The Red Wave That Wasn’t

That didn’t turn out as expected.

Pundits both left and right in recent days had been predicting a “red wave,” as Republicans would supposedly sweep to victory, reclaiming the House and Senate in overwhelming numbers, while picking up some governorships as well.

Instead, we see (as of this writing) at best some minor victories for Republicans. It’s likely the GOP will take over the House, but control of the Senate appears to be out of its reach.

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So what happened? We’ll have some deeper analysis here at Crisis in the coming days, but here’s my initial reactions.

It’s always possible there were some election day shenanigans that helped the Democrats, but it’s more likely that the Republicans just weren’t that impressive of an option. Which, if you think about it, is pretty pathetic.

Every midterm election is bad for the party of the incumbent president, but in a year when that incumbent president is as incompetent as Joseph Biden, conventional wisdom would say that the Republicans should have won big. Like, really big.

After all, we’re living in an economy on the brink of failure, we’re pouring money we don’t have into a border dispute across the world, the Democrats have hitched their wagon to the unpopular practice of child mutilation, and the President himself is clearly not in charge. The GOP couldn’t beat that? Mentally-incapacitated John Fetterman should have been easily defeated in Pennsylvania, but milquetoast Republican Dr. Oz wasn’t even up to that challenge.

Ultimately, anti-Democrat sentiment couldn’t overcome underwhelming Republican candidates.

Even more disheartening are the results of the various state abortion-related ballot issues. In Vermont, California, and Michigan, pro-abortion proposals won. In Kentucky, a proposed amendment to make clear that there is no right to abortion in the state constitution failed.

Why does it seem that radical pro-abortion proposals succeed but even modest pro-life ballot issues fail, in spite of that fact that most polls show that Americans favor at least some restrictions on abortion? It’s hard to say for certain, but my guess is that the pro-abortion forces (backed by a compliant media) are expert at marketing their proposals as reasonable and pro-life proposals as extreme, even when the opposite is true.

The average American doesn’t want 32-week-old babies being dismembered, but they also don’t want 10-year-old victims of rape being forced to give birth. And the pro-abortion forces (again, with the help of the compliant media) make every proposal about the 10-year-old girl, not the 32-week-old baby. The pro-life movement is going to have to regroup to determine how best to move forward in this post-Roe world.

As I said on the podcast yesterday, these elections move the needle very little when it comes to actual policy and cultural issues, but they are a bellwether for the mood of the nation. And sadly, it looks like most Americans are comfortable with the total mess our country is in right now. While salvation was never coming from the GOP, it would have been nice to at least slow down the descending spiral for a bit.

As conservatives lick their wounds, let us remember the words of the Psalmist:

Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
When his breath departs he returns to his earth;
    on that very day his plans perish.
Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord his God. (Psalm 146:3-5)

  • Eric Sammons

    Eric Sammons is the editor-in-chief of Crisis Magazine.

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