsible for determining if you are legally able to register to vote and that you must solely determine if you are lawfully qualified to vote.” This provides the evidence needed to prove a willful illegal act. Or is it a trap to first have the state give them a voting card, have them sign this form without informing the risk and the fact that the state mails out voting cards in error, and then arrest them upon voting with this form being the proof needed to convict as a willful act. Point is no one can understand what they did, the form does not illuminate, it’s a trap.

      That’s DeSantimonious for you: tell you it’s legal, let you do it, and then arrest you for a perp walk and national press. That’s the primary intent. He’s just Trump in a better fitting suit.

      As a bonus, even felons who are legally allowed to vote are staying away from the polls in Florida, and that’s good for DeSantis.
      The bottom line: Desantis told these people they could vote, then he arrested them for it, and Florida spent $1.1M to hire 15 voter fraud police to provide this DeSantis campaign advertising moment.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/08/us/politics/florida-election-police-budget.html

      On 10/26 Desantimonious’ fraud team referred a voter harvesting scheme for criminal investigation. This time they have a Democrat, who lost her election, file written testimony that she has been monitoring this illegal voting scheme for decades. She has video tapes. So, they have the testimony, they have the tapes, they have referred it to FL Dept of State for investigation and for the last month: crickets. Seems funny that they have video and the public has not heard a peep for a month. Especially for a guy who loves the limelight and this one is red hot. Not exactly a bang-up return for FL’s taxpayer’s $1.1M.

      Time will tell but for the moment, it appears that DeSantis’ voter fraud team has lukewarm results. If fraud is everywhere, these boys suck pond water. Voter turnout for 2022 may turn out to be lower than expected in FL, bucking national trends, and even more depressed for Democrats. Perhaps Desantis’ real goal of his voter fraud SS team is becoming apparent: suppressing the vote favors Republicans.

      Reply
  4. Tom

    One last thought on something I think that backfired on the GOP. The constant picking on Biden, his age, and his cognitive abilities. While it may be true that he has some cognitive impairment, the constant barrage of comments by the GOP on his aging, supposed dementia, and how he is “unfit” combined with the plethora of conservative news articles sent to us was way to much for we aging Independents. In the beginning a few comments to heighten our awareness was acceptable. But all of the comments about Biden using cards, Biden not knowing where he is going because his mind is gone, and Biden being to old for office and should be impeached just turned off many of us because we are in the same boat, just a different deck. And so the GOP appeared as the party of “anti-aging”, and, their right wing pundants and article writers helped greatly in fermenting this opinion. And this was complimented by the Dem accusations that the GOP was interested in slashing Social Security. While neither was really a voting issue, it made us feel that the GOP was not the party for older Americans as defined by the Older Americans Act. It added to the negative narrative and the GOP never addressed this narrative which made many of us think it might be true.

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Bruder

      There has been no evidence of Biden having any impairments, physically or mentally. In fact, he has shown great skill in his job. Trump made many more gaffes, constantly told provably-false lies, said hateful things about groups of people, wandered around aimlessly, tripped going up slight inclines, cozied up to Putin and other authoritarians, and even exposed military secrets publicly.

      Add to that, the Republicans has no platform. No ideas to help the economy, have unilaterally blocked most of what Biden tried to do, and represent a continuation of the policies of the Trump administration. Obama created 8 years (plus two more into Trump’s term) of job growth. Trump ended that trend, and the economy instability started before COVID and only got worse with Trump’s mishandling of the crisis. The economy eventually reacted to the Trump tax cuts for the rich, and it was followed up by blatant corporate greed in Biden’s first two years. And as soon as Biden got elected, the employment trend that Obama started came back. That’s pretty clear evidence that Trump and Republicans screwed up.

      The economy isn’t as bad as Republicans said. People are still working, there is still job growth, GDP growth, and salaries are rising. Yes, there is inflation, and it does hurt some lower-income people. Democrats support programs to help those people, while Republicans fight against them. Inflation can also help some people – salaries grow faster than mortgage debt, for example, making it easier to pay off loans. And if you look at historical data, the economy has consistently done better under Democrats than Republicans. Republican calls to end Social Security and Medicare (and especially without any replacements) are heartless and unthinkable, and certainly didn’t help in the elections. It was only proposed by a few of the far-right Trump Republicans, but that is currently the dominant wing of the GOP, and that brush tarred all Republicans.

