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Almost everyone, including Democrats, were expecting last Tuesday’s midterm election results to heavily favor Republicans. Many predicted a “red wave” where they would pick up 50-60 seats in the House and 3-4 in the Senate. Joe Rogan said the red wave that is coming will be like the elevator doors opening in the horror film The Shining. Nate Silver from 538, who analyzes all of the major polls and comes up with an average, projected that Republicans had a 84% chance of winning the House and a 60% chance of taking over in the Senate. Five days after the election, both chambers are still in question. The results somewhat defy historical precedents and conventional thinking. The party not in the White House almost always dominates the midterm elections. Voters historically have shown a preference for power to be split between both parties. In fact, there have been only three occasions since FDR where this has not happened. High inflation and a low approval rating for the president made it even more likely that Republicans would win the large majority of contested races. That didn’t happen, and practically everyone is dissecting what actually occurred and why.
I think it will be while before we know for sure, but I can tell you what I hope happened. I hope voters are finally getting tired of the pettiness and hatred that has dominated politics in recent years. Please hear me out before you get all worked up reading the following…I hope this is the beginning of the end of Trumpian politics and candidates on both sides who can only demonize their political opponents. One reason for hope is that candidates endorsed by Trump did extremely poorly. Horribly in fact, but here is a twist…In New York, a solid blue state, where AOC is arguably the most visible elected official, Republicans did very well – winning almost every contested race, and flipping four congressional seats in Long Island and in the suburbs. That seems counterintuitive to most people. In an election where Democrats dramatically out-performed expectations, how can one of the most liberal states in the country be one of the few places where Republicans surpassed expectations? It’s a good question. I think it may be that the great silent majority in the middle is starting to push back. Wouldn’t that be nice. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Republican governor Ron DeSantis from Florida was another standout. He had an amazing night, perhaps fueled in part by his burgeoning rivalry with Donald Trump.
America WAS great, or at least better, when politicians won elections because of their ideas and not because they were more skilled at terrifying their constituents and denigrating their opponents. I think almost everyone would want us to go back to a time when we could disagree, sometimes intensely, and still respect one another. For a while it seemed impossible that we would ever get there again, but maybe something has changed. For the sake of our nation, I certainly hope so…