Republicans will control the House of Representatives, barely. The instability will require strategic brilliance, which is in short supply.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump wants to run again, but he is done.
Eventually, Joe Biden, who makes a fool of himself, will not run.
China intends to dominate the world, the opening gambit being an increasingly likely invasion of Taiwan. But Biden’s priority for our military remains woke indoctrination, and he inexplicably says that China does not threaten Taiwan. China should be paying reparations for COVID. Yet Biden at the Global Summit won’t even discuss China’s coverup.
Instead, our disoriented president just met with China’s Xi Jinping about “climate change” and then boasted about (supposedly) partnering with the world’s greatest polluter.
So much is at stake for the U.S. and the world, and the disappointing (for Republicans) midterm elections have emboldened Biden, in midlife crisis at age 79, to double down on his destructive policies. Never considered intelligent, now the pathetic Biden is in mental decline, as is apparent when he is televised live, before CNN edits his comments. Thus, Biden remains the ideal vessel for the so-called progressives who dominate our declining culture.
Trump did lose in 2020 because of a stolen election. It was stolen not by the vote-counters but by the dishonest, agenda-driven media — print, broadcast, internet, social — that covered Trump critically and Biden uncritically and discredited or even buried stories (think Hunter Biden) counter to its narrative. But all this now is noise. While Trump’s policies were solid, he lacks credibility, and his self-inflicted wounds are overdone. He is generally being persecuted politically and unfairly, but his possible indictment may be grounded, and friendly media like Fox News may not circle the wagons around him.
Simply highlighting problems is not enough. Republicans nearly succeeded in nationalizing the crime issue but failed, as with inflation, to explain how Democrats caused the problem.
Biden and his neo-Marxist ideologues have torn down America’s heritage, divided our nation by race, brainwashed and sexualized little kids, unsecured our borders, repudiated energy independence, and condoned and enabled violent crime. Biden even nominated a Supreme Court justice who says she believes in women’s rights, but who cannot define a woman. And the once-plausible American Civil Liberties Union gives the Biden administration a pass on its routine infringement of civil liberties. But even Biden’s complicit media could not ignore the sharply rising prices at the gas pump and at the grocery market.
Only 28 percent of U.S. voters said the country is heading in the right direction. So why not a tsunami, or at least a wave election, for Republicans to gain dozens of seats in the House of Representatives and become a tight majority in the U.S. Senate?
We are told of triumphs, such as the unseating of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, which marks the first time in more than four decades that Republicans unseated the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. That last time was a campaign I created in 1980 to unseat 20-year incumbent DCCC Chair Jim Corman. The National Republican Congressional Committee then refused to target his California district (62 percent Democrat; 31 percent Republican, and with unfavorable demographics). When the NRCC belatedly targeted it, it was not to win but to keep Corman occupied in his own district rather than raising money for Democrat target districts around the country.
Beltway Republican leaders don’t create reality. In fact, they are typically behind the curve, as the saying goes, looking in the rearview mirror. They now fail to grasp the paradox that securing independent votes for a Republican means playing down partisanship. In this election, they were spread too thin and thus lost too many close races. Nor did they consider the impact of weak statewide Republican candidates. In contrast, the gains in New York congressional districts reflected Lee Zeldin’s incredible showing, as well as New York’s independent, fair redistricting that provided the margin to take the House. Otherwise, the Democrats would be in control!
The week before the election, I wrote a postelection strategy that assumed major gains to control the House and at least a couple of seats to control the Senate. (Nonetheless, the bulk of that strategy paper still holds.) Yet, as I had reviewed daily the RealClearPolitics compilation of major polls, I never saw consistent “red wave” data. Despite my professional experience of conducting more than 1,500 political surveys, I watched too much Sean Hannity and drank the Kool-Aid. Put another way, I naively assumed Beltway Republicans had internal upbeat tracking polling and real-time turnout models behind all the intoxicating predictions.
