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.
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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 email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.