2022 midterm elections: Where things stand
- Control of the House and Senate is still too early to call, with Democrats having performed better in battleground states than some polls predicted.
- The Senate race in Georgia between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed Herschel Walker will advance to a Dec. 6 runoff.
- Talk of a potential Ron DeSantis bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination grew after his landslide re-election victory in Florida, likely to the ire of former President Donald Trump.
No matter what happens next, Dems' performance was historic
More than 24 hours after most polls closed, we still have no idea which party is going to control the House and the Senate. And it may be weeks before we have a definitive answer. But the fact that we don’t have a conclusive answer is an enormous and historic victory for Democrats, irrespective of how this all pans out.
As my colleague Michael A. Cohen noted, “It is, without exaggeration, one of the most stunning electoral outcomes in modern American history.” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C, even conceded last night that the elections are “definitely not a Republican wave, that’s for darn sure.”
On average, since 1934, the president’s party loses four Senate seats and 28 House seats in the midterm elections, and the Democrats will have defied those statistics when all is said and done. In a way, this is not necessarily surprising given how singular and shocking this political moment in history has been. But these results are sure to be studied closely by both parties as we head into the next fraught and bitterly partisan electoral chapter.
Apparently, voting harder works
Turns out, a sense of imminent danger gets people to take action.
Heading into this midterm election, 70% of Americans told pollsters they considered American democracy “at risk.” Biden placed democracy firmly on the ballot, but Democrats and Republicans differed on how that risk came about.
The immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade had Democrats and independent women motivated to vote. Something about rights you’ve taken for granted being under attack became motivating.
The ongoing, unfounded conspiracy about stolen elections took over Republican Party narratives, with several election deniers running for office. But in the wake of no “red wave,” right-wing activist Roger Stone and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones opined online that the rampant belief in rigged elections may have caused Trump’s base to give up on voting entirely.
We are seeing a part of the electorate vote harder: Voters younger than 45 turned out in record numbers for Democrats. Independents, who historically go double digits away from the party that has the White House, also voted for Democrats. Black women and men voted more than 90% for Democrats. This is the winning coalition for Democrats, should they wish to grab it.
NYC’s Democratic mayor sets tone for Republicans’ crime message
If Republicans found fears about crime an effective messaging topic this election season, they have New York City Mayor Eric Adams to thank.
A former police captain, Adams campaigned in 2021 on helping New Yorkers feel safe walking around the city again, a crime-is-a-problem narrative that dominated right-wing media outlets. Adams vowed to “deploy more police officers in the streets and subways,” using his first major policy address as mayor to bring back a controversial undercover gun task force with “boots on the ground, on every block in the city.”
Images of police out in force in the big city, arresting people in the subways, flooded cable television.
Based on the rhetoric from New York City Hall and Fox News, you would never know that murder rates were higher in so-called red states than blue. Murders increased five times more in Houston than in NYC. And while there is no evidence that bail reform leads to higher crime rates, voters have come to support criminal justice reform with “releasing criminals.”
In a polarized, anxious political climate, preying on people’s fears about crime will continue to be a winning message for Republicans — with many Democrats joining forces.
Zooey Zephyr captures significance of her win in moving post
Zooey Zephyr just became Montana’s first out trans person elected to the Montana state Legislature and joined the incredibly rare ranks of out trans elected officials.
For context, out of 7,383 state legislators across the country, only 8 — or 0.1% — are trans, vastly underrepresenting trans and gender non-conforming populations. Around 1.6% of adults, overall, and 5% of young adults identify as nonbinary or transgender, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
In a tweet today, Zephyr described a moving moment she shared with a flight attendant, whose son is trans, after learning she won her race.
In the post, Zephyr explained that despite the extraordinary assault on trans people, both rhetorically and legislatively, she believes the advancement of trans rights and representation would prevail precisely because of the humanity she shared with the flight attendant in that moment.
Zephyr said the flight attendant explained the beauty of her son’s transition — “how much happier and healthier he is” — and the heartbreak it contained, too, given how socially and politically frightening it is for trans and gender non-conforming individuals. This is something I’ve written about, having recently come out as trans myself. My personal and individual euphoria was rivaled only by intense fears about my physical and emotional safety as trans people have become scapegoats and targets of the right.
Zephyr concluded: “This is why we’ll win the fight for trans rights. Because we’re not a concept to be debated. We’re your family, your neighbors, your colleagues, & more. & if you don’t think you know us, rest assured — even 30,000’ in the sky — you’re never far from someone who cares about us.”
Worst game of musical chairs ever could cost Dems the House
Democrats losing four U.S. House seats in New York isn’t a red trend, but it’s the one place where the Dems in Disarray narrative has born out.
Democrats in the state are blaming, in no particular order:
- Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo for appointing conservative judges who threw out the Democrats’ redistricting map
- State Senate Democrats for not leaving well enough alone, and instead tried to aggressively push for even more Democratic friendly districts, causing an independent mapmaker to settle district lines
- DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney for choosing to run in his colleague Mondaire Jones’ slightly redrawn district, an area Maloney had never run in before
- Maloney’s choice to continue his power pit two Black progressive House members against each other, with Jones losing to Rep. Jamaal Bowman
The results? Democrats ended up competing in new turf in New York’s 17th Congressional District, as opposed to having a popular Black Democrat incumbent defend his seat. And the architect of Democrats’ efforts to keep the House is now the poster child for what happens when party bosses can’t make room for progressives.
Jan. 6 participant will return to the Capitol — as a congressman
Derrick Van Orden, a Trump loyalist who rallied outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, won his U.S. House race in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District. Though yesterday was not a great day for Jan. 6 participants (14 of them reportedly ran for office), just one of them winning is a grim reality for America.
Van Orden, a former Navy SEAL, was at the Ellipse for the pro-Trump rally on Jan. 6 and then made his way toward the Capitol as violence erupted.
Another GOP candidate with ties to Jan. 6 — former Trump adviser Max Miller — won his U.S. House race in Ohio’s 7th Congressional District. Miller is believed to have met with Trump two days before Jan. 6 to help organize the rally.
Though the political horror of the day was dissected and processed by the exhaustive House Jan. 6 committee hearing, less widely discussed has been the trauma incurred by many members of Congress due to the events of that day. Having Van Orden and Miller as colleagues is both an insult and potentially retraumatizing.
On the one-year anniversary of the insurrection, the Associated Press devoted a story to the psychological scars inflicted on elected officials. “Vividly they remember the loud, hornet-like buzz of their gas masks,” the AP’s Mary Clare Jalonick wrote. “The explosive crack of tear gas in the hallways outside. The screams of officers telling them to stay down. The thunderous beating on the doors below. Glass shattering as the rioters punched through a window pane. The knobs rattling ominously on the locked doors just a few feet behind them. And most indelibly, the loud clap of a gunshot, reverberating across the cavernous chamber.”
