What an interesting and unpredictable night election night 2022 turned out to be.

There was no red wave. Democrats should breathe a sigh of relief, not celebrate the results.

Whatever the results and the exit polls say, democracy wasn’t on the ballot. The ballot is democracy.

Ever since the election of 1800, when Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams to become the third president of the United States, the party in power has argued that if they lost and the opposition won, it would be the end of the American experiment in democracy. Even after the election of 1860 and the Civil War, they’ve all been wrong.

READ MORE — Rosica + Schillinger: The Pennsylvania GOP is a dumpster fire

Mostly, the results of election night 2022 look like they have for the past couple of decades. 

New York and New England are deep blue. 

Ohio and Florida continue to trend red. 

Only a handful of seats flipped. Incumbency is the “secret” to winning elections. 

America remains a deeply divided nation.

Before all the results are in and without the benefit of reams of exit poll data, some conclusions are apparent.

The United States is facing the highest inflation in 40 years, and cities aren’t safe (Philadelphia reached its 1,000th carjacking for the first time, which happened before Oct. 1). The border is a sieve with illegal immigrants and fentanyl pouring in.

Despite these challenges and a president with some of the lowest approval ratings ever recorded, people voted for the status quo.

I don’t know what themes will come from Democrats’ post-mortem. Will they continue to deny the country’s problems?

On the other hand, I’m clear about what Republicans must conclude; it is time to move on from Donald Trump. 

In the dog days of summer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell grumbled about “candidate quality.” Many of these were Trump-endorsed candidates without political experience, including Dr. Oz, J.D. Vance in Ohio, Gen. Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, Blake Masters in Arizona, and Herschel Walker in Georgia. Despite his misgivings, McConnell’s PAC spent over $238 million on Senate campaigns. 

Trump’s PAC spent just under $15 million — total. 

McConnell directed $32 million to J.D. Vance’s Ohio campaign alone.

Vance won, Masters is way behind, and the Georgia race appears headed for a runoff. The rest of the Trump-endorsed candidates lost. 

Trump doesn’t put his money where his mouth is. He uses his mouth to inflict maximum damage on anybody who doesn’t bow to him — including other Republicans. That violates Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment, “Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republicans.”

Only hours before election results started coming in, Trump warned that he would work to replace McConnell as the Republican Senate leader in 2024. Trump won’t try to unify the party he is supposed to lead. He certainly can’t bring the nation together. 

When Trump hit the campaign trail to boost candidates he endorsed, he bashed Ron DeSantis, complained about his legal issues, and briefly flattered whatever Republican candidates and officeholders came to pay tribute to him. 

While I am disappointed with the results of the 2022 midterm elections, I believe America gets the government it deserves. But this too shall pass.

Since 2016, Trump’s appeal has shrunk. We will find that Trump’s presence is the foremost reason Republicans had a disappointing night in the midterms. As JFK once said, it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation. The midterms made it clear where Republicans should look. 

The highlight of the night for Republicans was in Florida. Not only did Ron DeSantis win his gubernatorial reelection bid in a landslide, but Florida picked up four U.S. House seats. Further, after the 2000 hanging chad debacle, Florida Democrats and Republicans got together and fixed their elections. It was among the first states to release its midterm results.

Americans in every state should engage in healthy conversations about how to make elections fair and transparent with timely, accurate results.

Mysteries about tabulation machines, such as in Maricopa County, Arizona, or last-minute legal challenges to laws passed a year earlier, such as in Pennsylvania, must be considered unacceptable by everybody. 

How many people had already voted in the Pennsylvania Senate campaign before the one debate between John Fetterman and Dr. Oz? How far in advance should early voting be allowed? Showing an ID to vote has higher acceptance than abortion. Why is it controversial?

The “election denier” label hurt Republicans, and Trump enabled that media narrative. During the weeks after the 2020 election, I said: If Trump truly believed that he lost because of chicanery, he should have devoted his post-presidency to changing election laws. If he had done so, he might have effectively pointed out election deniers such as Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams, and Karine Jean-Pierre.

