The Era Of The Democratic Millennial Girlboss Is About To Begin
Did AOC really just call me El Jefe?
Last night, I reiterated a point I’ve made here before on Laura Ingraham’s show about the looming generational shift within Democratic leadership — that we’re about to jump from the octogenarian set of Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the aged party leadership to a too-online Millennial generation with girlboss energy and woke policy prescriptions.
For some reason, this observation triggered Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:
I can’t decide what I love most about this: that she immediately takes umbrage in a way that proves my point, or that she just called me El Jefe?
The truth is that after today’s elections, AOC and people like her are going to be the loudest voices in the room directing the course of the Democratic Party. Joe Biden is not the future, Hakeem Jeffries is barely known, and the potential Gen X leadership of Tim Ryan, Beto O’Rourke, and Stacey Abrams is about to get swept away by the red wave. Tomorrow belongs to AOC, and it’s going to be one crazy ride.
On the other side, Republicans may find their wave to be only a temporary step until the reassertion of former President Trump as their defining voice, with everyone expecting him to announce his candidacy next week. Byron York argues Trump mattered less in this midterm than expected:
What was remarkable was that, instead of being the kickoff of the Trump 2024 campaign, the Ohio rally showed how little Trump has been a factor in the midterm general election campaign. Yes, he played a sometimes decisive role in Republican primaries. But in the general election, when voters choose who will serve in office, Trump wasn't a big part. "If you look at the advertising in the swing states, Trump is not mentioned," noted one Republican strategist closely involved in the campaign. "Warnock, Kelly, Cortez Masto are not talking about him in their ads." That was a reference to incumbent Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock in Georgia, Mark Kelly in Arizona, and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, all in seats the GOP hopes to take.
Months ago, some Democrats had sought to make the whole midterm campaign about Trump, in the hopes that his unpopularity with between half and two-thirds of the electorate would sink Republican chances of taking back either the House or the Senate. Indeed, at times, the entire work of the Democratic-picked House Jan. 6 committee seemed about keeping Trump under constant attack, and in negative news reports, throughout the campaign season.
There was a weird confluence of the Democratic plan and Trump's wishes. Democrats wanted the election to be about Trump. So did Trump. The only players who did not want the campaign to be about the former president were the Republicans actually trying to win House and Senate seats to take control of Congress.
But inflation, and a precarious economy in general, intervened in everyone's plans. So did the Supreme Court, with its decision overturning Roe v. Wade. So did rising crime rates. So did the Biden-created disaster on the U.S.-Mexico border. And then, an even more fundamental factor emerged: Midterm elections are a referendum on the party in power, especially the president. Unpopular presidents such as Joe Biden — job approval rating 42.1% in the RealClearPolitics average of polls — lose House seats in midterm elections. The only question is how many, and Democrats did not have many to lose.
Trump faded as a factor in the campaign. Even when the Justice Department raided the former president's home in Florida, looking for documents allegedly held in violation of the Presidential Records Act, the flurry of Trump talk — it mostly benefited Trump, whose supporters saw it as yet another example of him being unfairly targeted by the FBI — did not turn into a dominant issue in the campaign.
That left Trump in an uncomfortable position, for him — not at the center of the political universe. Thus there were recurring stories throughout the campaign, leaked by people around Trump, that Trump planned to announce his 2024 candidacy soon. That would certainly make everything about him. Perhaps the announcement would come during the midterm campaign, perhaps right before, perhaps after, but soon.
Personally, regardless of what you think of Trump, I think the decision to jump in early is a mistake.
Donald Trump is expected to announce that he is running for president again next week on November 14, according to multiple reports and chatter near the Trump Organization. The only question is whether he does it even earlier — listening to allies like Matt Gaetz who think he should announce as soon as tonight to take credit for what Republicans anticipate will be a clear red wave.
This seems like an uncharacteristic mistake on Trump’s part. The announcement, whether it comes this week or next, is premature. It’s unlikely to forestall any significant potential competitors — and might actually serve to embolden some.
The most powerful tool Trump has is the ability to jump in as a former president overwhelmingly popular with Republican voters and instantly clear the field. The tensions over when this decision will come, and the anticipation it breeds, are all aspects that serve Trump and help freeze the donor money that is looking for somewhere else to go.
The uncertainty is a tool, and a useful one — but Trump is apparently of the mind that he needs to employ it as soon as possible after the midterms to achieve maximum benefit. Rather than enter the field relatively late as he did in 2016, he’s now signing up to be a candidate for two years and all that entails.
Even if some of his advisors agree, it doesn’t seem like they’ve changed his mind. As Shannon Bream told me in yesterday’s podcast, Trump is champing at the bit to get back into the position of dominating every headline and every news cycle, and he seems unwilling to wait even until the new year to jump in.
This will be another unprecedented step with potentially huge ramifications. But let’s get through this election at least before we analyze it any further. Get your popcorn ready, folks — it’s going to be a big night!
Why Stacey Abrams Blew It
“Ms. Abrams, public opinion polls in our state show support for the right to abortion, Medicaid expansion and banning assault weapons. You are on the side of public opinion on each of these issues, yet you are behind in almost every poll. Why?”
Conservatives snorted at veteran Georgia newsman Chuck Williams when, in his decidedly Appalachian tones, he asked that as his opening question during Stacey Abrams’s first debate with Brian Kemp. Many on Twitter considered it the ultimate softball: why don’t voters like you as much as us journalists, Ms. Abrams? You’re so great!
I didn’t see it that way — Williams’s question could be read as a damning indictment of Abrams’s fortunes in the years since she first stood for the Georgia governorship.
