About the GOP Winning That Popular Vote in the House Races

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

I’ve seen a lot of rationales being tossed around for why the Republicans didn’t win more despite what all the polls and data points suggested.

I must confess, I’m not particularly satisfied with any of the answers I’ve seen.


Yes, could some candidates have been better? No doubt. But Democrats got John Fetterman in and even voted for a dead man. So let’s not even pretend the quality of the candidate or even being alive truly matters. If you voted in Fetterman, it’s all based on wanting power for your party, no matter what.

Did Sen Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) take some money away from races where they should have put it? You bet. McConnell put money toward trying to help Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) beat Trump-endorsed Republican Kelly Tshibaka. That was wrong, especially after Murkowski endorsed the Democrat running for the House seat, Mary Peltola. That should have been the kiss of death after such a betrayal. McConnell was actively helping someone working against the Republican Party in the state.

Are there points to be made about how Republicans can do more to collect the ballots where that’s legal? Of course. We knew that in 2020, but Republicans don’t seem to have advanced much on that point.

But how to explain all the polls indicating things were breaking for the Republicans, that independents were breaking for Republicans as well? Were they all wrong? Poll after poll showed that people were upset with Joe Biden and that they believed the country was heading in the wrong direction. Poll after poll showed that abortion wasn’t up at the top of the motivating factors.


We saw places where the red wave did appear to show up, such as in Florida where Gov. Ron DeSantis won by almost twenty points and Republicans even flipped Miami-Dade.  Are there points to be made about making a positive case — what the Republicans have to offer — not just the negative case — the existential awfulness of the Democratic policies? Sure.

But one of the things getting lost in this general whine about not winning more is what the Republicans did pick up, and I don’t just mean in Florida or New York, although they made great strides in both places.

What’s getting lost is that — at least as of this moment — Republicans have picked up more of the popular vote, by a pretty fair amount, although that might close some when the rest of the West comes in.

This was a possibility that Nate Cohn talked about in October, with the Democrats holding onto more seats than one might think in such a midterm year.

As the folks from RealClearPolitics explain:


So that might be the way to reconcile some of the polls: inefficient vote distribution, the red areas got redder and Republicans picked up black and Latino votes, but in areas that didn’t flip races.

But some of the other things don’t make sense to me.


This flies in the face of what I already said about the independents breaking to the GOP.

So I’m going to lay all these ideas down, but frankly, I’m with Bevan here — the results don’t make sense to me, given what we saw going into the election. But we need to ensure we do not get consumed by infighting and lock down a Herschel Walker win in Georgia.


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