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November 14, 2022

Democrats Keep Senate, House No Longer Certain

There aren’t many silver linings, but there’s lots of blame to go around.

The dust continues to settle from last week’s midterm elections, but one thing became clear over the weekend: Democrats have retained control of the Senate, even without Georgia, which won’t be decided until December 6. That’s perhaps not surprising, but the shock could come if Democrats somehow manage to keep the House too. Stay tuned…

The Senate solidified as Senator Mark Kelly was declared the winner in Arizona, and Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto kept her seat after benefiting from those oh-so-predictable late-breaking Democrat votes. Republican Adam Laxalt led in many polls ahead of the election, and he led for several days in the vote count after the election. But as night follows day, Democrat votes just kept being counted and eventually Cortez Masto overtook Laxalt for good.

Sure, the mainstream media could be correct (for a change) and Nevada’s result could be entirely legitimate, but this phenomenon will always reek of cheating because it so reliably benefits Democrats. What’s the problem in Nevada? Well, Las Vegas, for one. As water evaporates from Lake Mead, we just keep finding the bodies. Literally. Vegas isn’t called Sin City for nothing. And as the biggest population hub in the state, Vegas will drive turnout for Democrats.

The 600-pound gorilla, however, is bulk-mail ballots. Nevada is among the handful of states that preemptively mail ballots to all registered voters. That sounds great — everyone seems to want to “preserve democracy” these days, right? The problem is twofold. Low-information voters are more likely to vote Democrat, and if you mail them a ballot without them even asking for it, that becomes much easier. Worse, authentication is a huge hole. Ask the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Victor Joecks, who managed to get eight ballots accepted with his signature in 2020 and another six this year.

That’s only eight ballots, you election denier! scream the media “fact-checkers,” who apparently don’t think anything bad ever happens in Vegas.

Chuck Schumer, who will remain Senate majority leader, was predictably ecstatic. He called the win a “victory and a vindication for Democrats,” adding, “The American people rejected the anti-democratic, extremist MAGA Republicans.”

Two men are receiving most of the blame for the GOP failing to gain the Senate: Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.

Our Mark Alexander tackled the Trump effect Friday, so we won’t belabor that point here. As for McConnell, he infamously criticized candidate quality a couple of months ago when he never should have said any such thing, and he didn’t invest much campaign cash to help some of those candidates. Blake Masters in Arizona comes to mind, though Trump also spent little on his endorsee and Masters didn’t raise much himself either. McConnell did, however, spend far more than Trump, including investing heavily in Ohio to help J.D. Vance win … by about the same margin as Trump in 2020. He also spent big in Pennsylvania, and Mehmet Oz still couldn’t beat the stroke-addled thug John Fetterman. Clearly, money can’t fix everything.

McConnell deserves kudos for holding the line on the Supreme Court and other judicial appointments over the years. And he’s not responsible for bad candidates chosen in primaries — other than being the target of Trump-inspired voter ire in choosing those candidates. Still, some Republicans are beginning to grumble that maybe they should put their chips on an 80-year-old McConnell seeking his ninth term as leader.

Winning back Georgia’s Senate seat may not seem critical now that Democrats will control the Senate anyway, but it is hugely important. Forcing Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties is one thing, but having 51 Democrat votes also diminishes the power of Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema, who have stood against Democrat efforts to kill the filibuster or pack the Supreme Court. Plus, a Walker loss leaves Georgia with two Democrat senators for at least the next four years.

Back to the House for a moment. The GOP currently leads 211-204, but 20 contests remain undecided, and it’s not a sure bet that Republicans will reach the requisite 218. That it’s still in question is astounding given that Republican turnout was higher. “In the two main election surveys, more Republicans than Democrats turned out to vote: 36% to 33% in the national media exit poll, and 49% to 43% in the AP VoteCast,” write the editors of The Wall Street Journal. “Republicans could get a majority share of the final House vote without getting a House majority. So much for the GOP’s supposed gerrymandering edge.”

The big rub seems to be that independents broke with tradition and voted for the party in power instead of the party out of power. “According to the national media exit poll, of the 31% of voters who identify as independent, 49% voted Democrat and 47% Republican,” says the Journal. “In the AP VoteCast survey, independents favored Democrats by four points.” Tell us again that Donald Trump isn’t to blame for that.

In the end, it seems Joe Biden is right about one thing: Republicans “have to decide who they are.”


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