But is this a disaster? If the Republicans do win narrow control over the Senate and House, they will have won the 2022 midterms. Indeed, the slow counting of the ballots may in part be Democrat districts draining conservatives of any joy over their coming win - and publicly bringing about divisive recriminations within the GOP - precisely by dragging out the count for days on end.
Yet conservatives are right to be disappointed after pollsters had projected the GOP would hold some 240 House seats and 54 Senate seats. And given Biden’s abysmal approval numbers, an economy in recession, sky high inflation, and a disastrous foreign policy, one would have expected a red wave far greater than we saw in 2010. What happened?
There are many reasons for the stunning underperformance of Republicans this cycle:
- No energy, no message: It turns out that there were many conservative voters like me out there this year. The GOP doesn’t seem to understand that the scars of 2020 run deep for many conservative voters. We watched democracy go down in flames as the GOP establishment lined up like Brutus to put the knife in Trump’s back while January 6 protestors were treated like 9/11 terrorists. During this year's primaries, the GOP neocon establishment did everything it could to keep Trump supporters off the ballots while downplaying Trump in the run up to the election. What motivation did we have this cycle? I voted out duty, not out of excitement. In Pennsylvania, a million Trump voters stayed home. That’s how you lose elections.
- Democrat machine: The pandemic voting experience of 2020 helped Democrats hone their skills at mail-in voting and ballot harvesting. They had a well-oiled machine going into 2022, one that allowed them to get their votes collected and locked in weeks in advance. Meanwhile Republicans had to rely on conservative enthusiasm – which wasn’t there – to get their people to the polling stations on Election Day. And as we’ve heard from Arizona, some polling stations went down during the day and some people had to visit three different locations in order to vote. This was a perfect storm that spelled disaster for the GOP.
- Conservative infighting: It appears that Mitch McConnell might be on the way out of GOP leadership in the Senate. So obsessed with his war on Trump, he made sure that funds didn’t go to Trump-supported candidates (like Blake Masters in Arizona), and thus helped torpedo their chances of victory. We’re glad to see Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley effectively call for an end to McConnell’s leadership, yet nevertheless there remains a massive divide within the GOP between the neocon establishment and the MAGA nationalist-populists – a divide that ultimately helped undercut what should have been a massive Republican win this cycle.
Looking ahead to 2024, what does the GOP need to do to turn this around? First it's obvious that Donald Trump should have announced his candidacy for president before the election. The GOP is still the party of Trump, and a Trump announcement alone would have given millions of Trump-loving conservatives a reason to head to the polls. Going into 2024, we believe the best ticket – the dream ticket – would be a Trump-DeSantis ticket. Just as Pence won over conservatives skeptical of Trump’s conservative credentials in 2016, so DeSantis will help Trump win over voters who might have turned away from him back in 2020. Republicans need also to start playing the mail-in vote and ballot harvesting game that the Democrats are playing. It’s fine to focus on Election Day voting, but having millions of votes in bag before the big day arrives can only help all the more. Lastly, it’s time once and for all to rid the GOP of its neocon establishment leadership. They have no vision for the future, no vision for the nation. They are war-mongering imperialists allied to the globalist cabal who care nothing for the American people. We look forward to the rumored Trump announcement next week as a dramatic first step in this direction. We have our work cut out for us, but we hope and pray 2024 is the year that brings our nation out from the darkness.