Political insiders explain what happened on election night, how Democrats avoided a ‘red wave’

The 2022 midterm elections — in both the House and the Senate — hasn’t gone as planned for several Republican candidates running for office, leaving voters to wonder how some Democrats survived tough elections and avoided the “red wave” that many GOP members had predicted.

The Republican Party is favored to win a slim majority in the House, but it will likely be far lower than many prominent party members and leaders anticipated if the November 8 election – predicting a “red wave” would dominate the midterms.

In the Senate, however, things don’t look so bright for the GOP. A hotly contested race in Georgia between incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Walker and his Republican challenger, soccer star Herschel Walker, is heading for a runoff election in December. If Walker comes out on top in this election and ties the Democrats’ 50 seats in the upper house, the Democrats will still have control of the Senate because of the vice president’s ability to cast a deciding vote.

While several political insiders from all walks of life believe issues such as abortion and former President Donald Trump have had a negative impact on the GOP’s chances, others insist that the quality of candidates has played a role as Republicans hammered inflation and crime in the final days before the election.


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, right.
(Sarah Silbiger, Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Even though several Republicans have done well in their elections, Ben LaBolt, who served as national press secretary for former President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, told Fox News Digital that “MAGA-aligned extremists” and “election denying extremists” have not performed well because their “radical” beliefs have failed to resonate with persuasive voters.

“While relatively moderate Republican candidates performed in line with expectations, MAGA aligned, election-denying extremists lost nearly all of their toss races,” LaBolt said. “Their beliefs were simply too radical for persuaded voters. President Biden and the Democrats exceeded expectations by nominating traditional candidates, embracing a grassroots agenda to cut costs for American workers, and serving as a bulwark against the extremism.”

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster said he believed the Supreme Court decision to overturn Federal abortion protections, along with endorsements made by Trump, have been among the reasons Republicans have struggled this cycle.

“Republicans should have gotten away with this election,” Ayres, who is president of North Star Opinion Research, told Fox. “They didn’t do it because the Dobbs decision energized many women and young voters, and because Trump approved many weak, first-time candidates who won the primaries but couldn’t win the general election.”

Similarly, Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, told Fox that women and young voters made their voices heard in the election by distancing themselves from GOP candidates.

“Women and youth have spoken,” said Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. “They rejected Trumpism and division.”


Former President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters during election night at Mar-a-Lago, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida.

Former President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters during election night at Mar-a-Lago, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Christy Setzer, a Democratic strategist, said the GOP’s fall in multiple elections was because “people are tired of the crazies.”

“At least in the blue and purple states, voters have sent a strong message that they don’t want to hear any more about transgender kids in sports or big lies about stolen elections; they want normalcy in their politics and they want to affirm respect for democracy,” said Setzer, president and founder of New Heights Communications. “Culture wars worked in red states, some of which only got redder, but Republicans deeply underperformed with the same groups that united to Biden’s victory in 2020: young voters, women, people of color and independents. Inflation is temporary, but authoritarianism can last forever.”

For some, the “candidate quality” that stifled Republicans’ chances of widening the margin of its expected majority in the House and regaining control of the Senate is an issue that must be addressed by the party going forward.

“It’s pretty clear that the quality of candidates matters and is costing the GOP several winnable races,” Chris Wilson, a pollster and former director of research and analysis for GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s unsuccessful campaign, told Fox. in a press release. “It’s equally clear that allegiance to Donald Trump should no longer be the deciding factor in Republican primaries. Additionally, it’s important that GOP candidates have a forward-looking view that addresses important issues such as inflation. , crime and values. The 2020 election is over and must be buried on the ash heap of political history.”


Newly elected GOP senators meet with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on November 15, 2022.

Newly elected GOP senators meet with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on November 15, 2022.
(Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Lis Smith, a Democratic strategist who served as a senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign, told Fox that Republicans should “recall the crazies” if they want to win elections in the future.

“Democrats were able to defy historical midterm trends and outperform in large part because Republicans nominated people who were well outside the mainstream,” Smith said. “It turns out that independent voters and a significant number of Republican voters simply won’t vote for candidates who oppose abortion in any case and deny the 2020 election results. If Republicans want of course, they have to call the fool back.”

Tommy Garcia, spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committeesaid the GOP’s lackluster midterm performance came after Democratic candidates drew comparisons between themselves and Republicans that “pose a real threat to reproductive freedoms, democracy and the pocketbooks of ordinary people.”

“While Kevin McCarthy and Tom Emmer were busy measuring their curtains and bragging about flipping 60-70 seats, Democrats worked and drew a clear contrast between results-driven Democrats working to cut costs and ensure community safety, and extreme Republicans who pose a real threat to reproductive freedoms, democracy, and the pocketbooks of ordinary people,” Garcia told Fox.

Before the midterm elections, the conservative brandon Senator Ted Cruz of Texas predicted in a Fox News interview that he believed the outcome of the 2022 election would be “not just a red wave, but a red tsunami.”

Despite numerous losses in key elections, including Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s loss to Republican Mehmet Oz in the Keystone State Senate election, the GOP was able to retain control of several seats over which Democrats had focused on midterms. Republican JD Vance beat Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan to replace incumbent GOP Senator Rob Portman in Ohio, while GOP Rep. Ted Budd beat Democrat Cheri Beasley in North Carolina.

Pennsylvania Senate candidates John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz participate in a debate October 25 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Senate candidates John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz participate in a debate Oct. 25 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

In the House, Republicans also flipped many seats held by Democrats in an effort to increase GOP strength in the chamber.


“House Republicans handed over a check on Biden’s disastrous agenda, won seats for the second straight cycle and flipped the House for only the third time in 68 years,” said Michael McAdams, director of communications for the Congressional Republican National Committee, at Fox News Digital.

Notable victories include Republican Jen Kiggans’ loss to Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, a House committee member on January 6, to represent Virginia’s 2nd District, as well as Lori Chavez-DeRemer’s election victory over her Democratic challenger. , Jamie McLeod-Skinner, to represent Oregon’s 5th District.

In New York, a state that votes largely for Democrats and mostly favors leftist politics, Republicans knocked down four seats in the House.

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