Winners and Losers
We still, the day after, do not know which party will have the majority in each house of Congress. But we do know that this was no rno ed wave, with Republicans sweeping to big time majorities.
I credit myself. Obviously, it was my impassioned plea that got out the vote and produced results that confounded the wisdom of the pundits. Patting oneself on the back is declassee, but all the commentators do it. I may as well too.
Georgia is once again heading into a runoff for one of its Senate seats. That may decide the balance of power in that body. In the House, while the Republicans are favored to take control it appears that it will be by the slimmest of margins, meaning a challenge to Kevin McCarthy for the Speakership and a headache for whoever becomes the Speaker in trying to corral his or her wild herd over the next two years.
So, who wins and who loses? Besides me of course? Joe Biden and the Democrats win by not losing too badly. That bucks the general trend for an off-year election and a party holding the White House. And of course, the Republicans also win. Even with a narrow majority in one house they will be able to play their favorite role of pain in the ass for a Democratic president.
Pro-choice supporters seem to have won in most of the places the issue was on the ballot. According to exit polls, 27% of voters picked abortion as “mattering most in deciding” their vote, coming in second of five choices. Voters in California, Michigan and Vermont all chose to enshrine abortion rights in their state constitutions.
And young people won. In her always insightful column, Professor Heather Cox Richardson notes that the Gen-Z-ers turned out and voted, a fact supported by the exit polls. And they appear to have favored Democrats by a 28-point margin.
Who were the losers? Both Democrats and Republicans again of course. And Donald Trump, who made a lot of noise endorsing his favorites and stumping for Republicans, only to find more of his chosen ones on the losing end of the ticket than on the winning side. The well-respected Politico Playbook writes that Trump had as great an impact, on the negative side, as Biden had on the positive side with his last-minute appeal to democracy and decency.
Trump also loses because of the big, big reelection win for Gov. Ron DeSantis, who beat his opponent in the Florida election by nearly 20 points. DeSantis has succeeded in turning Florida red, a big loss for Democrats, and many Republicans want him to run for president in 2024, against, if he runs, Donnie Trump.
Another Trump enemy, Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, easily beat Democrat Stacey Abrams. Kemp stood up to Trump’s attempts to overturn the results in Georgia in 2020.
If that all wasn’t bad enough for the former president, one of the other winners of the night was Liz Cheney. Both of the Democratic House members she endorsed (Elissa Slotkin in Michigan and Abigail Spanberger in Virginia) won their races, and Lake in Arizona, whom she opposed, is behind as this is being written.
I will have more later, as the picture becomes clearer, but I would not hesitate to say the biggest winners of the night are us. So, pat yourself on the back. We faced the abyss. And stepped back in time.