We’ve heard it a lot lately, namely that the 2022 midterm elections will be much closer than originally anticipated and initial predictions regarding the formulation of a “red wave” were not only premature, they may end up flat out wrong.
The always insightful Tucker Carlson opened his show last Thursday evening with a no BS assessment of what Republicans have been doing to potentially blow this year’s historic opportunity to wrest congressional power away from the Democrats, and it’s hard to argue with the Fox News host’s conclusion that the GOP is screwing up in a big but typical way. Carlson highlighted the Republicans’ missteps in two very winnable statewide races – in Georgia and Pennsylvania – and also featured a clip of the walking dead Mitch McConnell complaining to constituents about “candidate quality” as part of the reason why Democrats may retain control of the senate after November.
“Senate races are just different. They’re statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” McConnell explained to a gathering in his home state of Kentucky.
Gotta love the man’s confidence, don’t ya? If I didn’t know better, which I do, it appears as though ol’ capitulating “Cocaine Mitch” is already preparing his concession speech for election night in a couple months, getting juiced for his late evening phone call to “Chucky” Schumer offering to cooperate on as much of Joe Biden’s agenda as the conservatives in his caucus will allow. Carlson suggested that Mitch doesn’t give a lick about winning elections as long as he gets to remain leader of the upper chamber Republicans. And it’s hard to argue with that assertion.
At any rate, before any panic button is pushed it’s important to remember that it’s only late August, the traditional post-Labor Day campaign season is yet to begin and there’s still a chance to turn things around in the various political trouble spots before all hope is relinquished. But it’s also time to get moving on setting a positive – and aggressive -- direction.
In a story titled, “GOP Senate runs appear to struggle in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin”, Susan Ferrechio reported at The Washington Times:
“Once favored to win back the majority in the Senate amid a wave of dissatisfaction with President Biden and Democratic governance, it’s now looking more likely that Republicans could lose seats and solidify the bare majority Democrats now hold.
“Cook Political Report, which provides a nonpartisan analysis of House and Senate races, downgraded the chances of the GOP flipping the Senate from ‘at least 60%’ to a toss-up, with the possibility Democrats will add to their existing majority. Senate Republican races are struggling in contrast to the House GOP, which is poised to retake the majority by perhaps as many as two dozen seats.
“Cook Political’s Senate analyst Jessica Taylor, explaining the Senate GOP downgrade in an Aug. 18 update, said ‘weak, divisive candidates in many key races’ may be to blame, and that Republican insiders now fear that ‘despite a favorable political climate and history that shows they should be able to net at least one seat to break up the 50-50 logjam — their efforts to win back Senate control will fall short even as Republicans easily flip the House.’”
Far be it from me to point out that the Cook Political Report and various other polling operations make their money by accumulating survey data, interpreting what it means, running it through (supposedly) objective scientific formulas and then producing a conclusion that the consumer of the information can either feel confident about or dismiss as flawed conjecture.
Judging by the poor record of the polling industry in the past couple decades, I would take everything the “experts” say with a grain of salt – better make that a pound of salt. After all, if the pollsters had been correct, Hillary Clinton would be finishing the second year of her second term as president and the Republicans wouldn’t have picked up so many senate seats in 2014. Those are just two examples.
Here in Virginia, I recall how longshot Republican establishmentarian Ed Gillespie came within one point of upsetting Senator Mark Warner in 2014 despite different polls showing the incumbent well ahead beyond the margin of error. These types of “surprises” seem to happen more frequently these days, and generally speaking, the deficit always falls on the Republican side. How is that?
I’m not even going to mention how wrong pollsters were in 2016 and 2020. Donald Trump was supposedly so far behind Hillary Clinton and senile Joe Biden respectively that people shouldn’t have bothered showing up at the polls on Election Day. In 2020, Democrats learned their lesson from 2016, however, making sure there were just enough mail-in ballots with only Joe Biden’s name on them to tip the balance in places like, again, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin.
Anyone out there puzzled that it appears to be the same cluster of states this year where Democrats are allegedly pulling away? Why is that?
