Culture War Still Wins

Yesterday night was not the red wave Republicans had hoped for in the final three weeks of the 2022 midterm elections cycle. The Senate became a certainty for GOP observers only after thousands of votes had been cast in key states like Georgia and Pennsylvania. It was going to be a tight race and it would take days, if not months, to sort out the potential Georgia runoff. Although the House was comfortable in Republican hands, dreams of a twenty plus Republican majority were not realized.

But, despite disappointing results for Republicans and their high hopes it may still be “mission accomplished”. The New York Times estimates that the GOP will retain 224 seats. This is similar to the FiveThirtyEight estimate which was made in mid-October, before the GOP started losing ground in the polls. Although the Senate is not certain, Republican Adam Laxalt holds a lead in Nevada. Word has it that there may be enough votes in Arizona to elect Blake Masters, the GOP Senate candidate, and Kari Lake, the gubernatorial candidate. Who knows what might happen in Georgia’s runoff. However, I would not bet on Walker if the Senate is down to Dec. 6. A limited GOP victory is possible considering the 2022 midterms. However, it seems increasingly unlikely.


Wednesday morning’s results left the nation with more questions and less answers. What is the secret to every state’s inability to tabulate election results, except Florida? In the age of forever-Covid mail in ballot elections, does October surprise or late-poll surges even have any significance? Who is responsible for the Democrats’ performance and who is to be held accountable for Republican underperformance? Kevin McCarthy should be allowed to hold the Speaker’s chair? It’s possible that it was Dobbs and not Republican politicians. But a narrow House majority and a tied Senate with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin are small prices to pay for the fall Roe.

It is clear that conservatives must swing to the right to win swing elections and tossups.

The Dobbs decision, which was later leaked and handed down later, led to Democrats engaging in a fierce culture war. The essential background was provided by the Select Committee to investigate the matter, which continued its work throughout the summer and early autumn. The election was more about Republican extremism for Democrats than any other. Isn’t this part of the Democrat electoral strategy? To label Republicans as bigots and misogynists. It is true, and Republicans should take their lessons.

This cycle was however different. Democrats held complete control over government, unlike 2016, 2018, and 2020. Things were not going as planned. There was skyrocketing inflation, high crime, illegal immigration and drug overdoses. Homelessness was a major problem. Instead of defending their governance record or proposing solutions to these many problems, Democrats chose to embrace the culture war. They claimed democracy was on their ballot, Jim Crow was also on the ballot, and America’s soul was on them. The ballot included LGBT rights and women’s health care, as well as rights.

The Republican candidates refused to let the left set the terms for the culture war and fought back with both rhetoric and substance won the battle last night.


Florida was the place where this victory was more evident. Charlie Crist was defeated by Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor in place. He won by 20 points. All of Florida’s counties shifted in the Republicans’ favor, and by huge margins. The only hope for Florida Democrats before Tuesday night were the stellar results in Miami and Broward counties. Broward moved 14 points towards DeSantis and Miami-Dade was won outright by the governor, who won 19 points more in his favor than the 2020 election. As did all statewide offices, Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida was also victorious in Miami-Dade. This all despite the fact that DeSantis is now the number two bogeyman for Democrats, just behind Donald Trump. The governor refused to compromise on his cultural agenda despite immense pressure. He also refused to comply with the lockdown demands of the left during the pandemic. He was unafraid to stop critical race theory in schools and ban gender transitions for minors. He brought illegal migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

J.D. Vance will become a sitting senator for Ohio in January. Vance defeated Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan fairly early in the evening. Although some thought Ohio was in the bag from the beginning, FiveThirtyEight had Vance down from July 1 through mid-October. However, the publication still gave Vance an edge to win the seat held by Republican Rob Portman. Vance surged back, even though Vance fell early in the count last night, as one would expect in an era where mail-in voting is common. At 10:53 p.m. NBC News called Vance’s election. The lead of Hillbilly Elegy was six points. This was similar to Trump’s wins in Buckeye State in 2016 and 2020. The author of the book that explained why Ohio and heartland America voted for Trump in 2016 will bring his message and agenda to Congress.

Vance was able to replicate Trump’s success partly because he was on the same ticket as Mike DeWine, who Vance thanked in Tuesday night’s victory speech. Vance won by 25 points. DeWine was able to win by a wide margin. Vance had a lead of six points. But DeWine is still very popular. Given their localist leanings, DeWine has a higher interest in the gubernatorial election for Republicans. Vance was able attach Ryan’s voting record to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite Ryan trying to distance himself from national party apparatus and its doubling-down on culture war. Vance’s “Are You a Racist?” ad and his passionate response to Ryan’s claim that he promoted the “great substitute theory” during a debate are not forgotten. It showed voters that he was tired of being called names.

The campaign went beyond blaming Democrats and the media for calling Americans racists for wanting a closed southern border and to stop illegal drug flows. Vance supported that platform with a strong platform, including the completion of Trump’s border wall and doubling the number border agents. He also promised to not vote for amnesty. Vance’s response to the Democrats planting their flag in the culture battle helped voters see that what they had claimed was the root of America’s decline. Ohio and other parts of the country have been crippled by free trade, free money and free sex. Whole communities have been destroyed. Voting for Vance was an acknowledgement that economics and culture work together, and that American restoration requires bold, innovative strategies that improve both.

Pennsylvania was witness to the complete opposite of the Vance winning way. The endorsement of former President Donald Trump helped Dr. Mehmet to get through the primaries. This endorsement was one of his most questionable from the beginning. As Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman gained a 10 point lead over Oz, the questions about Oz’s viability became more pressing. Oz was certainly well-known for his name and the large media platform that Oprah has provided, but it is not enough to convince voters that Oz’s message is being heard.

Fetterman suffered a stroke. Fetterman’s campaign was on hold for months. When it became obvious that Fetterman had cognitive and speech impairments, Democrats refused to make any changes. Democrats believed they could simply mail in the ballots. Initial reports suggested that Fetterman’s campaign believed it could duplicate the 2020 Democratic strategy of keeping Biden down in the basement. It looked for a while like this gamble would pay off.

As questions began to circulate about Fetterman’s fitness, Oz started to climb back in the race. However, Democrats brought Fetterman from the basement to allay these fears. The result was not what Democrats expected. FiveThirtyEight predicted a 4 to 5 chance that Democrats would flip the Pennsylvania Senate seat. However, the race tightened and in the last days of the cycle it was a dead heat.

At 1 o’clock in the morning Eastern Standard Time NBC News called Fetterman’s Pennsylvania Senate race. The margin was now just over three points. It is quite telling to see the New York Times’ graphic about county margin shifts in comparison to the 2020 presidential election. Beaver County, a suburb from Pittsburgh, was the only county to vote more Republican for Oz than Trump in 2020. Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Fetterman voted more for him, despite clear cognitive impairments. Pennsylvania voted in an invalid in 2020. We shouldn’t be surprised that they did it again in 2022.

Trump chose Oz, but he ran an established Republican campaign. He refused to engage in the culture warfare at every opportunity. He shifted to other issues, such as the economy, China, and the war in Ukraine. He would say anything to avoid putting a flag on immigration or abortion. He may be like Trump, but he is not Trumpian. Rural Pennsylvanians see right through him. They understood that voting for Oz meant they were supporting the status quo. The choice was between a lie or a large, feeble-minded man who promised to support blue-collar unions.

The establishment will be trying to regain party power in the coming days. The Republican consulting class says that the GOP must cater for suburban dads by increasing taxes. To suburban moms, the GOP should relax its stance against abortion. Let Oz’s defeat serve as a lesson.

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