A lot has changed between now and 2018, when Abrams last took on Kemp — for both candidates and the Peach State itself. Back then, their race was too close to call. Kemp ended up winning the governor’s mansion by just shy of 55,000 votes, in Georgia’s closest gubernatorial contest since 1966. Abrams refused to accept the legitimacy of the result.
In the time since, we’ve seen court challenges, fawning talk-show appearances, State of the Union rebuttals, glowing national magazine profiles, new grassroots voting organizations, a change in president and both Georgia senators, attempts to overturn a presidential election, a global pandemic, an overreaction to a global pandemic and a Star Trek cameo. All of those factors combined to bring us up to the present day, when Brian Kemp holds a substantial lead over his old rival. Some polls have it at double digits.
But, as Chuck Williams pointed out, Georgians agree with Abrams on a number of key policy areas. They know who she is. So why don’t they like her anymore?
“I do not believe it’s because of a deep well of enthusiasm for my opponent,” Abrams told Ali Velshi on MSNBC this weekend. “Unfortunately this year black men have been a very targeted population for misinformation.” Of course. It’s the children who are wrong.
Blake Masters Grows Up
When I spoke to Masters this summer, in the lobby of a Phoenix hotel after a campaign event, he was relaxed about what label to put on his politics and in a reconciliatory mood when it came to the old guard. “I don’t mind the term ‘New Right,’” he said. “I don’t mind the term ‘national conservatism.’ I don’t mind the term ‘populism.’ I don’t use them myself. And there is a lot about traditional Republicanism to like. President Trump is really good at this. He knew when to stick close to traditional conservative principles. And he also knew when to throw out the conventional playbook because it was too corrupt or doesn’t work anymore.”
As for the failings of current Republican leadership on the Hill, Masters laments that it is “inherently defensive.” That’s “valuable,” he says. “Mitch McConnell is good at blocking the Democrats. He is good at some stuff. The nation owes him a lot for blocking Merrick Garland and now we have the Supreme Court that we do. And I think that defense is a huge part of a winning strategy — and also we need to play offense. I think this is one problem with the Senate… you get in there and you become the establishment and you get disconnected. So I feel like that is where the New Right energy comes from. It’s more populist if you define populist as knowing that the powers that be are out of touch with normal people. Obviously Mitch McConnell was like way, way better than Chuck Schumer, right? But I think there’s some element where no, you need some younger people with a different perspective who know that the status quo does not work. It does not work remotely as well as advertised.”
Will The Left Coast Turn Right?
As cities from Seattle and Portland to San Francisco and Los Angeles fight crime and disorder, something of a political rebellion has broken out. One progressive fashion entrepreneur has called San Francisco “a city of chaos,” where his employees are not safe. The city, by some estimates, has deteriorated further and faster than virtually any urban area in the country. Within the last year, though, San Francisco recalled its progressive district attorney, Chesa Boudin, as well as left-wing members of the city school board. Meantime, remarkably, Seattle elected a Republican as city attorney, and Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón has faced backlash, and a possible recall. Voters have a chance to continue the rebellion this week.
Progressive candidates will likely eke out some wins. L.A. mayoral candidate and former Republican Rick Caruso has recovered some momentum after a weak summer and could conceivably beat progressive opponent Karen Bass, though Bass leads in betting markets. In Washington, long-time Democratic senator Patty Murray faces a surprisingly tough challenge from Republican Tiffany Smiley, though Murray, too, is favored.
But some heterodox candidates seem poised for upsets. In Oregon, Christine Drazan could become the first Republican governor since the 1980s, replacing the ultra-progressive and highly unpopular Kate Brown. In California, Republican Lanhee Chen, endorsed by the state’s usually lockstep progressive press, could be elected state controller, in what would be the first statewide win for a Republican since 2006.
Bono profile in Christianity Today.
Items of Interest
Zelensky sets conditions for peace talks with Russia.
Chinese business leaders see environment that gave them success pulled away.
Sandinistas fully take over Nicaraguan politics.
Biden, Trump rally on eve of Election Day.
Carney: Joe Biden’s bizarre closing argument.
Ballot measures and referenda to be decided today.
Two abortion ballot measures are about more than just abortion.
The GOP’s plans for Congress include scrapping the pandemic policies.
GOP gaining support among black, Latino voters.
Athey: Could Gretchen Whitmer lose to Tudor Dixon?
Kari Lake called John McCain a “hero” when he died, now calls him a “loser”.
Beto O’Rourke has run for Senate, president, and governor, and failed at all.
Don Bolduc was supposed to lose, but he might win.
Philadelphia election vote count to be slowed by GOP suit.
McCarthy and Youngkin campaign for Virginia seats in final day.
Jeff Miller in powerful position vis a vis McCarthy.
Pelosi: Attack on husband will influence plans to stay as leader.
Butler: How Biden’s historians continue to dishonor their profession.
Kasparian: Progressives must stop gaslighting on crime.
Justice Dept. watchdog probing Massachusetts US attorney.
Trump teases “very big announcement” at Mar a Lago next week.
McGurn: Trump fires at DeSantis and misses.
How Steve Kornacki prepares for the midterms.
Elon Musk’s big moves at Twitter.
Soave: What Elon Musk can do about free speech at Twitter.
Steve Krenzel: The most unethical thing I was asked to build at Twitter.
Larman: Why elections are always better in the movies.
Yes, you do in fact have to hand it to the Astros.
Jimmy Kimmel to host the Oscars in 2023.
Jimmy Kimmel brings wife on to exhort viewers to vote for abortion in 2022.
Sylvester Stallone interview on Tulsa King.
“It is the mark of our whole modern history that the masses are kept quiet with a fight. They are kept quiet by the fight because it is a sham-fight; thus most of us know by this time that the Party System has been popular only in the sense that a football match is popular.”
— G.K. Chesterton