The ‘Inevitable’ Red Wave That Wasn’t: Three Key Factors


Many people believed that the red wave would never materialize. However, keyboard warriors and media talk heads across the fruited plain told us it was possible, and it happened as election night progressed.

But it didn’t. Why? This is a huge — and important — question.

On Tuesday night, political pundits were all over the place making excuses. Others offered objective analysis of what went wrong. What were the true reasons for the “inevitable” red tsunami, which was actually the not-so great red trickle? It all came down to three factors: some predicted it, others ignored it or mocked it.

1. With a few exceptions, 90% of election outcomes are written in before the first vote is cast.

Some people believe that every election starts at 0-0. However, this is not the case. Races usually start in the 45-45 or 47-47 range. Each candidate’s “starting points” is affected by other factors such as where they stand on issues and who they face. How they perform and where they are ranked on those issues. But most importantly, how many voters turn out to vote.

2. Election turnout.

Surveys and pre-election polls, no matter how extensive they are, are almost irrelevant. Election ballots are the only vote that matters. Election history has shown that when voters become complacent, let’s call this overconfidence, they vote less, thinking the election is in their favor. It hurt the GOP to hype up a red wave that has never come.

3. Donald Trump

It doesn’t matter if you love him or not, but to deny the fact that Donald Trump’s presence was more significant than life in 2022 midterms would be to deny reality. The impact Trump’s presence had on the election results was evident from Tuesday night through Wednesday. Let the hatred begin. Trump has never been in a worse position than where he is now. As I mentioned above, a growing number of Republican voters believe that it is time to get beyond Trump and his baggage.

“What baggage?” This is a question I am often asked (or snarled at).

At an Ohio rally, Trump mocked Ron Desantis. He won by nearly 20 points on Tuesday and gave the most moving acceptance speech I have ever seen in my years of covering politics. Three days before his race, the self-proclaimed, and anointed of loyalists, de facto head the Republican Party mocks and ridicules America’s most popular governor. Is that what you are talking about? Who is that? Donald Trump.

In a recent piece, I suggested that Trump-backed candidates would lose their primaries, even though they won them, while non-Trump-supported candidates would have had a better chance. J.D., one of the Trump-endorsed candidates, won. Vance in Ohio; Ted Budd North Carolina; Katie Britt Alabama; Eric Schmitt Missouri. Other candidates failed.

Pennsylvania was the most decisive, with Democrat John Fetterman defeating Trump-backed candidate Mehmet Oz. Other races were too close to call Wednesday morning. Trump-backed Arizona gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake and Mehmet Oz trailed by less than a percentage points. Trump-backed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walk remained in a statistical tie. However, a Wednesday midday update tilted it towards Warnock. A run-off is now necessary.

The deal: More then 23 Trump-backed candidates lost to defeat. However, several key races are still too close to call and other prospects are not promising.

Are you worried?

What does Trump think about all this? Trump said Tuesday to NewsNation that he should get all of the credit if his candidates win, but not be held responsible if they lose.

They will win and I believe they will do well. I won’t get much credit even though I often tell people to run.

The reality is that I don’t get credit for their success. If they fail, they will blame me. We’ll be able to defend ourselves, so I’m ready for anything.

What would a rational person think? It is logical to say that.

Trump also repeated his delusional claim that he had made Ron DeSantis.

The bottom line

The Democrats will have their own challenges in 2024. It’s time for Republicans to have a national conversation about the lessons learned from the midterms and how to move forward.

This conversation should be about how to put the GOP in the best possible position to regain the White House. It should be about how to best lead an America that has been badly divided and communicate a winning strategy to voters. Given the disastrous presidency of Biden, the midterms are a stark warning shot that things must change. The 2024 election is just 24 months away.

Do you expect different results if you let the chips fall where they might?

Yeah, insanity.