by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The midterm election results are full of inconvenient truths and, as is often the case, just ambiguous enough to allow for ample spin depending on one’s partisan leaning.
The Republicans are probably taking back the House majority, but it will be by much less of a margin than the GOP hype machine was insinuating before the election. There are pockets of positive surprise in this (New York congressional races, in particular) and pockets of disappointment (if nothing else, the net number will be less than anticipated). I am mostly interested in my own California district, where one of the most progressive members of Congress, Katie Porter, could be traded for one of the most stalwart conservatives running this cycle, Scott Baugh (the two are 900 votes apart with hundreds of thousands of votes uncounted). But both things are true at once — it is a victory for the Right to take a majority in the House, and it is a disappointment to not have it feel like such. As was the case in 2018, though, where the “morning after” results did not feel as robust for the Democrats as they proved to be in the end, I don’t think I am out on a ledge to predict that the House pickups for the GOP in the end will outperform the morning-after reporting.
There is still a chance the GOP will take the Senate, but even if it does not, Nevada looks to have flipped both its governor and U.S. senator from blue to red, and Republicans held in Ohio and Wisconsin. On the other hand, a very recent stroke victim who once pulled a gun on an unarmed black man just won as a Democrat in Pennsylvania. If Herschel Walker loses in his runoff (something I am quite willing to predict for a variety of reasons), it will be almost inarguable that the Pennsylvania, Georgia, and New Hampshire races were lost at the moment of the primary.