Many politicians called loved ones to say goodbye and were forced to return day in and day out to the site in order to do their jobs, which itself was distressing.
“Just remember, we’re on the right side of history — if we all die today, another group will come in and certify those ballots,” Rep. Val Demmings, D-Fla., recalled telling her colleague in an interview with AP.
Van Orden flipped the seat, defeating Democratic state Sen. Brad Pfaff, after Democrat Rep. Ron Kind decided not to run for re-election, while Miller won a safely red seat. Given the uncertainty regarding which party will control the House — and if Van Orden’s win will help achieve the GOP’s goal or if it is ultimately moot — it remains unclear how big of a role the two men will have in legislating. If Democrats are able to retain control, then at least their role will be comparatively diminished. But if Republicans keep control, Van Orden and Miller’s presence would be an even bigger insult to injury… not to mention an irony, given their rejection of the legislative and electoral process.
The most recent votes from Nevada are twice as nice for Dems
The latest votes to come in for Nevada’s Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, favored Democrats over Republicans by 2-to-1, which was exactly what Dems were hoping for. This is an encouraging sign for Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who barely trails Republican candidate Adam Laxalt and hopes to make up the difference.
The combination of Las Vegas leaning blue and the fact that Democrats are more likely to mail in their ballots gives the party hope. This latest batch of votes is in line with these expectations.
The latest Arizona results are in, and they're good news for Dems
The most recent batch of votes are in from Arizona’s closely watched Maricopa County, where Phoenix is the county seat.
About 62,000 new votes came in, of which 33,842 (or 55%) went to the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Mark Kelly, and 26,521 (or 43%) went to Republican candidate Blake Masters. As Steve Kornacki noted, the results increased Kelly’s small lead: Kelly picked up about 10,000 votes in the past hour and now has about 95,000 more votes than Masters.
The beatings will continue until …
In May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mourned the disappearance of an old, familiar foe: a respectable and sensible Republican Party.
“I want the Republican Party to take back the party. Take it back to where you were when you cared about a woman’s right to choose and you cared about the environment,” she said. “Here I am, Nancy Pelosi, saying this country needs a strong Republican Party … not a cult.”
Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat who NBC News projects has won re-election to the House in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, expressed a similar sentiment Wednesday, except she voiced it as a kind of threat: “As much as I want to, I cannot fix the Republican Party. What I can do is, when they put up extreme candidates with extreme views, I can beat them over and over at the ballot box until they decide, as a party, that they must walk another path.”
The election where everyone learned about secretaries of state
“As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault,” said President Biden in his “soul of the nation” speech two months ago. “We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise.”
Biden made defense of democracy a centerpiece of his campaign, his time in office, and his closing statement to voters last week. The rude awakening of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol made the American public keenly aware of the lack of awareness of the functioning of our election process.
Hundreds of Republicans who still refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the last election were on the ballot yesterday — some of them running for secretary of state, the office in each state that determines all local voting rules. Let that sink in: Election deniers were running to control how the rest of us vote.
So far, democracy is holding strong.
In six battleground states, votes cast for democracy beat back election deniers and conspiracy theorists in key statewide positions. Democrats won the governorships in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Democrats won the secretary of state seats in Michigan and Wisconsin. The Republican governor and secretary of state in Georgia who famously bucked Trump’s conspiracy theories in 2020, refusing calls to change votes, were both re-elected.
All eyes are now on Arizona and Nevada, two swing states where election deniers are still in the running to run elections.
Boebert is all hat, no cattle
For a few minutes on Election Day, the term “Bobo” was trending on Twitter, which turned out to be a reference to Rep. Lauren Boebert’s tough re-election fight in a district designed to favor a Republican incumbent. Out of more than 300,000 ballots cast, Boebert and her Democratic challenger, Adam Frisch, are currently separated by a few dozen votes.
I used to work in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District as a communicator for two elections. Back in 2004, in another historic midterm year that bucked the trend, Republican President Bush maintained party control of the House, yet CO-3 still sent a Democrat to Congress.
It’s a contrarian district that requires a congressperson to equally represent elites in Aspen, roughnecks in Rifle, and union workers in Pueblo. This was once Ben Nighthorse Campbell’s seat, the Cheyenne candidate who infamously switched parties to become a senator and famously wore bolo ties in D.C.
The politics of Boebert’s district have always leaned libertarian — gun owners who like their Social Security and want government out of their business — and they’ve never tolerated stupid of any political persuasion.
Conventional wisdom is that no one from the fancy ski slopes of Aspen could win districtwide. John Salazar won as a Democrat because he was an active farmer and rancher from the valley. Frisch was on the Aspen City Council, easily labeled a city slicker. But Boebert leaned into a brand of Christian evangelism better suited for Colorado Springs, arguing against the separation of church and state. She touted her use of guns, displaying a lack of basic gun safety in her virtual background displays. Her constituents noticed.
In a district gerrymandered for a Republican, Boebert has tried too hard to be a personality and instead became the caricature of Western frontier spirit held dear by rural Coloradoans. She’s all hat, no cattle, which is why we’re now seeing Republican counties rejecting her extreme positions and independent voters willing to take a chance on the Pitkin County financial planner. At least he makes sense.
Trump is apparently mad at reports that say he's mad
One of our contributors, Liz Plank, noted earlier today a report from The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, who said Trump was embarrassed last night by how poorly his hand-picked Republican candidates fared against some of the Democrats and was lashing out. According to that report, he even blamed his wife, Melania, for his endorsement of Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor who lost his U.S. Senate race against Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.
Not true! Trump told Fox News. "There is a fake news narrative that I was furious — it is just the opposite.” He said he has no reason to be mad because his endorsees won “216 to 19 in the general election — that is amazing.”
That would only be amazing if the 235 races he’s counting were all competitive, but in many big elections — particularly, U.S. House elections — competitive races are the exception. All 435 members of the House have to run every two years, for example, but by Election Day, The Cook Political Report counted 159 districts as solidly Democrat, 188 as solidly Republican and only 36 were considered real toss-ups.
As Michael Cohen wrote for MSNBC Daily earlier today, history, high inflation and an unpopular Democrat in the White House were on Republicans’ side yesterday. And there’s still uncertainty whether they’ll pick up the five House seats or one Senate seat they need to gain control of those chambers.
Trump ought to be upset. Not at other people. Not at his wife. But at himself.
I know, I know. As if.
