Selena Zito noted that every two years the voters send Washington a message and every two years they fail to get it.
One educated conservative voter said, “I did not vote for Trump in 2016 and was happy he won; I voted for him in 2020 and was happy he lost.” Of course, she was able to say this after it looked like the Republicans did OK in the other races; picked up seats in the House, retained the Senate, and slightly improved in state elections. Even if they lose the Senate runoff races it is a split chamber.
The two Senate runoffs in GA is a first in history, and the stakes are very high. With Trump gone the incentive for a strong blue turnout has been diminished, but Trump also drove a strong red turnout. The incentive to keep VP Harris from being the deciding Senate vote remains strong for the red voters. We can expect an insane amount of money to flow into these races from around the nation.
The fact that this race was even winnable for Trump in the face of the pandemic and its associated recession only highlights the liability of his tremendous character flaws. He has no one to blame but himself. I suspect that half of his support came reluctantly from voters more afraid of the radical elements of the left than his character flaws. It serves no purpose to blame a biased media; that is just a fact to be accepted. The media is greatly disrespected and was before Trump, but that did not stop Trump from winning in 2016 or stop the success of the downstream Republicans this time. If Trump had only a modest dose of civility, humility, or empathy he would have won in a landslide.
A quarter of a billion dollars was spent by Democrats to unseat McConnell, Graham, and Collins and they lost by a combined 35 points. Susan Collins won in a blue state. Once again, the limits of money in politics is displayed.
With a much narrower margin in the House and likely GOP control of the Senate, the woke zealotry of the Democrats and their flirtation with socialism has been dealt a blow. Biden will face a loud and frustrated faction in his party. He will be able to blame McConnell who will replace Trump as the great Satan, but Mitch lacks the need for daily attention and the Twitter account. Ironically, McConnell may also save the Democrats from their radical elements, which cost them dearly in the down ticket races.
Identity politics lost. The Hispanic vote proved far from monolithic, especially in Florida. Ironically, immigrants proved to be an asset there. Refugees from Cuba, Central America, and Venezuela were repelled by the socialist element in the Democratic party. They know the reality only too well. Trump improved in minority support.
Trump will not go quietly into the night. The value of a common demon for the left is seductive; they will continue to run against him for years and will keep him in the limelight. Trump’s narcissistic ego will keep demanding the public’s attention and the media from both sides will continue to give it to him as long as it generates clicks and shares and ad revenue.
We remain a divided nation with two competing and incompatible narratives. One says we are irredeemably morally flawed and the other says we remain the land of opportunity and freedom, even if we are an unfinished and imperfect work. Trump may have lost, but the latter vision remains intact.