Forty years ago, in the 1982 California campaign for governor, George Deukmejian defeated Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, despite polls showing Bradley ahead. The liberal media said polls failed to uncover a prejudice against black candidates, and that myth persists. Actually, Bradley did win on Election Day, but Deukmejian handily won the absentee ballots, tabulated afterwards, and thus won overall. The California Republican Party had quickly adapted after California law changed to allow absentee ballots for any reason, and it mailed to solicit and “bank” absentee ballots. Now, the Democrats dominate non–Election Day balloting, in California and nationally.
Using COVID in 2020, Democrats have made elections a continuing process, with emphasis on mail-in voting and (especially union) ballot harvesting. Government unions seek Election Day holiday to vote and turn out voters. Republicans had two years to get their act together. They didn’t.
The national generic party vote is informative, but not decisively. Much of the Republican advantage likely puffed up numbers in safe Republican seats. Besides, national polls require confirmation, not cheerleading, and only the relevant state or congressional district polls can be dispositive. As I did years ago for absentee ballots cast, polling must allocate for mail-in voters who voted and thus need to be polled; their voter propensity is retroactively 100 percent. Those continuing data are combined, as mathematically appropriate, with polls of those yet to vote, to identify trends and forecast. Until Republicans can change the new rules and protocols (Florida modified some), they must actively pursue pre–Election Day voting, especially mail-in ballots. Banked ballots obviously are certain votes. And polling also failed to account for measurable higher-than-expected Democrat turnout.
On the issues, the biased media implied that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision outlawed abortion when it simply returned the matter to the states, which for nearly a half century was the conservative rationale to reverse Roe. Republicans moved too quickly at the state level, but, worse, Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced federal legislation to limit abortions (though even a Republican-controlled Senate/House would never pass it). Voters juxtaposed the Dobbs decision (“anti-democratic” with a small “d”) with the media hyping Democrat talking points, notably the Republicans’ alleged “threat to democracy” — a phony issue but one that nonetheless animated the turnout of Democrats and appealed to independents.
You do not nationalize an issue that will jeopardize your probability of victory. Abortion was more of a motivating factor for Democrat voters. Review the dominant media, including the major networks and newspapers, to analyze how, through labels like calling Republicans “election deniers,” the media pushed the Democratic Party agenda and raised turnout. It’s time to confront the phony “democracy is on the ballot” catchphrase with the obvious: The authoritarian Biden really argues that if you don’t vote for him and his party, you’re against democracy.
Simply highlighting problems is not enough. Republicans nearly succeeded in nationalizing the crime issue but failed, as with inflation, to explain how Democrats caused the problem and why electing Republicans would make a difference. Republican strategists still don’t realize, as Zeldin showed in New York, that you campaign in New York City to reach the New York City media market — Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties and beyond, just as the crime issue in Los Angeles City reaches its media market, including Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. This is how you reach the target-rich suburbs!
Govs. Glenn Youngkin last year and Brian Kemp and Ron DeSantis this year won great victories because they remained aloof from Trump, who twice cost the GOP control of the U.S. Senate — two years ago in Georgia and now in multiple states. The loss of the Senate majority in 2020 cost the nation trillions of dollars in extra spending and some awful new judges. Trump had discouraged mail-in balloting two years ago. This year he endorsed candidates less likely to win in a general election, then contributed little financially to help them, and his campaigning was primarily about himself. His possible run in 2024 is anathema to the pivotal independent voters. Worse, during the crucial preelection week, he predicted his likely 2024 run. Trump’s choice in Ohio, J.D. Vance, won only because Trump’s nemesis Mitch McConnell deployed nearly $30 million there. Ironically, Trump’s Kari Lake for Arizona governor was a solid candidate who should have won. And Michigan’s impressive Tudor Dixon also failed to reach sufficient independent voters. Independents voted handily for John Fetterman in Pennsylvania and gave the edge to Raphael Warnock in Georgia. Trump candidates emulate Trump in confusing a general election with a Republican primary.