The right is melting down over the tiny red ripple
Fox News host Jesse Watters was having a bit of a midterms-induced meltdown moment today. First he tried to convince viewers that the mainstream narrative was wrong because there was in fact a secret red wave that nobody was paying attention to; his evidence was some notable Republican victories in places like Georgia and Texas. For the record, that is not in fact a red wave — since the definition of a red wave is overwhelming margins of victory in races and in control of Congress. While a lot is still up in the air, so far the data suggests Biden has had the best midterm elections that a president has had in decades.
Mid-comment, Watters seems to realize he’s only convincing himself, and devolves into a rant about how young people are being “brain-washed” by “single women,” and how Republicans don’t seem to “hate” Biden the way they did with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Watters might want to consider logging off for a while.
Sen. Lisa Murkwoski, GOP challenger advance to runoff in Alaska
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and GOP challenger Kelly Tshibaka are advancing to a runoff election after neither candidate exceeded the 50% threshold to win the race outright, NBC News projects.
David Axelrod’s convenient fallacy
David Axelrod, a former adviser to Barack Obama, decided to use the Democrats’ success in fending off a “red wave” to defend his old boss from criticism that he joined efforts to help Dems get elected too late. Axelrod tweeted today that Obama’s 11th hour intervention was perfectly timed, and that the Democrats’ outperformance of expectations proved that.
That … isn’t persuasive. The question is whether Democrats could’ve done even better had Obama entered the fray with rallies and special fundraising efforts even earlier. And given what the historical record shows about the way that endorsements from trusted figures and media attention can affect races, there’s good reason to think Obama could’ve moved the dial more had it not been his reticence to become too involved in the daily muck of American politics.
You’re more likely to have waited longer to vote if you’re poor and/or Black or Latino
As reports of long voter wait times came in (the last voter in Ann Arbor, Michigan, cast their ballot at 2:05 a.m. after waiting for six hours), it is a good time to remind ourselves which Americans are prone to having to wait longer to vote on Election Day. Poorer Americans are more likely to face long lines. And Black and Latinos are more likely to face longer wait times than white Americans. This a deliberate and successful tactic for disenfranchisement, particularly as poorer Americans often cannot afford to take off hours from work.
Nearly twice as many Black voters than white voters reported waiting longer than 30 minutes to vote, “surpassing the acceptable threshold for wait times set by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration,” according to a report on voting wait times published by the Brennan Center for Justice in 2020. “More generally, Latino voters waited on average 46% longer than white voters, and Black voters waited on average 45% longer than white voters.”
And using smartphone data aggregated by Cuebiq, The New York Times found that poor people who voted in 2020 were far more likely than rich people to have to wait more than an hour to vote. Using a similar technique in 2016 rendered analogous results.
A gradual reduction of polling stations in Georgia has resulted in increasingly long wait times for nonwhite residents. “The clogged polling locations in metro Atlanta reflect an underlying pattern: The number of places to vote has shrunk statewide, with little recourse,” NPR reported in 2020. “Although the reduction in polling places has taken place across racial lines, it has primarily caused long lines in nonwhite neighborhoods.”
While we’re still waiting on complete voting data from these midterms, it is safe to conclude that similar patterns prevailed in this election, as the GOP has made multipronged and systematic efforts to disenfranchise Americans, especially poor and minority ones. It is a salient reminder that election laws must be overhauled and federalized, lest this country become a plutocracy instead of a democracy — or at least more than it already has.
Maura Healey is the first out lesbian governor — a fact you won’t learn in a Florida school
Massachusetts Democrat Maura Healey made history on Tuesday, becoming the first out lesbian to be elected governor. As MSNBC’s Joy Reid noted tonight, it’s “an historical fact children probably can’t learn in Florida schools.” Reid perfectly identified the absurdity of Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
The bill is so extreme — and so ridiculous — that “some school officials have been accused of warning teachers not to wear rainbow articles of clothing,” according to NBC News reporter Matt Lavietes. The school board for Leon County in Florida even voted to require that parents be informed if their children are exposed to other children who are “open about their gender identity” on overnight school trips or PE class.
In Florida, rainbows, it would seem, are just as dangerous as American history.
Kentucky AG essentially waves off voters' decision on abortion
Kentucky voters rejected a ballot proposal that would amend the state's constitution to explicitly state it does not protect a right to abortion. But the state's Republican attorney general, Daniel Cameron, released a statement today essentially shrugging off voters' decision.
"Today, we filed a motion with the Kentucky Supreme Court to explain why this outcome has no bearing on whether the Court should consider creating a Kentucky version of Roe v. Wade," Cameron said. "We urge the Court to interpret our Constitution based on its original meeting, and we look forward to presenting our case on November 15."
Biden takes a victory lap
Biden’s post-Election Day press conference just now was a victory lap, an opportunity to discuss his future agenda, and a chance to declare his big picture values. Here are some highlights:
- “It was a good day, I think, for democracy.” Biden framed the failure of the “red wave” to materialize as an expression of American voters’ concerns about the radical MAGA turn of the Republican Party.
- Biden celebrated the fact that after much anxiety about election violence, most voting went very smoothly. “That’s a testament to the American people,” he said, relishing the idea that the republic was resilient in the face of democratic degradation.
- Biden acknowledged that while the “red wave” didn’t materialize, Republicans had real wins in congressional races, and that concerns about issues like inflation and crime were problems he understood as worth addressing. But he also felt that the Democrats’ shockingly strong performance spoke to a desire to “preserve democracy and protect the right to choose.”
- When asked what he planned to change about his agenda to make people feel the country was going in the right direction, Biden said “nothing.” His reasoning was that a lot of the best policies that the Democrats have passed in the last two years are just about to kick in, and he was confident that they would develop buy-in and help lower costs for people, with measures such as lower prescription drug prices.
- When asked a potential 2024 bid, Biden said his position is the same — that his intention is to run again. But he also implied that he might be considering it more seriously after seeing Democrats outperform expectations yesterday — suggesting his party is stronger than it looks in the polls these days.
If GOP is convinced elections are rigged, why isn't it doing this?
Predictably, some GOP election deniers are pushing conspiracy theories, especially in tight races where they might want to subvert unfavorable results. This leaves many pundits wondering: If some Republicans are so convinced the elections are compromised, why aren’t they asking the vote count to be stopped?
As Matt Gertz of Media Matters points out, their hesitancy in legally challenging the electoral process at this stage reveals their hand: Conspiracy theorists are expediently sowing seeds in case Democrats end up winning some of these races.
Historic number of female governors isn't a win for women
For the very first time in history, the number of female governors is projected to be in the double digits. By 2023, a dozen female governors could be in power.