The other conclusion we can take away from the 2022 midterm elections is something Democrats learned in 2016: polling is irrevocably broken. 

While I am disappointed with the results of the 2022 midterm elections, I believe America gets the government it deserves. 

But this too shall pass.

Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio). He can be reached by email at andy@andybloom.com or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.

13 thoughts on “Andy Bloom: Election 2022 — when the red wave crashed”

  1. Fascinating night. The polling was wrong. Despite a bad economy, crime surging, low presidential approval, gas prices and groceries through the roof, and despite the fact that Fetterman can’t even speak … Democrats won big in Pennsylvania. No doubt in my mind this was a giant Eff You to Trump and his supporters. However, Trump will manage to convince his cult that it’s all Kevin McCarthy’s fault. Republicans will side with Trump, nominate him and lose again in 2024.

    1. A lot of Trump supporters stayed home. They correctly understand that that a big party of the GOP (the part with the money), is more against them than it is against the Dems. A lot of working-class people also fell for Fetterman’s “everyman” act. They probably didn’t watch the debate and they don’t follow politics closely enough to know Fetterman’s real background.

      1. These were Trump’s HAND-PICKED people. Did you read what I wrote? The part with money – i.e. McConnell put up $232 million to help elect fundamentally flawed candidates.

        Trump came to town to support Mastriano and Oz. How much time did he spend talking about “Fetterman’s everyman act” compared with talking about his grievances from 2020, or his legal issues, or his jabs at McConnell and DeSantis? I can assure you that the non-Trump wing of the Republican Party did everything it could to help create a red wave this week. If the Trumpies stayed home and have decided that you’re done, well then I guess we’ll have to either build another coalition or look forward to indefinite liberal rule – which I guess you’re saying is preferable to standard issue Republicans who don’t bow to Trump. Is that what I understand?

  2. That’s bullshit, Mastriano lost fair and square — and by a lot. Crying “they cheated” isn’t convincing anyone, and it hurts the cause of serious conservatives.

    1. Dear Kevin,

      THEY CHEATED.

      AGAIN…. Enjoy your dictators!

      Love,
      Stalin

      p.s> SAY HI TO THE FAM! Will see them soon!

  3. Thank you for this op-ed, Andy.
    I am deeply disappointed by yesterday’s mid-term results – especially here in PA – but I’m even more disappointed in the actions of Mr. Trump, who simply has to make everything about him and have everything his way. We Republicans have to build and strengthen our party from the inside-out, with good, honest leaders who call a spade a spade, as opposed to belittling any other colleague we may not like. And the sooner we build that type of party, the better!
    Thanks again.

  4. This analysis is backwards. Trump did not lose last night: the Republican party and their economics-first messaging lost. Turnout was down 30% from the 2020 election when Trump was on the ballot. I would wager the fall in turnout was all on our side, not on the left, which was fired up. A few GOP candidates like Mastriano may have been losers right out of the gate, but the GOP decided at the national level to run the Business Class / Koch Brothers program, talking about taxes, cost of living and energy. The GOP did the opposite of what article and comments are suggesting: they went out of their way NOT to message in a Trump manner: that is, NOT to talk about crime (at least not in a racialized way, meaning you can’t say much), NOT to talk about immigration (except the red herring issue of “border security”), NOT to talk about mandatory RNA shots or the biomedical security state (except school closures, and then immediately pivot to the corporate pet issue of “school choice” i.e. privatization). Transvestite freaks like our health secretary Richard Levine were not to be named, despite the fact that they horrify the public. The GOP did NOT talk about the “Fortified” 2020 election or the staged Jan 6 circus act, yearlong solitary confinement of prisoners and Stalinist show trials that followed. Also, the GOP ran away from its own longstanding stance on abortion: they just didn’t want to talk about it and the Democrats did. If you don’t stand square and defend your position, you will lose on it. Final point: who were the big winners last night? Ron DeSantis, the most Trumpy of all the establishment GOP, and JD Vance, who leveraged his “Hillbilly” heritage mostly AGAINST the free market Republican program.