I voted for Trump against Biden and would do so again. I recognize his flaws, but I’m a policy guy. I supported most of Trump’s policies and worked with the administration on criminal justice reform and other matters. But he would never have been impeached if Republicans controlled the House. And given “peace and prosperity” — his successful foreign policy and robust economy — absent his tweets and dysfunctional behavior, Republicans in 2018 might have kept control of the House by a few seats. Back then Trump apologists dismissed his destructive behavior as eccentric (“that’s Trump”); now, it’s admittedly toxic. Republicans should not confront him but simply stand down and ignore him.
Trump won the nomination in 2016 with a plurality in early winner-take-all primaries against a large field of candidates who only dropped out one by one. In 2024, DeSantis will be the alternative, and, unless he stumbles, others will drop out early rather than risk a Trump plurality win. Perhaps the Republican National Committee will repeal the winner-take-all rules, which were originally crafted to give Jeb Bush the nomination in 2016 but instead facilitated Trump’s ascendancy. This almost certainly denies Trump a path to the nomination but also could divide the party for the eventual nominee.
The signature Trump name-calling already backfires, not among the incorrigible Never-Trump Republicans, many of whom morphed into Never Republicans, but among disenchanted conservatives who want it all in 2024 — to claim the Senate, the House, and the presidency.
Nearly 50 years ago, hardly anyone expected that both President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew would vacate their positions. The House speaker needs to demonstrate gravitas and seriousness, as he is second in line for the presidency. Biden will not be the nominee, and a successor would not favor his running mate Kamala Harris, whom Biden’s team will continue to sabotage, risking a convention revolt among black delegates.
With the president unpopular, Republicans wanted 2022 to be a referendum on Biden, not Trump. And, looking forward, the new speaker of the House can praise Trump administration policies but remain agnostic on Trump. But the inexcusably tiny Republican margin in the House provides no cushion for the speaker to preside over a government in exile. Still, Republicans can paint the Senate and Biden as obstructionists. The good news is that some Democrats who barely won reelection may no longer always shill for Biden.
Democrats already have a 50-seat majority in the U.S. Senate, but electing Herschel Walker remains critical. The plainspoken Walker seems more authentic than the polished Warnock, especially among black voters who see the attacks on Walker as a takedown. If Trump stays out of it, and Kemp helps, Walker could win. Perhaps then one or two Senate seats will open up next year, where a Republican governor appoints. Given his preelection tirade against Biden, Joe Manchin likely considered switching parties if Republicans won a majority and offered him a committee chairmanship. If Biden continues to disrespect Manchin and continues his attack on West Virginia coal, and if Manchin fears a Republican challenger in 2024, he could switch parties.
In 2022, Democrats pushed abortion/pro-choice policies and a strategy of scaremongering about threats to democracy/election denial. In 2024, abortion should be a state issue, unless Republicans stupidly nationalize it. And democracy/election denial should finally be off the table. If Trump persists, most Republican candidates will ignore him. The Republican Party, sans Trump, will have a new lease on life in 2024.
Looking ahead, Republicans will antagonize independent voters if their agenda is mainly clumsy investigations, but serious hearings could unearth major scandals, including on COVID policy, especially the long-term effects of mandated vaccinations. Republicans also need to build on their inroads among nonwhite voters. And they need to reach younger voters who will turn out in a presidential year. (READ MORE from Arnold Steinberg: How Conservatives Can Start a Youth Revolution)
Republicans must ensure that Biden is blamed for continued inflation, higher interest rates, a tech meltdown, unemployment, any recession, racial division, culture disintegration, open borders, and foreign-policy debacles, while Republicans get credit for anything positive. There are preemptive ways to do all that and propose alternative policies. Finally, Republicans must create a permanent sentiment of buyer’s remorse among independents who voted Democrat this time.