If Republicans cannot win against a near-octogenarian and historically unpopular president who has presided over the worst inflation in four decades, when exactly can they win? That is the question that any conservative trying to explain away the GOP’s absolutely abysmal midterm election performance must ask themselves.
Those who are trying to see the sunny side of Republicans letting Vice President Kamala Harris and her cackle keep control of the Senate for the next two years must understand, statistically speaking, just how anomalously awful the Republican results were. Over the past century, the party in power has won House seats in just three elections and Senate seats in a mere seven. In other words, Democrats had barely a 1-in-4 shot of adding to their Senate majority, and if Arizona incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) bests Blake Masters and Herschel Walker loses the Georgia runoff to incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), the party of “Latinx,” Soros prosecutors, castrating minors, and making the money printer go brr will have beaten the odds, giving the Democrats a lead wide enough that not even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) can rein in their crazy.
If Pennsylvania Republicans cannot beat a stroke victim who once held up an unarmed black man at gunpoint, who can they beat? If Brian Kemp’s nearly double-digit coattails could not carry Georgia’s Republican Senate candidate over the 50% finish line, who else possibly could? In a year where voters in general and independents in particular used every available poll, stock exchange, and credit card limit to scream to the skies that they needed salvation from Democratic rule, a viable electoral alternative, the GOP decided to nominate a reality television star, a former football player who admitted to pointing a gun at his ex-wife, and no-name venture capitalists as the Senate nominees in the most competitive states.
The gubernatorial candidates the party chose were almost as worse. Michigan’s Tudor Dixon branded herself as a businesswoman for working as a grown woman at her father’s company. The result? Democrats now control the state legislature for the first time in 40-odd years. The campaign of Pennsylvania’s Doug Mastriano, a conspiracy theorist whose qualifications include “slavish sycophancy to Donald Trump and his election delusions,” decided to attack Josh Shapiro as being insufficiently Jewish.
The worst part of the Republican performance is that Ron DeSantis and Lee Zeldin proved just how avoidable it was. DeSantis turned Florida into the beating red heart of the country, transforming majority-Hispanic Miami-Dade into a GOP base and delivering crucial House pickups. Though Zeldin ultimately fell short, he came closer to retaking Albany than any other Republican in 20 years, earning the party House pickups in the process.
If Republicans manage to retake the House by the skin of their teeth, you can thank DeSantis and Zeldin. When Democrats allow Biden to remake the judiciary, blame the boss who picked such paltry Senate candidates.
Tuesday’s bloodbath was completely avoidable. The question is how the party will avoid the candidate-quality crisis that cost them the Senate in the future.