Given that women are still vastly under-represented in all branches of government, and no woman has ever made it to the White House, any shift in the balance of power is welcome, but in a year where women’s rights were on the ballot, there seems to be cautious optimism.
Just look at Arkansas. The state is projected to have just elected its first female governor, but many see in Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a threat to feminist progress. She’s staunchly anti-abortion and has a dangerous track record of making light of women’s lack of access to birth control. She also gained national prominence by becoming the spokesperson for one of the most openly misogynistic presidents in modern American history, who was systemically derogatory to women of color.
Arizona will also have its first female governor if Republican Kari Lake wins, but she supports restricting abortion, and has flip-flopped on whether it should include exceptions for rape and incest. The anti-choice policies that Lake advocates for are said to disproportionately impact Latinas, especially those living in such high concentration in states like Arizona. Lake also wants to end limit gender-affirming care.
More women in power doesn’t always mean better policies for the women who aren’t. In order to truly create an equal and fair society, we must recognize that the gender of the candidate isn’t necessarily synonymous with who they will fight for.
We might not know the Las Vegas results until next week
During a news conference this afternoon, Nevada’s Clark County registrar said more than 27,400 mail-in ballots had yet to be counted. Joe Gloria said he did not have an estimate for the number of ballots deposited yesterday in drop boxes throughout the county, which includes the highly populous Las Vegas, but said it was “a considerable amount.”
The long of the short of it is we might not know the results until next week.
“Mail-in ballots can be delivered until Saturday, and issues with mail-in ballots can be corrected, a process called curing, until Monday,” as FiveThirtyEight explained. While Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt is marginally ahead of the Democratic incumbent, Catherine Cortez Masto, the sheer number of untabulated ballots could possibly work in her favor, both because Las Vegas and its metro area tend to lean blue and because Democrats are more likely to mail their ballots than Republicans, who generally prefer to vote in person.
While college grads voted Democrat, the wealthy voted Republican
One of the more striking — though far from unprecedented — findings from the 2022 exit polls was the difference in two-party vote share by education and wealth. Democrats won voters making under $50,000 and voters with a college or graduate school education. The splits were particularly stark at each end of the respective scales: Democrats won 54% of voters with household incomes under $30,000, but just 41% of those in households making over $200,000.
This split isn’t anything new, but it’s important data to keep in mind the next time you see a GOP lawmaker or a Fox News talking head whine about the “elites.” By any objective measure, in a capitalist society, a person making $200,000 a year is more “elite” than a person who survived eight college semesters. But it serves Republicans’ interests to muddy these distinctions of class — the better to falsely portray themselves as serving the people.
A ‘new national baseline’ for Latino voters?
Veteran Latino political observer and Lincoln Project co-founder Mike Madrid made an interesting observation about national exit polls and Latino voters.
The official 2022 exit poll breakdown for overall Latino voters landed at 60% for Democrats and 39% for Republicans. Is this a “new national baseline”? The answer is not fully clear, if two data points are taken into account — first, the breakdown of the current Latino exit poll data and, second, the historical data from previous exit poll cycles.
The 60-39 overall split fluctuates among different subgroups under the Latino category. For young Latino voters between the ages of 18 and 29, Democratic support peaked at 68% and Republican support decreased to 30%. As the Latino respondents get older, the support for Democrats decreases, with 44% of Latinos ages 45 to 64 choosing Republicans. To avoid the “new national baseline,” Democrats need to lean in with younger Latino voters, who still represent the largest share of Latino voters overall.
The same can be said of Latina women overall, with 66% supporting Democrats and 33% supporting the GOP, as opposed to Latino men, who went 53% for Democrats and 45% for Republicans. More Latinas running for Democratic office will very likely maintain that split. As for Latino men, there has yet to be a Latino male candidate who is capturing their imagination.
With that said, though, the 2018 national midterm exit polls had a 69-29 Democratic advantage with Latino voters, and in 2014, the national exit polls for the House showed 62% support for Democrats and 36% for Republicans. In the 2010 House exit polls, Latino support for Democrats was at 66% and Republicans at 34%.
In other words, support has fluctuated.
A simpler reason why it feels that there is more Latino voter support for Republicans has more to do with raw voting numbers. As Pew clearly noted, the share of eligible Latino voters keeps increasing. In 2022, the Latino share of eligible voters was 14.3%. It was 12.8% in 2018, and in 2000 that number was just 7.4%.
The bigger takeaway about the 34.5 million eligible Latino voters is not that there is a “new national baseline,” but that Latino voters are much more complex and more diverse and maybe cannot be viewed in generalized terms anymore.
'Good day': Biden reacts to midterms in White House speech
President Biden is giving his first press conference in the aftermath of Election Day, calling the apparent lack of a "red wave" a big win for decency and democracy.
“It was a good day, I think, for democracy," Biden said during his speech at the White House, adding: "Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are."
It bears repeating, of course, that the votes are still being tallied in some key races, and control of the House and Senate has not yet been determined.
All but two of Texas GOP's school board endorsees lose
New Mexico is solidly blue, thanks to Latinos
Moving away from the obsession with Florida and Latino voters, it’s time to focus a bit more on New Mexico, the state with the largest share of eligible Latino voters in the country (44%), according to Pew. Granted, New Mexico’s total of 1.3 million registered voters pales in comparison with states like Florida, Texas, California, New York and Arizona (the five states with the largest number of Latino voters), but Democrats can use the New Mexico success as an extension of a Southwest strategy that can help neutralize Latino Republican success in a place like Florida.
Looking at the New Mexico electoral map this afternoon, and it is all blue. Two of the three House races were already called for Democrats. In the third race, Democrat Gabriel Vasquez is leading Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell by half a percentage point with 99% of the vote counted.
For state races, Democrats won all the major races. Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham defeated Republican Mark Ronchetti for governor, Democratic incumbent Maggie Toulouse Oliver won the secretary of state race over 2020 election denier Audrey Trujillo, and Democrat Raúl Torrez took the attorney general’s race.
Having a solidly blue state in the Southwest is key for Democrats. Given that states like California and Colorado are also trending blue, ensuring that New Mexico remains in the same camp will help Democrats as they continue to move the needle in more purple states like Arizona and Nevada.
And of course, if the Southwest becomes more and more Democratic, it could lead to the elusive target that is Texas for future cycles.
GOP insider urges Trump to delay 'big' announcement
Jason Miller, conservative political strategist and former senior adviser to Trump, just said on Newsmax that he advised Trump to hold off on the "big" Nov. 15 announcement Trump teased during a recent rally.
The official reasoning is to wait until after the Georgia Senate run-off race, where incumbent Democrat Raphael Walker and Republican Herschel Walker will go head-to-head on Dec. 6.
