No red wave … but a few silver linings for GOP
There was not a lot of good news for the Grand Old Party this election day, but even in the face of unexpected losses, there are a few silver innings … maybe.
Perhaps the most important silver lining for the GOP is the probability (at this time) of winning control of the House. I say that based on the likely outcomes of the remaining races. For sure it was not the big – or even typical – off-year election for a first-term President. And way below what one might expect when the popularity of the President and the paucity of popular issues were working against the guy in the White House.
Regardless … taking control of the House (with the Senate still a possibility) is a huge victory. This means President Biden must now compromise with Republicans to get anything done. Republicans now have the powers over the purse, the ability to initiate or stop legislation, AND the ability to investigate. And they can prevent the passage of any more of the radical left agenda. That is a HUGE silver lining.
Why it was not a larger victory in the House for soon-to-maybe-be Speaker Kevin McCarthy is academic. The politicos can study and analyze and adjust future plans – but control is control. Speaker Pelosi will not hold the gavel in the next Congress.
At this writing, there is still a remote chance that the GOP may take control of the Senate WITHOUT Herschel Walker in Georgia. Republican Adam Laxalt is likely to win the Arizona seat and the Nevada seat is a toss-up If the GOP wins that one, they have control of the Senate regardless of the Walker race – although that may not be the case by the time you are reading this..
The sun also rises – in Florida
Republicans in the Sunshine State of Florida basked in political sunlight on Election Day. Unfortunately, the red wave that rolled through Florida collapsed as soon as it hit the Georgia border. It seemed as if Florida was not even part of the election cycle that was playing out in the rest of America.
Governor Ron DeSantis not only defeated his Democrat opponent, but Charlie Crist also – he crushed him with a landslide victory. DeSantis won with an almost 20-point lead over the former Republican … independent … and now Democrat Crist. And this is a Governor who won his first race four years ago by barely one percent.
DeSantis was developing a national reputation as a presidential contender even before his recent election victory. This now places DeSantis in the lead for the 2024 Republican nomination. Yes … even ahead of Trump – whose investment value has dropped significantly
In Val Demings, Democrats had a more appealing candidate than Crist. Regardless, incumbent GOP Senator Marco Rubio crushed her by more than a 15-point margin. The Florida red wave flowed through the state with Republicans winning most of the major races.
I have always contended that President Trump’s hardcore base is less than the 30 or 40 percent some pundits claim. I have put it closer to 15 percent of Republican voters in previous commentaries. I think that bottom is further eroding after the election results. He created a cadre of Trump candidates. They followed his lead in constantly questioning the outcome of the 2020 election. Democrats and the media tagged them as a band of “election deniers” who would steal future elections. Not only did they not dissuade voters of those claims, they often seemed to embrace them.
While they were election deniers for sure, I do not think they were threats to future elections — but that is an academic argument of little import today. Democrats labeled them and they did not effectively refute the accusations.
(Folks who follow my commentaries would know that I repeatedly advised GOP candidates against saying anything about the past election. It is over and done. But Trump wanted HIS candidates to reaffirm his own obsession with 2020. They did … and they lost.
Once again, Trump has proven to be unpopular with most Americans – and even most Republicans. He had a spectacular win in 2016 but frittered away all of his and the GOP’s advantages with his crappy pugnacious personality … his mendacious nature … erratic behavior. . He lost the House in 2018 – and the Senate and presidency in 2020.
(I know some will jump on me for saying Trump lost in 2020. As I see it, if your opponent is sitting in the Oval Office after all the court challenges and other actions to legally change that outcome, you lost … period. Even if one believes that the election was stolen … Biden, not Trump, was sworn in as President.)
It is time for Trump to retire from the pursuit of elective office and attend to his business and the myriad of legal problems. If he does not do that voluntarily, I feel certain that other candidates (does DeSantis come to mind?) will replace him – and the majority of GOP voters will go with the alternative.
Trump has promised an important announcement in a few days. If he announces another run for President, he has not learned a lesson. The man will not even carry his home state of Florida. His choice seems to be to abandon any effort to return to the White House (with some level of dignity) or be humiliatingly defeated … rejected … for the last time.
If you wonder why I see the political demise of Trump as one of the silver linings, you have not been paying attention to my writings. I have never been a fan of Trump. I publicly stated that I would not vote for him in a GOP primary — as I did not in 2016. In a previous commentary, I opined that DeSantis should definitely enter the race for President – even if Trump is a candidate. And that was before DeSantis’ impressive showing in this election. I did not believe Trump could beat DeSantis in the past – and I certainly do not think so now.
The results of the Midterm Election were disappointing for Republicans – but far from a disaster. Some of that disappointment is deserved but some is based on excessive expectations. A Democrat winning for governor of New York … or an incumbent Senator in New Hampshire … should not have come as any surprise. Perhaps it would have been different to some extent with a red wave, but there was no red wave – only a few important silver linings.
So, there ‘tis.