WHEN Ron DeSantis won big in Florida to start off a tense night of midterm elections, Republicans had every reason to maintain their initial optimism going into November.
The GOP had their sights on blocking the second half of Joe Biden’s first term in office by taking control of the House and Senate, and DeSantis’ rout gave them every reason to believe.
But their hopes slowly dissipated as the night went on.
The largest electoral weathervane, perhaps, was in Pennsylvania, where Donald Trump-backed Mehmet Oz took on John Fetterman in what had been a bad-tempered race up to that point.
In the end, Fetterman ended up flipping some counties to take a comfortable victory.
In New York, Kathy Hochul held off a well-funded surge from her Republican opponent to become the state’s first ever female governor.
As for the House, results went a similar way.
“When you awake,” Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said before the results came in, “we will be in the majority and Nancy Pelosi will be in the minority.”
At the time of writing, the GOP have failed to make significant ground – and thus may be at the mercy of their extreme, Trump-inspired wing.
Trump didn’t have a great night – many of his chosen candidates lost, while DeSantis, his most likely 2024 opponent, has only grown in stature.
But though the results seem solid enough on the surface for the Democrats, it wasn’t down to Biden – simply put, the red tsunami never materialised,
Biden needs to step it up over the next two years. The Democrats cannot rely on people voting out of fear – this was a crucial set of elections for issues like abortion – but must give people something to vote for. They did not thrive during this set of elections, but merely survived.
It’s fair to say that Trump – who has an announcement to make on the 15th (no prizes for guessing what) – will be back in the fore.
He may have lost in 2020, but there’s still pent-up anger and mass support for #45. Biden, meanwhile, seems to be on the decline – if he can’t step it up personally, he must do so in the field of policy – and fast.
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