“Priorities A, B, and C need to be about Herschel right now,” Miller said.
However, this seems like a thinly-veiled way of buying the GOP some time to arrive at consensus regarding its presidential candidate and potentially reconfigure its plans after Trump had an embarrassing night with many of his candidates losing elections across the country.
While control of the House and the Senate is still in the air, the fact that it wasn’t a resounding “red tsunami” makes the election historic. (Statistically, the president’s party hardly ever performs well in the midterms — between 1934 and 2018 said party has only won both chambers of Congress twice.)
Many political experts have noted today that Trump has never been weaker politically. And Trump is flailing (even attempting to blame his poor performance on his wife, Melania), which suggests he knows this, too. Miller’s advice to the former president might be a bellwether of shifting tides: The GOP may finally be ending its codependent relationship with its partner in crime, so to say.
Democrats win with help from voters who feel ‘meh’ about Biden
Vox writer Zack Beauchamp pulled this interesting tidbit out from yesterday’s NBC News Exit Poll:
That goes against what you’d expect but makes sense when you consider the myriad number of reasons why a voter might “slightly disapprove” of Biden’s performance. Like I noted earlier this year when railing against the perennial polling question asking whether America is “on the right track or wrong track,” two people could give the same answer for very different reasons. If you have a voter that slightly disapproves of Biden because inflation is too high and one who thinks that Biden hasn’t done enough to counter the GOP’s assault on immigrants in the country, only one of those would potentially support a Republican candidate.
In other words, what we’re seeing is a case where a lot of folks telling Biden “do better” didn’t see any alternative candidate on the ballot who would actually, well, do better.
Amid all the DeSantis buzz, what about Whitmer?
It’s hard to dispute that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a very successful midterm cycle, not only trouncing his Democratic opponent but also reveling in how redrawn House districts led to several Republican wins and a real Florida “red wave.”
But as one Michigan resident tweeted earlier this morning, where is the media love for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who led the charge for a great election cycle for Democrats?
So far, the Michigan “blue wave” is real, including ballot measure wins to expand voting access and making abortion rights part of the state’s constitution.
If indeed Democrats are giving up on a 2024 DeSantis Florida, a 2024 Whitmer Michigan can easily put a stop to political media’s Florida-centricity. You would think there would be more attention to a woman leader who had a just as good (or even better) night than DeSantis.
Misogyny in political media is still real.
The midterms are terrible, but it's hard to see a better option
Now that the midterms are mostly behind us, I have a confession: I hate the midterms. Not as a concept but because of the grind that having to do this every two years puts the country through. While the two-year term limit for House members was meant to be a safeguard against tyranny, in today’s world it acts more as an impediment to good public policy.
The current election cycle forces House members to constantly be campaigning and viewing every move they make through the lens of their next election. You could argue that this is what the founders intended, making members of Congress beholden to the people of their district’s views. But three factors throw this dynamic out of whack: money, primary elections and gerrymandering.
The high cost of running a campaign at the federal level means that House members have to spend hours every day fundraising, aka calling people up and begging for donations instead of getting actual work done. The GOP primary structure in particular has neutralized the incentive for compromise, lest they be attacked from the right. And partisan redistricting has created enough “safe” districts that members feel divorced from the need to cater to all of their constituents in order to remain in office.
But, as ever, the Senate complicates things. Because even if you were to expand term limits in the House to four years, to line up with the presidential election cycle, we’d still have to vote on off-years thanks to the Senate’s six-year terms. And while you could lengthen the terms of senators as well, eight years is an insane amount of time to remain in office without an election. And so we must persist in this current state of affairs, with our lawmakers constantly distracted from, you know, actually passing laws.
Latinos helped Democrats win key Pennsylvania races
Digging deeper into state-level polling data outside of national exit polls, Latino support for the Democratic winners in Pennsylvania was exceptionally strong, suggesting the state’s 6% eligible voter share was indeed an influential decider.
According to the Pennsylvania section of the 2022 Midterm Election Voter Poll, organized by the African American Research Collaborative, President Biden’s 70% approval rating from the state’s Latino voters easily translated to similar support for both Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro and Sen.-elect John Fetterman. In the same poll, Shapiro got 73% of Latino voter support and Fetterman got 70%.
These are Barack Obama-like Latino voter numbers from 2012 and essentially ensure clearly solid Democratic support from Pennsylvania voters, who are mostly Puerto Rican. From 2010 to 2020, the state’s Latino population of about 1 million increased by 45.8%. Census data listed the following five counties as having the largest percentage of Latinos: Lehigh (25.9%), Berks (23.2%), Monroe (17.0%), Philadelphia (14.9%) and Luzerne (14.4%).
It’s no wonder that a candidate like Fetterman made sure to reach out to Puerto Ricans during the campaign.
Besides Pennsylvania, the AARC poll also noted that Biden had approval ratings of over 70% with Latinos in Georgia and Michigan.
Trump apparently blaming everyone but himself for Oz loss
Donald Trump wasn’t on the ticket, but his endorsements sure were, and many of them underperformed in this year’s midterm elections.
Although the former president projected that the elections would be a “humiliating rebuke” to the Democratic agenda, many of his closest key allies failed to win their races (though several key races have yet to be called). While it would be fair to assume that their ties to the former president could be responsible, Trump is reportedly pointing the finger at someone else: his wife.
According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, Trump is furious at Melania Trump for supporting his own decision to back Republican Mehmet Oz.
But he’s not just attacking the woman in his own life, he’s also going after other people’s wives. Just last night, he attempted to emasculate his potential 2024 presidential rival Ron DeSantis with a misogynist claim that his wife is running his campaign.
Trump was reportedly planning to announce his presidential bid in Florida to “stick it” to DeSantis, but given his poor standing in the party, he may be running out of women to blame for his own underperformance
Democrats, probably: 'It (wasn’t) the economy, stupid'
Having avoided the worst-case scenario in the midterms, Democrats are feeling a little punchy today. Here’s what one “senior Democratic official” texted a Washington Post reporter:
That’s a bit rosy of a take in my opinion, given the number of people who said that “the economy” or “inflation” was their biggest concern in multiple pre-election polls. But is it fair to say that other things outweighed any doubts voters had about inflation or other economic factors? Yeah, that makes more sense to me.
Arizona voters pass ‘right to know’ measure
While Arizona’s gubernatorial and Senate races remain too early to call, we do know of one big state-wide victory there. Voters overwhelmingly backed Proposition 211, aka the “Voters’ Right to Know Act.” The measure will require any groups spending more than $50,000 on state-level races, or $25,000 on local races, to disclose all donors of $5,000 or more.
