There is no way to sugarcoat the fact that Republicans were duped in the midterm elections. The race ratings from the Cook Political Report, the overconfident statements from GOP leaders, and all the polls that we reported showing Republican candidates gaining ground in the closing days of their campaigns were all significantly overly optimistic about what we all saw unfold on Tuesday night.
Although there were some GOP successes, like those of Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio in Florida, J.D. Vance in Ohio, Ted Budd in North Carolina, Brian Kemp in Georgia, and Jen Kiggans in Virginia, conservatives were given a misleading impression by the individuals in charge of securing GOP majorities. The worst offenders and those who owe the Republican electorate the most explanations are likely those who promise huge achievement in an effort to consolidate power, in a drapes-measuring move, and in the hopes of securing a leadership role in a new Republican majority.
They include Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Rep. Tom Emmer, Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Sen. Rick Scott, Chairman of the National Republican Senate Committee, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Leader of the House Republicans (R-CA).
There’s no reason Republican candidates should have performed as poorly as they did in an election year that favored Republicans solely because it was the first midterm of the Biden administration, an advantage that should have been helped by a president with a historically low approval rating, inflation above 8%, escalating crime and drug overdose crises, a wide open border, and so many other factors.
What gives, then? To take its campaign for Hispanic voters to the local level, the Republican National Committee invested money and personnel in localities. However, after winning a special election earlier in 2022, Republicans like Rep. Mayra Flores lost their general election contests.
McCarthy, the House GOP leader, was running for Speaker of the House while attempting to create a red tsunami, but it never materialized. In a GOP-led Congress, NRCC Chair Tom Emmer was attempting to establish himself as the House Majority Whip. However, he and the committee he oversaw merely managed to secure enough seats to put someone in charge of the party.
The national GOP political machine is also inextricably linked to the former president, who, prior to the election, disseminated a letter exaggerating the number of rallies, candidate endorsements, funding totals, and primary victories for which he claimed responsibility.
J.D. Vance’s victory in Ohio was possibly Trump’s largest victory on election day. Losses for his candidates, however, including those for Oz, Walker, Bolduc, and many others raise concerns about his role in selecting candidates and guiding them to victory in the primary, something he has frequently boasted about.
Since Trump endorsed primary candidates who won, the rest of the GOP apparatus invested time and resources in those contests, but it is all a result of Trump (and in some cases, Democrats who backed the same candidates in a now proven theory that those candidates would be easier to beat).
Trump and the GOP establishment are not completely to blame for this problem, but it is impossible to separate the two. Nevertheless, Trump won’t be the one to accept responsibility for what happened on Tuesday, especially given that his event set for next Tuesday is anticipated to be a 2024 presidential campaign announcement. Consider Don Bolduc’s defeat, for which Trump disclaimed any involvement in the result in New Hampshire and instead placed the blame on Bolduc himself, saying that he “lost tonight when he disavowed, after his big primary win, his longstanding stance on Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Primary.”
So who will bear responsibility and where will the true answers come from? It is obvious that Trump will not accept responsibility for the results or acknowledge any problems that may have resulted from his selections. Will the RNC provide a post-mortem report, like it did after 2012, highlighting the areas where the party thought it fell short? Will Tom Emmer provide an explanation for what transpired and why, like stealing candy from a kid, he failed to provide a strong GOP majority during a cycle that should have seen Republican seat flips? Will Rick Scott give an explanation for why the Senate map didn’t turn out the way polls predicted in the last few weeks? Why did Republican candidates fail to win the 52-seat majority he had anticipated one week prior to the election? Will Kevin McCarthy provide an explanation for why his Newt Gingrich-like “Commitment to America” failed to sway voters as he had predicted? Why didn’t his efforts as House GOP Leader and a campaigner help his party achieve a sizable majority? His prolonged absence from his election night celebration implies that he is not yet prepared to take responsibility for what occurred.
Following Tuesday’s shocking results, Republican voters owe them all answers to these queries. No one thought that President Biden and Democrats’ “Democracy is on the ballot” was a winning argument, but it appeared to prevail against what Republicans were putting forward as their closing argument. Voters, who according to exit polls in crucial states, are incredibly unsatisfied with Biden’s policies, didn’t even name “democracy” as one of their top concerns. However, the Republican arguments on the economy, national security, and law and order did not result in victories.
It’s time for Republican voters to learn the truth as the aftermath of Election Day settles.