If you’re a Republican, how do you define victory in this year’s federal midterm elections? For example, would you be contented with just enough House seat takeovers to yank the
Speaker’s gavel out of Nancy Pelosi’s gnarled old fingers and kick her to the backbench in disgrace, or do you want more – much more?
To experience a happy buzz, would you need to hear senile president Joe Biden concede afterwards (like Barack Obama did) that his party received a butt kicking of epic proportions, additionally admit that he caused it all and reverse his recent course by apologizing for calling conservatives “semi-fascists” and insinuating that “MAGA Republicans” were little more than modern day Nazi stormtroopers? Or would you also need to see “Cryin’” Chucky Schumer down on his knees with hands held up to heavens begging for mercy and a token say in what gets introduced on the upper chamber’s bill docket next term?
Would you also require Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer to grovel at the victorious feet of her Republican challenger, Tudor Dixon? Or to enjoy a resounding GOP win in the New York governor’s race?
With only two weeks left until Americans go to the polls to vote for district and statewide candidates and hopefully determine which faction will hold sway in the next Congress, recent polls have consistently shown Republicans with a modest generic ballot edge heading into the home stretch. If political conditions hold between now and November 8, as they should, it certainly appears as though the GOP will do very well.
Without delving into specifics, it looks like Republicans will win more than enough seats to take back the House majority with a somewhat comfortable margin to spare, and though the senate numbers seem to be more up in the air, most past indicators (direction of the country, incumbency, popularity and party of the current president, economic factors, issue preferences) point to a rousing good time for revelers planning GOP election night parties.
For those with long memories, harken back to Election Night 1980 when Ronald Reagan trounced the dour and defeatist Jimmy Carter as well as Republicans flipping a dozen senate seats to earn a GOP majority in the upper chamber for the first time since the mid-1950’s. Americans got a sense then that the awful days of foreign policy weakness and government extravagance were over.
Fourteen years later there was the 1994 election, where the Newt Gingrich-led Republican Party rode the “Contract with America” to a House majority for the first time in nearly two generations, a feat that was considered near-impossible prior to the arrival of Gingrich as GOP leader and the onset of nationwide syndicated talk radio under the guidance of “majority maker” Rush Limbaugh. Folks were giddy as the thrashing was so complete that even sitting Democrat Speaker Tom Foley was defeated for reelection. Could it get any better?
Fast forward to 2010 when, fueled by the formulation and enthusiasm of thousands of local “Tea Parties” and latent citizen anger stored up over the passage of huge government corporate bailouts and the awful Obamacare national healthcare government takeover (horribly mis-labeled the Affordable Care Act), conservatives by the boatload voted to put the Republican Party back in the House majority after just four years of Democrat rule under the tyrannical grip of Madame Pelosi. Then, in 2014, the GOP completed its congressional grab by booting Democrats out of the senate majority.
I recall all of these victories being accompanied by enormous satisfaction and a forlorn hope that government would start working for us rather than us being worked by government. Sadly, it didn’t always turn out that way.
Will this year be another such smashing triumph? Or should we temper our expectations? In a piece titled “Do Republicans Party Like It’s 1994 on Nov. 8?”, the always prescient Daniel J. Flynn wrote at The American Spectator:
“Expectations … matter in politics. One suspects an especially depressing night [for Democrats] even if Democrats keep it close for Michael Moore, for instance, after he recently predicted a blue ‘tsunami’ in ‘Roevember.’ Republicans ignoring the math hamstringing history from repeating itself similarly face a jarring night even if Republicans grab the House and keep the status quo in the Senate.
“Democrats Douglas Schoen and Andrew Stein write a piece titled ‘Brace Yourself for a Republican Wave’ in the Wall Street Journal. What constitutes a wave? By 2010 standards, when Republicans won 63 seats in the House and six in the Senate, 2022 likely does not crash the political shores as a wave. Something closer to 2018, when Democrats netted 39 seats in the House and Senate, seems more likely. Is that a wave? And, more importantly, does it matter what we call it so long as the GOP controls the House and the Senate?