      In the end, I think more people saw that Democrats are addressing problems, while Republicans are causing them. It was a major repudiation of Trump-style right-wing authoritarian governance. It’s good to see Larry admit to a mistake, but I’d wager that he’ll never admit that Republican-style conservatism is the real problem, and that Democrats have a better approach to the economy (and everything else). He’s still stuck in the days of 1960’s Chicago politics, and won’t admit that the Democrats and Republicans have totally swapped ideologies. It’s the Democrats doing the best for people, and Republicans with hate-mongering racism and blatant election stealing (despite trying to blame Dems).

      Reply
      • larry Horist

        Joseph S Bruder …Your writings never seem to be original, as if you do not have any any objective critical thinking skills. You seem to merely be parroting the political narratives you acquire from Democrats and MSNBC . And political narratives by their nature are propaganda. You are correct about one thing, I do maintain my limited government/personal freedom conservative values. Other than that you recent screed is just more echo chamber bs.

        Reply
        • Joseph S. Bruder

          I guess my echo chamber was more accurate than yours.

          Reply
  5. Mike F

    Larry, Those of us who read you regularly know how you could be so wrong, you usually are… However, in this case, much of what you said is generally true, however you did not pick up on the real reason that Republicans did not do well in this election. Being the party of ignorance, they fielded awful candidates. This election there were more awful candidates than usual (hard to believe), but you had a situation where in many instances your failed former President was the deciding factor of who would prevail in the primaries, and he made his choices based on who kissed his ass the best, as opposed to any real qualification for office. That is good enough for the primaries and base voters, but when it comes to the general election, the candidate needs to appeal to a broader group of people. So, that explains why people you mention, Dr Oz, who was seen as a carpetbagger with no real plan for the people, and Kari Lake, who, like her idol DJT, trashed John McCain, lost their races. I would hope that the Republican Party will someday wake up and realize that there are some intelligent people that happen to be conservative that perhaps they should elect to office (Kinzinger and Cheney come to mind), but with the crazy people like MTG, Boebert, Gaetz, Gym Jordan, Herschel Walker on the current ticket, I am doubtful that will happen anytime soon….

    Reply
    • Tom

      You bring up several good points. 1) Quality of candidate. 2) Success in a primary is not necessarily an predictor of success in a general election. Especially when there is an elephant in the room that is selecting candidates to “pre-stack” the deck for his run in 2024. Amazing that Trump complained about rigged 2020 election yet it seems that he was rigging 2022 primaries. Good point!

      Reply
  6. Jimmy Falcon

    All of you left out one truly bad factor that affected the last two elections. THE EVIL LYING MEDIA that is God-less and since 95% of it is leftist, conservatives have to fight twice as hard. They had Big Tech and corrupt government agencies lying for them and censoring conservatives. In 2024 the Dems won’t have Twitter to help them and conservatives will have a more level playing field. I hope that a Red Wave truly happens in 2024 otherwise our children, economy and society will suffer great losses and turmoil. Many of us believing Christians see the collapse of the current world systems as a biblically predicted inevitability, but we can at least try to slow down the decay. Getting control of the house was helpful, but getting the WH in 2024 is even more important. This is why I believe the chaos of elections since 2016 has been virtually unpredictable. Pundits have continued to be wrong because they are God-less in attitude, disposition, and have lost nearly all their credibility. The truth can stare them straight in the face and they would rather lie to the public. Again, the Mainstream Media is the enemy of democracy. The Democrats choose them over the public EVERY DAY. The public has gotten used to the lying for so long (6 decades) that they unwittingly choose to hate people that tell them the truth. I believe it’s called Mass Information Psychosis. Every great empire in the history of the world has fallen when they stand against truth and integrity. If we don’t convince our young people that they will destroy the nation if they stay hypnotized by an evil lying Media, then only Christians will find true peace because God will rescue us from the global Apocalypse that will most assuredly engulf this entire planet a lot faster than they could ever imagine. I wouldn’t want to be stuck here with them when (literally) all hell breaks loose. It’s gonna get ugly beyond comprehension. They can’t say they haven’t been warned. We’ve been warning people about it for several decades.