    1. Oh boy, I should know better, but I’ll just point out a couple of things for you.
      Let’s start with this – you have no idea what voter turnout is in this election – because not all the votes have been counted.
      But, I expect voter turnout will be lower in 2022 than in 2020. See, these are called mid-term elections.
      In 2020 67% of people versus in 2016 when 61% voted.
      In the 2018 mid-term election, 53% voted – the highest going back at least to 1978, while the prior mid-terms – 2014, saw the lowest participation over that same time frame – 42%. Mid to high 40s is pretty standard for midterms.

      Abortion is a losing issue for Republicans. When pro-choice referendums pass in places like Kansas and Kentucky, it’s time to give up. I was looking at the Georgia exit poll data – and even there, by a 54-43 margin, people think it should always or almost always be legal. But if you want to look at a Republican candidate who tried to talk about abortion, look at Michigan, where Tudor Dixon had to explain that it was OK to vote for the state constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights and her for governor even though the ONLY exception for an abortion she would permit is in order to save the life of the mother – not for rape or incest. She lost 55-44% and the amendment passed by a slightly larger margin. Oh, and Dixon also tried to run on Whitmer’s Covid lockdowns.

      I’m familiar with Ohio – having worked a couple of congressional campaigns there, not to mention the 2004 Bush re-election campaign that was won there in SW Ohio. The state has trended increasingly red, AND if you read what I wrote, you might have noticed Mitch McConnell’s PAC spent $32 million to help JD Vance win, Trump tossed in another $2M, plus whatever Vance raised, and the NRSC too. Perhaps there were even unaffiliated groups helping Vance. He won with just over 53% of the vote. Meanwhile, Mike DeWine won re-election for Governor with over 62% of the vote, and I can guarantee you that he didn’t spend $32 million. BTW, Tim Ryan didn’t get much help as he ran away from Biden and the Democratic Party. This was one of the few races where Republicans actually outspent Democrats.

      For a guy who is the “most Trumpy of all the establishment,” it probably didn’t hurt DeSantis when Trump start to single him out for attack.

      As for the rest of your ideas, you need to learn to express yourself better. I’m tired of being called racist and homophobic because of people like you.

  5. Andy has nailed it here. We, the electorate, were given a horrid choice this fall. Could not vote for Fetterman who has no history of authentic political leadership and performance. And frankly, Oz could not be taken seriously either. If the republic and decent society has any chance against the agenda of the far left, “progressives” and the woke, it’s time to move past and beyond Trump and his bombastic rhetoric and look to those with authentic capacity to lead and take risks.

    1. Hmmm.
      I don’t know Mr. Devlin and haven’t read him before now – (I read a few of his columns). Both he and I were feeling optimistic in the days leading up to the election, although he perhaps more than me.

      I think a lot of people are misreading what happened in Ohio. A lot of “establishment” money went into making sure we didn’t lose that seat. DeWine 25 point romp helped pull Vance to a six-point win. With all due respect to Gov Kemp in Georgia, gee don’t you think you could have made it 15 points to pull Walker through (that’s a joke Guv).

      But I’m not sure Mr. Devlin and I disagree that much. I think DeSantis has done a masterful job of handling the social issues and making it about parental rights and sharing responsibility for illegal immigration while avoiding some of the nastier language that Trump uses.

      I’m a CONSISTENT conservative. I believe in small government. I don’t want the government reaching into my wallet. I think they should stay out of ADULTS’ bedrooms and the doctor’s office – whether that’s discussions about reproductive issues or experimental medicines. I’d prefer they regulate as little as possible. I believe in free markets, but I also believe in fair trade.

      I’d be interested in talking with Mr. Devlin and seeing how much we agree on versus how much we disagree on.

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