What Are You Waiting For? Predict The Future!
The 2022 midterms are set to be one crazy night
When I was growing up, my family didn’t have cable TV, something that I have never regretted. But what that meant was news was confined to the nightly broadcasts — we were a Peter Jennings household — and political discussion was limited to The McLaughlin Group. I always liked the rather over the top predictions section they had at the end, with a rapid fire sequence of often out of nowhere suggestions about what was to come.
Part of the joy of this whole show was the level of certainty with which John McLaughlin himself spoke of the unknowable future, which Dana Carvey parodied handily.
When we get into the predictions game as commentators, we’re making a lot of bets about the future across a very large field of possibilities with certain allowances for fundamentals and for flukes.
The fundamentals in this case are obvious: the 2022 midterms will come down to the right track/wrong track polling and the president’s approval rating. That indicates a very, very good night for Republicans, one borne out by history.
The flukes? Well, a number of these Senate candidates have various problems, the polling has been off by quite a bit in a number of these states in the past, and the how much will the gubernatorial races or abortion referendums impact the outcomes in key contests. Should you give Tudor Dixon and Dr. Oz a slight negative while giving Blake Masters and Herschel Walker a boost, and if so, by how much?
My own perspective is that this election has been pretty predictable ever since the post-Dobbs Democratic boost extracted as much energy as possible from their voters and once the Senate nominees got more money following their fractious primaries. Nothing Joe Biden or the Democrats have done in the past two months has changed the fundamentals of this campaign to improve their prospects, and I’d argue he’s actually made things worse.
Republicans are going to win the House, this is in McLaughlin’s phrasing “metaphysical certitude”, and the only question is by how much — where I believe their win total could approach 40 seats. We’ll know early: if the GOP sweeps through the competitive seats in Virginia as I believe they could, it will be an awful night for Democrats.
Republicans are going to win the Senate, but I think we may not know that they have for a couple of days, depending on how good the early hours go and if we have to wait for Nevada and Arizona.
Republicans are going to do very well in the governor races, though they may lose in Oklahoma and will probably lose New York, despite an impressive effort by Lee Zeldin that will have down-ballot benefits.
One significant ramification of this red wave will be the elimination and destruction of the political hopes of an entire swathe of Gen X Democrats who have to this point dabbled with national hopes. In Ohio, Tim Ryan’s exposure as a fake moderate as Teresa Mull writes will lead to his downfall. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams’ radicalism will allow Brian Kemp to beat her by even more than last time. And in Texas, Greg Abbott will do Democrats a favor in ridding them of the costly mistake that has been trying to make Beto O’Rourke happen:
Beto O’Rourke, the erstwhile congressman from El Paso, Texas, who has far more glossy national magazine profiles than winning campaigns, is about to go down to defeat in his attempt to unseat centrist conservative Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott is a popular governor and quite capable in his own right of popping wheelies over most Democrats. But Beto has approached his run with all of his usual nationally tested talking points recycled from his idiotic presidential crusade, designed to go viral on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and via the T-shirt worn by your daughter’s boyfriend who is still trying to find himself after sophomore year.
O’Rourke is depicted in these profiles in a way typically confined to the pages of poorly written romance novels originally conceived by housewives who had youthful fantasies about Bobby Kennedy ravaging them tastefully in Peter Lawford’s beach house, albeit after a good day of beefing ollies in the Whataburger parking lot.
The Beto “swoonery,” as Jack Shafer called it, has proven to be the most enduring aspect of his brand, as if designed by NBC writers as a follow-on to Martin Sheen on The West Wing. He even had the high intellects and moral exemplars of “Pod Save America,” Obama veterans Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor, bet big on his potential. And it was all for naught.
O’Rourke was first elected to federal office in 2012, and he has been running ever since with the same Kennedyesque dedication he employed while fleeing the scene of a DWI. In all, over the past decade, according to the calculations of Texas politicos, his campaigns have cost $194,185,526 — and it will be more by the time the final report comes in. The idea that close to a quarter billion dollars will be spent trying to make Beto O’Rourke something more than a mediocre Democratic congressman from a seat so lopsided that Republicans sometimes don’t even bother to nominate a candidate is pretty amazing.
Yet that’s what today’s Democratic Party has become: if you nationalize your message, go viral often enough, and enlist journalists to praise the way you sweat through your shirts — so sexily, as opposed to Ted Cruz — you too can suck massive amounts of cash out of the pockets of idiot donors who are too busy feeling good about their rightness to analyze what kind of Democrat would actually win in Texas.
So, I predict this will be a day long remembered. It will see the end of Pelosi, and will soon see the end of the Democratic Party as we know it. I hope you will watch our coverage on Fox. Here, your soundtrack if you decide to watch CNN or MSNBC.
I’ll have more later today, but in the meantime, enjoy this thread of some of the best images from the 2022 midterms.