I offer just a few comments — ranging from personal self-evaluation to national results to the local Minnesota scene — on the fiasco this time. Here are my thoughts more or less in the order they occur to me with the results of a few races still in doubt:
• I was pessimistic as usual, but I prefer to think of my pessimism as the higher realism.
• I expected the worst and hoped for the best, but I had no ken that the elections could have played out as poorly for Republicans as they have.
• I regret having served up optimistic “tea leaves” over the past week. I was deluded. I was misled most of all by the polls served up by Robert Cahaly’s Trafalgar Group. They were not reliable indicators of what was to come. I think Cahaly was in good company in his errors, but I thought his recent record distinguished him from the pack. He has reverted to the professional polling norm, if not worse. I would like to know why.
• What happened to the red wave? It was buried in an open grave. It began and ended in Florida. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had a great night romping over Charlie Crist, an opponent who has distinguished himself by losing statewide races as a Republican, an independent, and a Democrat. Andrew Stiles gives him his due in the Free Beacon column “Charlie Crist Defends Historic Triple Crown Title.”
• I may be mistaken, but I don’t think Donald Trump is the cure for what ails the Republican Party.
• By far the biggest disappointment last night was John Fetterman’s victory in the Pennsylvania Senate race. Oz’s defeat was overdetermined. I thought he had an uphill battle from the outset selling himself as a Pennsylvanian. I commented at the time “I do not love thee, Dr Oz.” A friend of mine working on the Oz campaign went ballistic when I raised the point with him the week Oz won the primary, but I wasn’t completely off. Oz’s success in the Republican primary — a race he won by fewer than a thousand votes — can fairly be attributed to President Trump’s endorsement. See point 4 above.
• Fetterman is a monumental fraud whose lying extended to his purported personal physician.
• Fetterman presents himself as someone who will fight for “everyone who’s been knocked down.” He’s fighting for you and me. Woo hoo!
• Republicans didn’t win a single sleeper Senate race. They weren’t even close. Don Bolduc, Joe O’Dea, and Tiffany Smiley went down to defeat by wide margins in New Hampshire, Colorado, and Washington, respectively.
• It took the intervention of big bucks supplied by Cocaine Mitch to raise up J.D. Vance after the Ohio Republican primary. Yet President Trump chooses to aim his rhetorical guns on Cocaine Mitch. I believe Trump himself kept his financial powder dry in Ohio.
• Assuming Adam Laxalt wins his race in Nevada, Ron Johnson his in Wisconsin, and Blake Masters loses in Arizona, I think Herschel Walker would need to win a runoff with Raphael Warnock in order for Republicans to take a 51-49 majority in the Senate. Keep hope alive! I wonder what the odds are.
• Republicans may come away with a slim majority in the House. It’s not nothing, but it is far short of their own expectation and beyond the Democrats’ wildest dreams. Prospective Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave brief remarks claiming victory overnight. His remarks were most notable for their dispirited nature.
• Each of the four Republican candidates vying for constitutional offices on a statewide basis went down to defeat in Minnesota. Governor Tim Walz handily defeated Dr. Scott Jensen. Even Attorney General Keith Ellison — I rate him the man most unfit for his office in the USA — eked out a narrow win over a decent opponent in a race that has officially yet to be called. My guess is that Democrats will hold legislative majorities in both the senate (where they had a one-vote minority) and the house, although we await final results in too many races to be sure.
• Minnesota Democrats had a huge financial advantage in the election. Now they have a huge budget surplus to play with in the next legislative session. The Democrats have a functioning party and a strong metro area base. The Republicans have no party organization and a smaller rural base.
• Walz represented a slightly conservative, mostly rural area in Congress before running for governor. He has abandoned even the pretense of moderation to peddle every jot and tittle of the current left-wing manias.
• If you’ve been watching television or listening to the radio in Minnesota over the past few months, you will have heard that Republicans are too extreme for Minnesota. Minnesota Democrats convey an ardent belief in abortion that is a tad over the top given the fact that the “right” is not in issue here.
• A concluding personal note. I try to write on the elections at least as much as an analyst as a cheerleader. Despite my best efforts, I found that the easiest person to fool was me. I tried to resist wishful thinking and keep in mind Churchill’s admonition: “Facts are better than dreams.”
NOTE: I have slightly corrected this since I originally posted it with the intent of getting the arithmetic on the current balance in the Minnesota senate and the prospective balance in the United States Senate right. I got up overnight at 3:00 a.m. to write this. I was not operating on all cylinders.