The vast majority of pundits and pollsters predicted a red wave during the midterms, that fizzled into a nothingburger. Lots of people are saying lots of things about why this happened, but the numbers point to one clear thing. For the blue tribe, this was about abortion and only abortion, and the red tribe could have nipped the whole thing in the bud if they didn’t go Full Retard on abortion law.
(you don’t buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, I Am Sam. Remember? Went full retard? Went home empty-handed)
Case for the Red Wave
Almost every president in recent memory loses ground in the midterms.
We’re in the worst recession since 2009.
We have the worst inflation since the late 70s or early 80s.
People’s financial futures are being wiped out.
Everyone now knows that the lockdowns were stupid.
Everyone now knows that masks don’t work.
Everyone now knows that the vaccine is only around 30% effective against contraction, 0% effective against preventing spread from someone who’s already infected, that it only lasts six months, and that it meets none of the actual criteria to be even called a “vaccine” in the first place. If someone released an AIDS vaccine tomorrow with Covid vaccine efficacy stats they’d be run out on a rail.
Nobody even on the left seems to care about Black Lives anymore, and it’s obvious that the 2020 protests equivalent to a Category 2 Hurricane were just a political stunt.
The blue president can’t even formulate cohesive sentences and literally gets lost leaving the podium.
Parents across the country are waking up to Critical Social Justice (a much more accurate term than CRT, which is yes in fact only college level stuff based on the work of Derrick Bell) is absolutely being taught in grade school.
Parents across the country are waking up to the trend of grade school kids, particularly girls with self image problems, adopting blue tribe gender ideology and getting mastectomies and such which in many cases aren’t necessary.
And basically all of this:
Under any normal circumstances this is easily predictable doom for the incumbent party who supported, egged on, enhanced, and in many cases proudly caused all of this stuff.
But the numbers say one thing was far more important than all of that combined for enough people that it plugged the gap, stemmed the tide, and bailed them out. For some people, Abortion is King.
CNN’s exit polls, when aggregated by the notably conservative Washington Examiner, show a pretty amazing break in the election dynamic.
Republicans led Democrats in the 2022 midterm turnout by 20 points among married men.
Republicans led Democrats in the 2022 midterm turnout by 14 points among married women.
Republicans led Democrats in the 2022 midterm turnout by 7 points among single men.
Democrats led Republicans in the 2022 midterm turnout by 37 points among single women.
Single women voted 43% more than single men did in the 2022 midterm.
As you might expect, the Washington Examiner piece is a culture war diatribe about how the Democrats benefit from the destruction of the American family, but I think they miss the point entirely, particularly when you look at Florida. Florida did in fact have the red wave.
Matthew Yglesias did a wonderful breakdown of the rabbit the Democrats pulled out of a hat on Slowboring, with some great visualizations.
Oklahoma is subject to an outright abortion trigger ban that last I checked didn’t even have a health of the mother exception. Kansas put an abortion ban on their ballot earlier in the year and it got crushed. Red state governors who noticeably outperformed Trump in the midterms are of two classes:
So deep in the red kool aid that the results were known far in advance, and
States that didn’t ban abortion.
Yglesias highlights Florida specifically in his piece. (emphasis mine)
I also think that abortion is important to the Florida Exceptionalism of this race. There was no red wave, but there very much was a hard red break specifically in the state of the Florida.
And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Florida has a GOP trifecta that took up abortion legislation, passed a 15-week ban, and then went no further. Fifteen-week ban is popular, and it’s popular because it protects the overwhelming majority of abortions that actually take place, allows clinics to continue operating, etc. But it’s not just that the 15-week ban is reasonably popular policy, it’s that Florida Republicans were already running the whole show — they were showing pro-choice Florida voters that they could be trusted with political power. That’s exactly what GOP politicians elsewhere in the country couldn’t demonstrate.
And Florida is generally understood to be straddling the purple boundary. In some other purple areas, abortion was all anyone could talk about:
CBS News’s exit polling also highlighted this.
HWFO has previously highlighted how popular 12 and 15 week bans are. 12 week bans are the law of the land in most of Europe, and nobody complains there.
It seems clear to me that if the nation were to move to a 12 or 15 week ban, or “enshrine the right to an abortion within the first trimester” to employ some tailored phrasing, then the abortion issue goes away completely, the blues have nothing to campaign on, and the reds dominate. Just like Florida.
And it seems extremely clear to me that the balance of power during this midterm was completely tied up in the Dobbs ruling. The red SCOTUS did more to preserve blue power in 2022 than any other factor could possibly have done, and Pelosi should send Alito, as well as all the pro-life hardliners, a fruit basket in thanks.
To all the conservative folks in the comment thread disagreeing with the analysis, I want you to imagine this. Imagine SCOTUS is 6-3 blues, and they issue a gun control ruling that overturns not only Bruen, but also Heller, and opens the door to banning all private gun ownership at the federal level because of some tortured interpretations of the word "militia." Imagine how many conservatives would vote in the following midterm. There would be lines out the door, down the street, around the corner. Conservatives would be mailing in absentee ballots for their dead relatives, their cats, and their dogs. It would be massive.
That's what abortion is to the blue tribe. It's that important to them.
I'm not going to say abortion had nothing to do with what happened on Tuesday, but it was not the reason Republicans had a bad night. You seem to be ignoring the orange-hued elephant in the room.
Trump and his endorsed candidates are losing in almost every close race across the country in swing states. In race after race more electable Republicans were shoved aside for weak, untested, or unelectable candidates who's only required qualification was to bend the knee to the stolen election lie and pledge fealty to Trump.
Don Bolduc in New Hampshire gets destroyed while Chris Sununu easily wins re-election for Governor. Sununu was being courted to run for Senate but refused to put up with Trump's meddling.
Pat Toomey refused to run for re-election to the Senate in PA because of Trump where he would have easily won, but instead we get Trump backed Mehmet Oz and lunatic fringe Mastriano who promised that if elected, he would certify Trump the winner of PA in 2024 no matter how the state voted.
Doug Ducey in Arizona would be the next Senator but instead we get Blake Masters who cannot catch Kelly now, and Kari Lake looks like she will lose to an incredibly lackluster Democrat for Governor.
Let's see how Trump backed candidates compared to Governor candidates in states with strict abortion laws:
Ohio - Gov. Mike DeWine signs 6 week abortion ban - DeWine wins easily with 62% of the vote while J.D. Vance struggled.
Georgia - Brian Kemp signs six week abortion ban - Kemp wins easily while Herschel Walker is now in a runoff.
TX - Greg Abbott signs a six week abortion ban - Abbott wins easily.
Of course Democrats ran on abortion because it was one of the only things they could talk about. Every other issue was political poison for them except the biggest one, and that was Trump.
Democrats meddled in numerous primary elections all across the country and in each case they worked to support the Trumpiest candidate in the race, knowing that it would help fire up Democrats and turn independents against the Republican candidate.
In every....single...race where the Democrats meddled in the Republican primary, the Democrat won the election on Tuesday. Those races were not about abortion. They were all...about...Trump.
The independent voters sent Republicans a message in Tuesday that was loud and clear:
"We don't like the Democrats, but we are not ready to give you back power as long as you are beholden to Trump and his stolen election, storm the Capitol BS."
If Republicans want to win again, they need to dump Trump.