While results are still being tallied and there may be a few, extremely unusual Republican bright spots, one thing is certain: the red wave didn't happen in 2022.
Ironically, when I projected that the GOP would only win 235 seats in the House, several people criticised me for being too conservative. Now, a majority for the Republican Party that is much smaller than that is possible. With Mehmet Oz failing to overcome his poor ratings in Pennsylvania despite a strong final effort, the Senate is also essentially a wasteland. Don Bolduc lost badly in New Hampshire, Georgia will hold a runoff election, and Masters is the underdog as voting in Arizona continues.
My "low" projection of capturing 51 seats would actually be a small miracle for Republicans right now, far from the optimism of predicting that 54 senate seats were on the table. Not because I was overly conservative, but rather because I was too exuberant, I blew it. A day ago, the result appeared highly unlikely.
There is no way to deny what took place on Tuesday. There must be a reckoning, and it will be unsettling and challenging to some firmly held beliefs. Republicans cannot keep staging the same play in the vain hope that the outcome would be different the following time. Nobody should be exempt from responsibility.
On the congressional side, Kevin McCarthy fell short of receiving the support required to be appointed Speaker of the House. The race for the job ought to be fierce. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell is 80 years old and extremely unpopular with the majority of Americans, despite the fact that he should be commended for raising and spending a lot of money this cycle to help elect Republicans. Republicans require fresh leadership if they are to recover from their current slump.
But the accusations don't just apply to elected officials. The Republican Party's de facto leader is Donald Trump. He serves as the public face, organises the demonstrations, seizes the spotlight, and chooses the rulers. In that capacity, he has now lost three successive elections. He obstinately denies all blame for his mistakes and implies that, as the standard-bearer, he is powerless to effect change.
For instance, despite the fact that Don Bolduc was one of the former president's preferred candidates, Trump disparaged him following his loss in New Hampshire. Additionally, when that race was called, he attacked Mehmet Oz. Even worse, Trump took to Truth Social to celebrate Joe O'Dea's defeat in the Colorado senate race when Republican problems emerged late on election night. Later, he declared the lacklustre evening a "great victory," boasting about his purported endorsement track record. Not that kind of leadership. It's self-serving blame-shifting, and it's all the more repulsive given that Trump tried to claim credit for the red wave up until the very last second.
In the meantime, Ron DeSantis made Florida, which he had won by 30,000 votes four years earlier, a 20-point rout. It was the most unexpected change in one state in many years, with Republicans actually gaining all Hispanic voters. What happened in Florida demonstrated a better path in the midst of all the awful. It demonstrated the concerns of voters. It demonstrated the importance of being a likeable and effective leader. I'm not sure whether DeSantis will run in 2024, but Republicans would be unwise to choose a candidate who is about 80 years old and has a very high unfavourable rating instead of him.
I'm aware that saying that unequivocally would upset some people, but I promise you that's not my intention. Nothing I've said implies that 2016 wasn't noteworthy. Even while they weren't just meaningless spectacles, the large demonstrations might still be entertaining. It doesn't imply that Trump didn't do anything while in office.
What it does suggest is that if you don't adjust moving forward, you'll only ensure another excruciating defeat in the next election. Republicans must make a course correction, just as they did following the administration of George W. Bush (which ended with Mitt Romney). It's not about establishment vs. Trump because, to be honest, both sides have already proven that they can't win.
Turning this ship around will require a heroic fight and extreme competence that the party's national leadership, from McConnell to Trump, has not yet demonstrated. And even while I may personally believe that's DeSantis, I'm not attempting to bully anyone into agreeing with me. I advise people to back whoever they are convinced to back, and there shouldn't be any hard feelings if we end up agreeing on 99 percent of things but disagreeing on that one item. All I ask is for people to take a step back, consider the big picture, and ask themselves how we got here. I'm sick and tired of losing, and I hope you are too, therefore we need to make changes.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Red State.