    Reply
    • Clifford mckinney

      Voter fraud is still around.

      Reply
      • Bibfy

        And his name is Don

        Reply
    • larry Horist

      Jimmy Falcon … you are not wrong about the untoward influence of the left=leaning media. I think that is a major problem — and Fourth Estates who is part of the liberal Democrat apparatchik (<– Using the work in the figurative sense.)

      Reply
      • Bibfy

        Don’t you mean fox news?

        Reply
  7. Ac

    Larry,
    All the political pundits, pollsters, talking heads in media, and wishful thinking Christian nationalists failed. Some, like yourself, were over the top giddy over the prospect your predictions were probable.
    It was so partly because of the rationale you listed. Mostly, you failed in your considering that We, the people, in a majority actually do have a brain. We were taken for a mass of easily hoodwinked nitwits.
    Professional pundits pride themselves on prognostications in the past having coincidentally lined up with the real world’s events. You say, your predictions were sought after for your inerrant track record. But, you and others in your line have not factored in the fact that this country is in an unprecedented social disruption. Change has come to every factor and function previously relied on by forecasters in sciences as varied as weather and politics, agriculture and medicine, media and education (pre-K through University). How long has it been since your study has objectively taken a hard long look at society lacking bias in all forms, political, economical, in philosophy neither conservative, moderate, or liberal progressive. This new vision is pure agnosticism in previous beliefs ; no agenda, no pretense of great knowledge or understanding formerly trusted.
    A virus driven fear shut down normal functioning society. Whether the full extent of a lockdown, as that government mandated, was warranted or not will be argued by generations without finding an answer, definitive.
    As a regular reader of your blog, I believe your opinion is, the lockdown was unnecessary to the extent it was carried out. The reality is not to be ignored, the virus spread, grew, changed, and continues to the present day. Not even those scientists keeping watch know what the virus has or will mutate into next. It a serious threat to public health. One that all people wish was gone and behind humanity. This theory that COVID is done, masking is senseless, vaccination is government over reach, all promulgated and spread by the Republican-right. You speak of propaganda creation on the left. Not so, for the right and MAGA Republicans are beyond masters at propaganda invention’s double mendacious quality, disinformation and misinformation.
    In sum: moving on entails living in this world changed and in many disciplines unrecognizable from the world as it was before March 2020. Ignoring facts central and controlling by each one department’s inter connectivity began early on and has not abated.
    Different sciences and expert analysts within each are not speaking across professional department boundaries. Why has no comparative analysis across disciplines been initiated? You, who claim professional creds in economics, politics, American political history, and commentator of record, rely too heavily on old assumptions, patterns formed as random coincidences.
    These last almost three years have shown the meaning and consequences of an unprecedented succession of inter dependent events causing outcomes equally under represented in the record.
    Over selling your hand came about from non-wholistic assumptions you and others amassed over half a century that did not hold in 2022.
    What now? How many preconceived notions are no longer sustainable? Under estimating how valuable a wide perspective is is loss of true context. This, too, has significant consequences. Out of context all issues become no more than fiction.

    Reply
  8. frank stetson

    Bully for you Larry to admit this. I like the article. I did not guess, I thought there were too many variables. Especially the younger vote which is always variable, but more so in the midterms.

    My point is simple: on all accounts, from all of history, based on the concept of “are you better off,” it was yours to lose and you lose it.

    You had really bad candidates endorsed by a really bad ex-President that you claim is in the rearview but seems more present today than yesterday. Reap what you sow..

    But we did not win either. We barely took out the most offensive but could not shake many, if any, incumbents. We did not beat you, we held on.

    Both our teams got real time messages from the voters and both our teams better address them quickly for 2024. We do not have a Presidential candidate. If Biden runs, it’s a mess. If he does not mentor/endorse, its a mess. Given our status, I would not be surprised to see the impossible — a return of Hillary for a try at it. Progressives are not happy, and they will be unhappier with less action, a possible drop of the student loan program, and the next two years. We need to work all of this real hard, plus our REAL problem, Republican control of rural and Southern areas. We are losing the working class.

    You to have issues, the first is Trump. Good luck, but just saying he’s in the rear view has not got you to where you want to be. And then how do you attract new Republicans while the white supremacists and maga extremist’s have say in your party. Good luck again.

    Reply

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