'MAGA' is Not the Reason for Midterm Republican Losses
The 2022 midterms did not result in the red wave that Republicans hoped for and that many experts predicted. But, the GOP, by winning 218 seats, did manage to gain control of the House.
This is a major accomplishment. It means that the House can reject rather than rubber-stamp much of Biden’s agenda, such as passing a national law codifying abortion, and correct its endless partisan investigation into the January 6th riot.
It also means that, as the New York Times wrote, “The...single-digit-seat victory will allow Republicans to claim power — including subpoena power — set the agenda, run the committees and try to hold President Biden’s feet to the fire with a string of promised investigations.”
So there is much for Republicans to celebrate post-election. Surprisingly, however, rather than high-fiving each other, many in the GOP began pointing an accusatory finger at Donald Trump and the MAGA movement. Apparently, if one is to believe the media, Never-Trumper and establishment Republicans, pundits for the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, and Fox -- all owned, not coincidentally, by Rubert Murdoch -- if not for the former president and his MAGA Republicans, Republicans would have secured large majorities in the House, the Senate, and in governorships across the nation.
It is an argument rehashed from the days of about a decade ago when the GOP establishment worked with the Democrats and the media to reverse the ascension of Tea Party.
While CNN was calling Tea Partiers “teabaggers,” then-House Speaker John Boehner was referring to members of the Tea Party movement while long-time leader of Senate Republicans Mitch McConnell led the establishment’s effort to “crush” the Tea Party.
It’s not surprising then that today’s MAGA candidates would hear the same criticisms, face the same charges, and get hammered with the same attacks and insults by the same establishment Republicans as did the Tea Party candidates of yesterday. MAGA Republicans, in fact, are often considered descendants of the Tea Party, and in many ways that's true.
The establishment wing’s accusation that the MAGA folks prevented a greater win for Republicans does not seem rooted in facts. According to Ballotpedia, the success rate of Trump-endorsed candidates was 93% in the primaries and 82% in the general election.
That's not bad considering how these candidates were often overwhelmed financially. Leftist George Soros donated $128 million to the Democrats this year alone. Crypto conman Sam Bankman-Fried was the Democrats’ second biggest donor. Activist groups like ActBlue also raised a fortune.
As senator-elect J.D. Vance wrote “Blaming Trump isn’t just wrong on the facts, it is counterproductive. Any autopsy of Republican under-performance ought to focus on how to close the national money gap, and how to turn out less engaged Republicans during midterm elections.”
MAGA candidates were also nearly as smeared by the media as Trump himself. The day after the midterms for example The New York Times’ headline was ELECTION DENIERS FALL SHORT IN KEY STATES. Anyone who questions such the 9ntegrity of elections won by Democrats is an election denier and a threat to our democracy, for anyone who hasn't picked up on that by now.
The media also successfully smeared MAGA candidates as white supremacists. We read for example in the Washington Post that “It has long been understood that the MAGA movement is heavily dependent on White grievance and straight-up racism.” This is also odd when one considers that the slate of Trump-endorsed candidates was impressively diverse. Candidates like Lee Zeldin, Mehmet Oz, Hershel Walker, Marco Rubio, and many women endorsed by Trump are not only far from white supremacists but far from the stereotype of the “male, pale, and stale” Republican so popular in the pre-MAGA GOP.
The abortion issue hurt the GOP as well. Politico reported:
The Supreme Court’s Roe reversal proved to be perhaps the biggest wild card in the midterm elections, injecting an unpredictable dynamic into a national midterm environment that typically penalizes the party in power. According to the National Election Pool exit polls, conducted by Edison Research in key swing states, voters often ranked abortion below inflation.
But those who ranked it as their most important issue voted for Democratic Senate candidates by substantial margins. In Nevada, for example, 89 percent of voters who said abortion was their top motivator picked Cortez Masto.
Operatives in both parties agreed that until the high court’s decision, the Democratic base showed very little motivation to go to the polls.
As much as I cheered the Dodd v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, it does seem as though the 2022 election would have had a different outcome without it.
Perhaps the biggest problem for conservatives is that the game is rigged against us.
A clear example of this is how the networks gave President Biden an hour or so of prime-time television, worth millions of dollars, so that he could give a political speech denouncing Republicans as “a threat to the nation.” This speech constituted an in-kind or non-monetary campaign contribution to the DNC. There was no penalty for this. The networks was not fined, nor did we see networks required to give a Republican equal time to deny wanting to end democracy.
Similarly, Google faced a lawsuit for allegedly sending Republican campaign emails to spam.
And Trump, although he is a former and potentially future president, is not allowed to tweet, even under Elon Musk’s Twitter ownership , because advertisers, threatened by boycotts and protests from leftist groups doubtlessly, reportedly warned Musk that if Trump is reinstated they will pull their ads, effectively bankrupting Twitter. Sadly, Twitter may fail eventually, although I am optimistic that it will not, but if it does it will be because of the left’s unwillingness to have a platform exist on which conservatives can speak freely.
In addition, the same media that has dedicated itself to smearing Trump and the candidates he has endorsed have proven to be equally dedicated to openly campaigning for Democrats. Some Democrats feel so protected by the media that they barely seem willing to debate their opponent.
The media for example labeled anyone who questioned the ability of John Fetterman to perform as a senator because of the cognitive damage he suffered due to his stroke as an ableist. Saying someone who’s deaf can't be an architect is ableist. Saying someone who can not speak, communicate, or think properly shouldn't be a senator is not.
The case that Trump and his MAGA allies are a drag on the GOP does not hold and should be ignored. The GOP benefits greatly from the MAGA movement, as it did the Tea Party movement, even if they are loath to admit this.