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"WHA' HAPPENED?" Nine Takeaways from the 2022 Midterms


As I write this, we're probably going to win the House majority, I like Laxalt to win NV and I like Walker's chances in GA in the run-off (will explain). We're actually not that far off from having a pretty decent night, but it just feels like a loss, doesn't it? You have to love the old saying, "Victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan." In the case of the 2022 midterms, however, it is "defeat" that has a thousand fathers.

But let's streamline a few things:

  1. Message. The GOP lacked that ONE BIG IDEA. McConnell was adamant---and quite public---about NOT wanting an agenda. McCarthy had too many ideas and waited too long to release an agenda---if you want to call his "Commitment to America" an agenda, which is being generous. Case in point: McCarthy released his Commitment document after Pennsylvania had already started voting. Embarrassing. Does anyone remember any of it? Double embarrassing. Trump is not running these campaigns. The aforementioned are running these campaigns. I should've known both were going to bite us.

  2. What should the main message have been? Probably this: Instead of running on fighting the nebulous blob known as 'inflation;' it should've been: "We know you're hurting. We're going to cut Joe Biden's spending that no one asked for and doesn't work, and we're going to give you your money back."

  3. Newbie candidates. Webster's defines Newbie as "an inexperienced newcomer to a particular activity." There were A LOT of newbie candidates running in A LOT of places. That's not a deal-breaker if you're running on ONE BIG IDEA. It's the NEWBIE candidate who benefits the most from having ONE BIG IDEA to run on. Otherwise, you're a fish flopping out of water hoping a wave brings you back to sea. Won some. Lost some. That said, these fresh faces are the real deal, and it's something we've been pining for for years. We have to remember that. They'll be back and we should support.

  4. A hopelessly divided nation? I guess, but it's the parties themselves who have drawn these districts to be so ruby red and so sapphire blue that it leaves only about 30 districts out of 435 to fight over. Unless there is a presidential year where a candidate sweeps everyone off their feet (See: Reagan or Obama), we are destined to fight to the death over small House majorities for our lifetimes. It's why I never moved north from my 235 number from a few months back, despite the "momentum." The fact is we won more than we expected in 2020, and less this time, and statistically, we are bound to repeat those feats no matter the politics of the moment. Given these numerical realities, there are going to be years where we fall into the Majority by accident, and out of the Majority, by accident. Past is definitely not prologue where the midterms are concerned.

  5. TRUMP. I understand the knee-jerk reaction to pin defeats on Trump, but I have a tough time blaming a guy whose endorsees went 174-9 last night. Vance doesn't exist without him. Then there's O'Dea in Colorado and Smiley in Washington, both of whom didn't want Trump to help. They both got obliterated. Oz was a huge mistake for sure, but I'm not so sure anyone the Republicans had to offer this year would've won. The Keystone state's process is a total mess. Trump himself could also benefit from having ONE BIG IDEA to define what he wants to do going forward, so that he (and the public!) can judge an endorsee on the commitment to Trump's agenda, rather than judge the candidate on the candidate's loyalty to the man.

  6. What cool thing did Ron DeSantis do today? DeSantis just keeps piling up the positivity, most impressively carrying Miami(!) of all places. Remember though: Nearly 600K people (including a ton of would-be Zeldin voters) have moved to Florida since 2020, making a red state fire engine red. Chris Christie won NJ by 20 points and was declared the 2016 frontrunner, so tread carefully.

  7. Kari Lake. No one captured the movement's attention this year quite like Mrs. Lake. Her numbers are getting better by the hour, so there's still a chance. If she pulls this out, the movement needs to embrace her and help her succeed, particularly with election security reform. She can effectively turn Arizona into Florida-west. Incredible potential for the years ahead.

  8. Abortion. There is quite a lot of chatter that the pro-lifers in certain areas did not show up. I'm attempting to confirm, so I'll reserve judgement. However, it's obvious pro-aborts will show up when abortion is on the ballot (in three states this cycle), and it's documented that there are overtly religious folks in our ranks that are just not showing up, consistently. It's been a problem in previous cycles and it may have repeated itself yesterday.

  9. Libertarians. Lastly, if there is no libertarian in the Georgia race, Walker wins outright. Eliminating the libertarian bodes well for Walker's run-off chances, but...still. Laxalt would be declared the winner by now had it not been for the Libertarian in his race. Every point matters. We must remedy this in the future.

Anyway, those are my fast thoughts. I think we still land the majority in the House by a sliver, and with Walker, might very well get to 51. That's a little short of my predictions, but still in the ballpark. Keep the faith.



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