Newsweek reported that former President Donald Trump was “disappointed that he is not receiving enough ‘congratulations or praise'” regarding his “Republican successes” in the midterm elections. To call that report tone-deaf is an understatement. There were no Republican successes in the 2022 midterms; it was an abject disaster on every front.
The 2022 midterms will join history as one of the only midterm elections where the party holding the White House over-performed expectations or gained seats in Congress. With their victory in the Nevada Senate race, Democrats have ensured they will control the Senate. The Georgia run-off election will be about how large their margin will become.
Republicans lost nearly everywhere.
On the House side, votes are still getting counted out west. Republicans are projected to reach a slim margin. Still, given their underperformance, it wouldn’t be shocking if Democrats walked out with House control either. For a party to send a country into recession, forty-year highs in inflation, a disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan, and so much more, to maintain the possibility of complete control of the government is the definition of a disaster for the opposing party.
Republicans failed at every level. Senator Rick Scott, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the arm of the Republican effort to win Senate races, was too busy trying to challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell to focus on winning. Multiple reports detailed how he was laying the groundwork to challenge McConnell. But as Politico now reports, that effort is over as Scott lost a potential Senate majority.
On the House side, it’s a similar story. Different Representatives were jockeying to replace Nancy Pelosi; however, there’s no guarantee Republicans have won enough seats even to have control over the House. By way of example, Republicans won the House seat in Washington’s 3rd district in 2020 by 13 points. A Trump-endorsed challenger, Joe Kent, ousted the incumbent Republican in the 2022 primaries and then proceeded to lose a red district, swinging it to Democrats by more than 13 points.
There’s no other way to put it: the 2022 midterms were a total disaster for Republicans. There’s nothing to praise on a national level.
The lone bright spots.
That general story is not true in places like Florida, New York, and to a lesser extent, Virginia. Lee Zeldin ran a heroic campaign in New York, making it possible for Republicans to make gains across the Empire state. Governor Ron DeSantis delivered a historic beatdown to Florida Democrats, turning Democratic strongholds into Republican gains. And in Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin made Republicans competitive at the House and state levels.
Outside those examples, however, victories are slim to none. If Trump wants accolades, he can take this one: Republicans lost because voters who disapproved of Biden couldn’t pull the lever for Trump-aligned candidates. It was a consistent theme in exit polling and election data everywhere.
Voters told us who they couldn’t vote for.
Take a look at Georgia, a very tight election. Exit polling showed that voters who somewhat disapproved of Biden “backed Republican Brian Kemp over Democrat Stacey Abrams in the gubernatorial race by 16 points, 57%-41%. But in Georgia’s Senate race, they preferred Raphael Warnock over Herschel Walker, 50%-44%. That’s a 22-point swing.”
A similar story was found in New Hampshire and Nevada, “[NH] GOP Gov. Chris Sununu easily won these voters (59%-39%), but so did Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan (72%-25%). In Nevada, GOP gubernatorial nominee Joe Lombardo carried them (52%-40%), but so did Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (47%-44%).”
Nowhere was this clearer than in Pennsylvania, where Trump stepped into the governor’s race to push an unelectable troll in Doug Mastriano. He so underperformed that he single-handedly helped drive Democrats higher. Republican voters in Pennsylvania balked at voting for Mastriano, which pulled Dr. Oz’s campaign downward.
Put in simpler terms: a generic Republican won their race. Candidates that Donald Trump pushed and praised in primaries lost. Republican candidates who received both Trump’s endorsement and Democratic donations lost overwhelmingly.
Give Trump the credit he demands.
This is the disastrous landscape that Donald Trump is demanding credit. I say let him have it. He can have this failure. Republicans have a clear path forward in Florida. Ron DeSantis is challenging teacher’s unions, woke capitalism, and more in Florida and winning landslide majorities. Glenn Youngkin is doing the same in Virginia and getting high grades.
We should note that Donald Trump is busy attacking DeSantis and Youngkin for all their work to elect fellow Republicans. Trump is attacking winners while begging for accolades.
Participation trophies are for liberals. Election results don’t care about your feelings. A political party that wants to remain relevant has to win. Period.
Republicans are losing under Trump’s influence. Trump is welcome to make the case that this was an aberration, but there are no accolades to be had. I’d have respected Trump more if he could admit the obvious: 2022 was a disaster.
If you’re the out party in a midterm election, winning seats should be a layup in American politics. Republicans failed to do that last week. The person responsible for that is demanding accolades. Republicans do not have time to soothe egos; 2024 will be here faster than you can blink.