The upshot: Dark money spending will be much harder to disguise in Arizona. “Sadly,” writes Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts, “it won’t affect federal spending. For that, we’d need to elect federal officials who believe in sunshine.”
Republicans won despite being anti-abortion, not because of it
While the right to abortion had a great night, Republicans weren’t as consistent.
One of the clear trends unfolding in this midterm election is that when abortion was on the ballot, voters wholeheartedly opted to protect it. Five states had explicit ballot measures regarding the medical procedure, and all of them sided with a woman’s right to choose. Voters in Kentucky, Vermont, Michigan and California voted to ensure that their states keep abortion legal, and in Montana, voters rejected a proposal that would have made any embryo or fetus a legal person, which would have criminalized doctors.
Even in Kentucky where, three-quarters of the population identifies as Christian and half as evangelicals, and where Republican Sen. Rand Paul won his seat, a ballot measure to protect abortion passed. Just based on the numbers, it would seem that Paul was re-elected despite his anti-abortion zealotry, not because of it. In fact, standing up for reproductive justice is what gave momentum to candidates. Just look at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whose lead only started to crystalize after she made abortion a cornerstone of her campaign.
Republicans succeeded at making abortion a top issue for voters, but it’s not leading to their intended outcome. While they’ve spent the past decade building up a robust political strategy around dismantling a woman’s right to choose, it has only made the right to abortion more popular, and their desire to destroy it, seem cruel and out of touch. Even though it wasn’t their plan, Republicans proved that banning abortion is no longer a wedge issue, it’s a losing issue.
McCarthy announces speaker bid despite not having a majority yet
The House is still too close to call but Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is feeling good about the odds. So good that this morning he sent out a letter to his caucus officially announcing his bid to become the next speaker of the House.
While he’s the presumptive frontrunner in that race, how easy a time he has will depend a lot on the size of any Republican majority. It requires a simple majority of the House to win a speaker’s race — and McCarthy knows better than anyone the challenge of locking down those votes. His attempt to become speaker in 2015 was dashed by opposition from the right-wing Freedom Caucus, leaving former Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as the compromise candidate.
Like I noted last night, if McCarthy is operating with a majority of only a few seats, he’s going to need every single vote he can get to take up the speaker’s gavel. And not only is the Freedom Caucus reportedly willing to give McCarthy grief again, there are whispers that his number two, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., is already watching for signs of weakness from his supposed boss.
The Georgia runoff hinges on Black enthusiasm
Incumbent Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock is headed to a runoff with Republican challenger Herschel Walker on Dec. 6. Though Warnock is leading with 99% of expected votes in, neither candidate cracked 50% of the votes, NBC News projects.
The NBC News Exit Poll shows that Warnock performed especially well among crucial demographics: 53% of women, 90% of Black voters, 58% of Latino voters, and 81% of nonwhite voters overall.
If this holds, Warnock’s re-election might hinge on enthusiasm among marginalized voters.
The 'Joe Arpaio' of Massachusetts voted out
A local sheriff’s election in Bristol County, Massachusetts suggests immigration and border security never really resonated with midterm voters nationally — or at least, did not resonate in the way Republicans had hoped.
A proponent of “chain gangs” and Trumpian enforcement policies, Hodgson has long been a foil to immigrant rights activists who accused him of cruel detention practices. In the run-up to the 2022 election, Hodgson was also accused of antsemitism for running an ad tying George Soros to rising crime. The ad earned the condemnation of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston.
Bristol County is located in southeastern Massachusetts. According to the 2020 Census, about 13 percent of residents are foreign-born, around 9 percent identify as Latino and 21 percent of residents speak a language other than English.
Immigration was on the ballot in multiple ways this year in Massachusetts. One state initiative would repeal a state law allowing undocumented individuals to obtain drivers licenses. As of this morning, the repeal is losing, but the measure has yet to be called.
Some wins for abortion rights, but we’re not out of the woods
Multiple states appear to have approved ballot measures that will enshrine abortion rights into their state constitutions.
Voters in Michigan, California, and Vermont all appeared to back such measures on Tuesday. (And Kentucky rejected a proposed amendment saying that its constitution doesn’t protect abortion rights.) But, prior to Tuesday, Republicans had already moved forward with anti-democratic lawsuits that could ultimately give them power to loosen or circumvent these sorts of provisions — even if they are enshrined in the state constitution.
Republicans are hoping the court affirms an idea known among conservatives as the “Independent State Legislature” doctrine, a ridiculous theory that claims state legislatures can pass election laws that restrict or alter the right to vote, even if it means bypassing state laws, state constitutions, state courts and other checks on their power. Lawmakers could seemingly devise ways to preserve legislative majorities indefinitely with virtually no one to stop them.
I wrote about the case at the center of this debate, Moore v. Harper, for the ReidOut Blog earlier this fall.
It’s giving me reason to worry about Tuesday’s abortion wins because the Supreme Court’s approval of this absurd theory could essentially open the doors for Republicans to take steps to draw themselves into impenetrable supermajorities necessary to amend their state constitutions. That may not seem like much to worry about in presumed Democratic strongholds like California and Vermont (although I’d caution you not to take anything for granted — voting patterns can change over time). But certainly in a place like Michigan, which is known for being more partisan and politically volatile, affirmation of the Independent State Legislature theory could be a means of rolling back the people’s wishes in the future — including the public’s support for abortion.
How the Democrats broke history
We still don't know which party will control the U.S. Senate, but Democrats should feel somewhat hopeful about last night's midterm results. This is especially true when you look at the election totals through the lens of history.
"There have been 22 midterm elections since 1934, and the president’s party has lost, on average, 28 House seats and four Senate seats," writes MSNBC Daily columnist Michael Cohen. "Democratic losses will be nowhere close to the historical averages," Cohen argues, making the 2022 election "one of the most stunning electoral outcomes in modern American history, and Democrats have no one to thank but Republicans."
The first LGBTQ immigrant is heading to the House
Long Beach mayor and Democrat Robert Garcia won the election for California’s 42nd Congressional District, making him the first LGBTQ immigrant to serve in the House of Representatives.
Garcia easily defeated Republican opponent John Briscoe by more than 25 percentage points. The 36-year-old Garcia immigrated with his parents from Peru when he was 5 years old and now he is heading to Congress.
Last night, Garcia’s Twitter profile shared a photo of a young Garcia and his mother with a simple “Mom, we did it!”
Joy Reid tried to tell y'all
In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Joy Reid was adamant that Republicans and their allies in the media were flooding the zone with junk polls predicting a red wave. Navel-gazing conservative media figures insisted that she was making it all up. Fox, richly, referred to her observation as a “conspiracy theory.”