“If Republicans, say, pick up 35 seats in the House and four in the Senate, they eclipse where the party stood in Congress after the 1994 elections. Because they start with more this time around, they do not need to do more to ensure they control more seats. Where the parties end up after the vote, not the number of seats they added or lost on Election Day to get there, ultimately matters most.”
Too true! Conservatives shouldn’t care a lick whether the stolen seat numbers approach those of the previously mentioned elections because Republicans were much farther removed from the political “promised land” back then than they are this year. With a slim 8 seat deficit in the current House (220 D, 212 R and 3 V) and a 50-50 partisan tie in the senate, a relative ripple will trigger the moving of furniture between the minority and majority offices in January -- no wave necessary!
Still, even if Republicans manage slim plus margins in the next Congress, would it really be the same as actual control? As with every new Congress, including the current one, there will always be a few representatives and senators who hover near the middle in order to leverage their votes for more goodies for themselves and their donors from their respective leaders, and these are the ones with real power.
West Virginia’s Joe Manchin took much heat last winter and spring for holding out on the current Democrat “majority”, but he eventually caved to Leader “Chucky” Schumer’s underhanded tactics. On the Republican side, it’s Maine senator Susan Collins, Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski (who is up for reelections this year) and the always undecided Mitt Romney who hold the others hostage to their unpredictable whims.
Republicans need what I call a RINO-proof majority in both houses of Congress to get anything meaningful done. Donald Trump didn’t have it during his presidency and time will tell whether the next GOP president benefits from a more dedicated ideological team to move things along.
What conservatives should pay attention to this year is the quality and ideology of seat-winners and whether the new blood will act as true system disruptors and boat-rockers or merely fall in line behind the stodgy GOP establishment and perpetuate the horrible anti-liberty malaise that’s shackled our government for the past three decades or so.
While it’s true that every couple years constitutes a “change” election, this year, Americans’ desire for a new direction is particularly acute. Voters who hoped giving power to senile Joe Biden and congressional Democrats in 2020 would improve things are profoundly disappointed with the results, namely rampant crime, a dramatic drop in real household income, a “woke” obsession by the Democrat elites and Justice Department partisans that care more about arresting peaceful pro-life demonstrators than tracking down murderers and terrorists.
Enough is enough. A “generic” establishment Republican won’t do it for the electorate. The new wave of GOPers had better come in with ears pinned back, steam coming from their ears and attitudes primed to stick it to the swamp creatures. Or the 2024 election could go badly.
Either way, the establishment media will no doubt make hay over whether the triumphant Republicans were endorsed by Donald Trump, but his say-so is not an end-all, be-all for solid new legislators. Trump may be the undisputed leader of the MAGA agenda and the top dog in the establishment bashing new mindset kennel, but conservatives should be happy with any new face who won’t simply rubber stamp the non-substantive status quo and who arrives in Washington determined to toss the baby out with the bathwater.
Why? Because that proverbial “baby” doesn’t do anything but grow fatter by the day while crying and whining incessantly and making him or herself disagreeable to everyone but his or her parents (in this case, the Washington ruling class).
From a quick glance, Georgia’s Herschel Walker, Arizona’s Blake Masters and Nevada’s Adam Laxalt look to be difference makers in the senate next year if they end up prevailing on November 8. The same with Alaska’s Kelly Tshibaka, who would be a huge conservative upgrade over spineless political hack RINO Lisa Murkowski. Mitch McConnell has been dumping money into Murkowski’s campaign, which offers a gigantic clue as to how much he fears a Tshibaka win.
The new breed of Donald Trump-backed House candidates would also seem to be more reform focused and bent on forcing Speaker-to-be Kevin McCarthy to keep his promises to pass a conservative agenda along with pressing investigations into the corrupt Biden administration, the human diseased federal deep state and various other liberal organizations that made Americans’ lives more difficult in recent times.
There’s a lot riding on the outcome in two weeks, but much depends on whether the best conservative candidates win crucial races to place another nail in the coffin of the Washington DC establishment. It’s not enough for the GOP to simply take back majorities in the House and Senate – without a more complete ideological victory, this year won’t compare to 1994 and 2010.
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