Normally I would break into my “you can’t trust the polls” spiel here, but it’s really not necessary. The numbers are what they are, and for today at least, let’s take it at face value that Republicans are truly behind in all of these places for the reasons stated by the data crunchers. There are historic as well as systematic explanations for the current ranking. The rationalizations are many:
First, as I indicated above, it’s early. It would be somewhat unnatural for Democrats not to hold leads at this juncture. Early polls almost always skew towards Democrats because the party of big government controls the media, steers the narrative and shapes the messages that average people hear from the biased reporters. The establishment media will bend over backwards to make it sound like the economy is not in recession, Joe Biden is slaying inflation, that electric cars, windmills and solar panels will save the planet, China just wants to sell stuff and the rampant crime everyone sees is just a figment of some Fox News personality’s imagination.
Where are the media reports on the tens of thousands of homeless drug addicts living on the streets of American cities? Or the loads of deadly drugs pouring over the border and the corresponding tens of thousands of overdose deaths? Why isn’t the mainstream media reporting on the real situation at the southern border?
Second, as Tucker Carlson revealed, some Republican senate candidates just aren’t hitting the right issues. Tucker said the only things Republicans should be talking about are crime, illegal immigration and law enforcement. That’s it. These issues are music to the voters’ ears and will steer the election momentum back towards the true proponents of peaceful neighborhoods and safe streets.
Republicans have been put on the defensive of late by Democrat candidates who much prefer talking about Donald Trump’s personality, the January 6 riot, “domestic terrorism”, racism and abortion. There are lots of cultural issues Republicans must emphasize as well, but narrowing down the consequences of the election to “We’ll make you safe, they won’t” is where GOP hopefuls should be at.
Third, the current polls reflect the internal civil war taking place in one of the two major American parties. Hint: it ain’t the Democrats. With the state primaries barely behind us and not a heck of a lot of breaking news to talk about other than what’s happening at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, the Republicans’ different constituencies have not yet consolidated.
This is the point in every campaign where less involved voters pretend to be unsure of whether they’re going to support the GOP contender in the election because they still might be smarting from their preferred candidate losing in the primary. Those individuals will “come home” closer to the day of actual voting when they realize that the alternative means at least two more years of nasally Chucky Schumer pontificating about how ignorant Americans are for preferring gun rights and personal liberties rather than having Democrats decide everything for them.
Meanwhile, the establishment’s gripe over candidate quality is the same one we hear every two or four years when certain candidates in certain states surprise the ruling elites by prevailing over their anointed choice in the primary. At first glance, candidates like Herschel Walker or Mehmet Oz might not seem like good fits in a crucial year, but after a couple more months of campaigning, they’ll win over a lot of the skeptics – again, when pitted against the awful alternatives.
Democrats have a lot of unexplored faults of their own. The message just needs to get out.
Fourth, I believe the “old” polling formulas are flat out wrong because they don’t reflect the new political realities. Much has been written this year about how large numbers of Hispanic voters are migrating away from the Democrats due to the liberal party’s lax immigration policies and tolerance of crime. How could it be, then, that Democrat candidates in Arizona and Nevada are running well ahead of their Republican challengers? It doesn’t make sense. Democrats didn’t suddenly flip a switch and all of the group’s concerns just went away.
Fifth, Democrats have peaked way too early. Ask any candidate whether they’d prefer to be ahead in a poll in August or on the scoreboard on Election Day, and they’ll opt for the latter scenario every time. Let Democrats get complacent all they want. Voters always scrutinize a frontrunner, and here’s thinking they won’t like what they see in liberal, rubberstamp Democrats who advocate for Joe Biden’s agenda. End the filibuster? More of the same? More spending? I don’t see it happening.
As a side note, it’s hard to fathom how Republican governor candidates can be doing so well in Georgia and Ohio and not have the party’s senate candidates performing similarly well next to the Democrat nominees. How can Brian Kemp be leading Stacey Abrams by double digits yet Herschel Walker is said to be behind by double digits? Are there that many ticket-splitters? I don’t believe it.
Lastly, (there are more, but you have to stop somewhere), Joe Biden is still president, and although his average approval rating has inched up a bit recently, the man himself is as incompetent and offensive as he always was. Even Democrats don’t want him to run in 2024. Will liberals turn out in November to elect people to do his bidding? Republicans must wake up and do the necessary work to ensure that every GOP candidate everywhere is well supported regardless of who he or she may be. There’s too much at stake this year to allow the establishment to give this election away to senile Joe, Chucky and Nancy. Trust me on this one, Democrats will accept all the help they’re offered by impotent Republicans.
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