But the wave Republicans hoped for — a resounding rebuke of liberalism and the Democratic party — never materialized. Just as Joy predicted.
Here’s a quote from last Monday’s episode of The ReidOut: "If you get past those headlines and dig a little deeper, you would uncover an insidious and seemingly intentional campaign from Republican-backed polling firms to flood the zone and tip the balance of polling averages in favor of their candidates, to create a narrative that Republicans are surging and that a red wave is imminent and inevitable.”
And here’s a clip from that segment, in which she speaks in more detail with polling expert Simon Rosenberg about the GOP’s polling strategy.
Republicans can’t say they weren’t warned.
Georgia Senate race is headed to a runoff
The key Georgia matchup between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and challenger Herschel Walker is heading to a runoff, NBC News projects.
Neither candidate will be able to hit the 50% voter threshold required in the state, triggering one last election on Dec. 6. Depending on what happens with outstanding Senate contests in Arizona and Nevada, this runoff could very well determine control of the Senate — again.
Dems hold on in South Texas House races
Republicans' hopes to extend the they saw Tuesday with Latinos in Florida fizzled out in South Texas last night, with Democrats taking two out of the three House races that were pegged by the GOP as possible pickups.
This meant the “rise of the conservative Latina” didn’t really get off the ground as planned, with two incumbent Latino men, Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente González, handily winning their respective races against two Latina conservatives. Both Cuellar and González have deep roots in the community and are known as more centrist Democrats. Republican Latina Monica de la Cruz defeated Latina Democratic progressive Michelle Vallejo in the 15th district to become the first Latina woman to represent that district, which spans the U.S.-Texas border to the San Antonio suburbs.
Vallejo, who earned her political stripes through her family’s outdoor flea market business, never seemed to get the attention of national Democrats until it was too late, and a last-minute appearance by former president Bill Clinton seemed out of touch with the region’s growing and young Latino electorate.
Democrats might be happy with keeping two out of the three districts, hoping to dispel the notion that South Texas Latinos are flocking to Republicans. But a Latina progressive like Vallejo should have gotten more support. It could have been a complete sweep, if only Democrats looked beyond male Latino incumbents.
The progressive squad expands its ranks
Progressives are bringing more noise to the House of Representatives. Four progressive candidates won high-profile House races yesterday, including Maxwell Frost, the first member of Gen Z elected to Congress. Delia Ramirez (Illinois), Greg Casar (Texas), and Summer Lee (Pennsylvania) also punched their tickets to Capitol Hill on Tuesday. All four progressive lawmakers are nonwhite, under the age of 40 and champions of policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
Their election will likely continue the rise of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which may soon boast a larger membership than the more moderate New Democratic Caucus.
Democrat Hillary Scholten wins Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District
Democrat Hillary Scholten has flipped Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, NBC News projects. Scholten defeated Republican John Gibbs and will take the seat of GOP incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer, a moderate who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over Jan. 6.
Ron Johnson’s win in Wisconsin bodes well for MAGA lawmakers
Wisconsin’s re-election of Ron Johnson to the Senate is a disappointing defeat for progressive Democrats who rallied behind Johnson’s challenger Mandela Barnes, who would have been Wisconsin’s first Black senator and a champion of progressive policy.
Johnson, on the other hand, is “redder than his state,” as Zeeshan Aleem writes; “a wealthy former plastics magnate who came to power in the tea party wave in 2010. He has evolved into a fervent MAGA lawmaker who has said mouthwash can kill Covid, Jan. 6 wasn’t that big a deal and climate change is ‘bulls---.’”
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson wins re-election in Wisconsin
Republican Ron Johnson wins re-election to the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, NBC News projects. He defeats Democrat Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.
Democrats can blame Andrew Cuomo for possible GOP House takeover
The race for control of the House is incredibly close. Whoever ends up in power in the chamber can expect a razor thin margin. If Democrats lose the chamber, however, they can likely blame former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo appointed four conservative-leaning judges to the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. As Slate’s Alexander Sammon wrote last week, those judges didn’t just overturn the state’s new Democrat-friendly election map — they seized control of the state’s redistricting process entirely. The result was a much more GOP-friendly set of districts. So far, New York Republicans have won six House seats with six more still uncalled.
DCCC chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney concedes to Mike Lawler
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., the chairman of House Democrats’ campaign arm, conceded defeat in his re-election bid to Republican New York Assemblyman Mike Lawler, a spokesman for the Maloney campaign said. NBC News has not projected a winner in the race.
Maloney is the first Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair to lose his re-election vid in decades, but his district had been recently redrawn.
Adding insult to injury, Maloney's own DCCC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads as Democrats launched a doomed eleventh hour rescue attempt.
Medicaid expansion referendums remain undefeated
A ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in South Dakota succeeded yesterday, marking the seventh time a similar referendum was passed in a red state since the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that individual states didn’t have to expand it.
South Dakota’s Republican state Legislature has consistently declined to expand Medicaid in the state over the last decade. The ballot measure’s passage means that just 11 states are yet to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act
Lindsey Graham admits 'definitely not a Republican wave'
As the dust settles and results continue to roll in, it's become quite clear that Republicans didn't have the night they were hoping for or expecting. Some in the GOP are more willing to admit that than others.
As Steve Benen wrote for MaddowBlog this morning:
"The pieces were in place for a Republican wave in the midterm elections. Voters, however, apparently had other ideas ... Some in the party have been willing to admit it. “Definitely not a Republican wave, that’s for darn sure,” Sen. Lindsey Graham conceded during an on-air interview with Lester Holt and Savannah Guthrie last night."
Read Steve's full story below.
Slavery gets mixed result on the ballot. (Yes, slavery.)
Five states voted on ballot measures that aimed to amend their state constitutions to outlaw slavery and prohibit the use of involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. Alabama, Tennessee and Vermont approved these measures, effectively limiting the use of prison labor. Oregon was still too early to call as of earlier this morning.
However, six of out of 10 Louisiana voters rejected Amendment 7, the state’s version of this ballot initiative. Originally, Amendment 7 asked voters specifically to ban slavery and outlaw involuntary servitude, but the wording was watered down in a subsequent legislative session. That led Rep. Edmond Jordan, the bill’s author, to encourage voters to vote against it. As MSNBC editor Jarvis DeBerry noted, “Voters in Louisiana are confused and angry that they’re being asked to replace language that allows slavery with language … that allows slavery.”
More than 150 years after the ratification of the 13th Amendment, slavery is still permitted as a punishment for a crime, but after Colorado removed this language from its constitution in 2018, more than 12 states have followed suit.
