Wednesday, November 30

Fox News host Tucker Carlson lambasted GOP leaders after the party failed to live up to ‘red wave’ expectations during the midterm election cycle, even as President Joe Biden and Democratic policies were increasingly unpopular and most believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

He noted:

Pretty frustrating. You want the Republicans to win not simply because they’re so great, but because Democrats are so very bad and that’s not an overstatement. What happened? Well, before we give you our theories as to what happened, one obvious point is the people whose job it was to win, but did not win should go do something else now.

We’re speaking specifically of the Republican leadership of the House and the Senate and of the RNC. There’s nothing personal. Some of them are no doubt nice people, but they took hundreds of millions of dollars to paint the map red and they didn’t. It doesn’t mean they’re evil. It doesn’t mean they should be jailed. It does mean they shouldn’t be promoted. No one should ever be rewarded for failure. If there’s a truly conservative principle in life, it’s the principle of the meritocracy. You reward excellence. You do not reward mediocrity and when you do, things fall apart.

The question is, why did Republicans underperform last night? You’re hearing a lot of people saying it was about abortion. Suburban ladies were mad about Roe. That’s certainly plausible in some places, probably true. On the other hand, a number of resolute, pro-life Republicans thrived statewide.

They would include Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Brian Kemp in Georgia, Ted Budd in North Carolina, a pro-life result. Abortion may have been a factor, but it’s not the whole answer.

Many others are saying that Donald Trump is the reason Republicans didn’t do as well as they thought they would. That’s a more complicated question. The truth is, we can’t really see the entire picture this early. The truth is, Trump has always been a mixed blessing politically.

The downsides are marbled in with the upsides, but in this case, he’s certainly not the single cause of anything. Republicans last night suffered a fair amount of down ballot losses in races that had nothing to do with Trump, in Michigan, for example. Whether you like Trump or not, and many don’t and a lot do, it’s a lot more complicated than just him.

Then there’s the most amusingly stupid explanation of all: bad candidates were the problem. That’s all over Twitter. All the Twitter pundits are telling you now the candidates were subpar and that was the problem. Candidate quality matters. Well, of course, strictly speaking, that is true. The quality of a candidate does matter, but really, how much does it matter? Well, let’s see.

Joe Biden got elected president two years ago from his basement. John Fetterman became a U.S. senator last night. Does anyone think John Fetterman was a quality candidate? Is that why he won, because they had quality candidates on the left? Do the voters of Pennsylvania really want a brain-damaged candidate who’s never had a real job? Did they think he was more impressive than the guy who spent his career doing heart transplants? Probably not.

To restate, as of tonight, Democrats have far more control of the election machinery and almost total control of the American media and Republicans don’t. These are not ideological problems. It’s not a question of who’s right on the issues. That’s settled, certainly in our mind, but probably in the minds of even people who would vote Republican if it occurred to them, but it doesn’t because they don’t know what they stand for.

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