Democrat Laura Kelly wins re-election in Kansas governor’s race
Democrat Laura Kelly wins re-election in Kansas governor's race, NBC News projects.
Republicans missed the mark with anti-transgender messaging
For months now, Republican candidates and PACs have flooded battleground districts with anti-transgender messaging, hoping to win over decisive suburban moderates. That push failed to materialize into a Republican bump in a midterm election which by most predictions should have seen the GOP make much larger gains.
Explicitly anti-trans politicians have historically struggled come election season, and this year was no exception. An NBC News exit poll found that voters have a very split opinion on the changing social view on gender identity and sexual orientation, indicating that it just wasn’t a big concern in the voting booth.
Oz calls Fetterman this morning to concede
Trump's never been politically weaker than right now
If you let Trump tell it, he's the Republican Party's golden ticket to success. But the results of the 2022 midterm elections so far tell a far different story.
As Steve Benen wrote for MaddowBlog this morning:
"Donald Trump expected to wake up this morning as his party’s ultimate kingmaker. Instead, he’s never been politically weaker than he is right now. ... One GOP insider told Fox News overnight, 'If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now: We have a Trump problem.'"
Read Steve's full story below.
Fetterman win is bigger than just one Senate seat
Pennsylvania — my home state — showed that voters will turn out for candidates who don’t fit the traditional mold. Fetterman’s win is a victory for anyone whose speech, disability or other differences have held them back. Proud of my gritty hometown and the whole state for rejecting the bigotry that tried to undermine him.
Voters stuck it out for hours to cast their midterm ballots
Photos of long lines to vote have become a staple of Election Day news coverage over the last decade, and Tuesday brought similar imagery. But in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the last voter of the day waited six hours in line and finally got to cast their vote at 2:06 a.m., according to The Michigan Daily.
“I was teaching my classes and I didn’t have time (to vote) at any point during the day,” student Erik Pedersen told The Michigan Daily. “I saw the line out here and I felt I had to make the effort to get out here and I got in line just in time as they were closing the doors.”
Long voting lines have become more common over recent years, especially in large urban areas in Republican-controlled states as conservative legislatures have closed large numbers of urban polling locations over time.
Democrat Tim Ryan gives master class in how to concede
Amid concern about possible election violence, some losing candidates are putting on a master class in conceding to their winning opponent. Democrat Tim Ryan, who is projected to lose the Ohio Senate race to JD Vance, called it a privilege to concede.
“I have a privilege right now, a privilege, as someone who is the democratic nominee,” Ryan said in his concession speech last night. “I have the privilege to concede this race to JD Vance because the way this country operates is that when you lose an election, you concede, and you respect the will of the people. We can’t have a system where if you win, it’s a legitimate election, and if you lose, someone stole it. That is not how we can move forward in the United States. This is an essential country.”
Similarly, Florida candidate Val Demings conceded to GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, noting that American democracy will be tested in the coming years.
“This is going to be the great challenge of our lives, possibly one of the greatest challenges our nation has ever faced," Demings said. "But I am here tonight to tell you that yes, even tonight, I still believe in America. I still believe in our democracy.”
None of the high-profile MAGA candidates have refused to concede — so far.
Kornacki breaks down races that have yet to be called
Neighboring Wisconsin counties split on gun ballot measures
Voters in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, went to the polls yesterday and appeared to approve a referendum banning the sale of semi-automatic “military-style” firearms, while neighboring Kenosha County appeared to approve a referendum seeking to make the state of Wisconsin a “Second Amendment sanctuary state.”
The two votes perfectly illustrate the nation’s split on gun rights, with urban areas like Milwaukee splitting with their suburban neighbors over the issue. Results elsewhere in the country similarly showed a mixed bag on gun rights.
A referendum in Iowa approved adding language to the state constitution that affirms citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms, while a ballot measure in Oregon to tighten gun ownership requirements remains incredibly close with 75% of expected votes in. In Uvalde, Texas, a town which endured one of the nation’s most brutal school shootings in history, voters re-elected Gov. Greg Abbott, outspoken gun rights advocate, by a wide margin.
All eyes on Arizona for potential Big Lie 2.0
Key races in Arizona, including the Senate and governor's race, have yet to be called. But MAGA candidates there are already laying the groundwork to potentially take issue with the results should they lose.
As MSNBC Daily editor Zeeshan Aleem wrote this morning:
"By now we should be well-versed in this ploy — making sure Republican votes are fairly counted isn’t the point when it comes to Republican claims of voter fraud. The point is to smear the very idea of functional democracy."
Read Zeeshan's full story below.
If GOP takes the House, gerrymandering may be the only reason
The fate of the House is still in question, but it’s already become clear that whichever party ends up winning control will have a very slim majority. The so-called red wave never materialized but instead Republicans may narrowly win back the House on the backs of their recent gerrymandering efforts.
Since the 2020 election, Republican state legislatures were able to draw new district lines in 187 of the House’s 435 congressional districts, while Democrats redrew 75. The rest were drawn by commissions or other official bodies.
One key district redrawing which paid off for the GOP last night was Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, where Democratic incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria was defeated by state Sen. Jennifer Kiggans after Luria’s district was redrawn to be more favorable for Republicans.
Don't discount the 'transformational' impact of Stacey Abrams
It's not just the economy, stupid. Abortion clearly a key issue.
The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June was consequential for women voters in the 2022 midterm elections, as exit polls are suggesting.
The NBC News exit poll finds that 27% of respondents said abortion was their top issue in deciding how they voted. It was second only to inflation (31%) and far outweighed immigration (10%) and gun control (11%). Voters in California, Kentucky, Michigan and Montana all opted to protect abortion rights via ballot propositions rather than furthering bans.
Election Day violence largely absent — but the week isn't over
The political violence we all worried about hasn’t reared its ugly head yet, and we should all be glad that voters, voting sites, monitors and volunteers stayed safe in large part. But the week isn’t over: With millions of election deniers already primed to believe in fraudulent elections — and Trump calling for protests in Michigan — the greatest risk lies in the days ahead.
A reminder of just how much is at stake
Tough road ahead for Kevin McCarthy
A Republican majority of a handful of House seats is ungovernable. If House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy can secure enough support to become speaker in the next Congress, he will struggle to pull together sufficient votes to fund the government and for other must-pass legislation.
No red tsunami but many election deniers still had a good night
Roughly half of the nearly 300 election deniers running for Republican offices appear to have won their races, with the tally still underway. The red tsunami may not have materialized, but there is a clear victory in hand for far too many conspiracy theorists.
Democracy itself was on the ballot this week, and these winning election deniers show that the fight to protect it is far from over.