If you believe politicians and pundits, the story of Tuesday’s election was simple: Republicans scored a huge victory, and Democrats were the big losers.
As usual, they’re wrong.
The real losers were extremists on both the right and the left.
And, across the country, in race after race, the big winners were Americans in the moderate middle. From the defeat of a socialist in Buffalo and a “defund the police” initiative in Minneapolis to the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, independents provided the decisive votes.
In closely-watched Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McCauliffe in the Commonwealth’s governor’s election, 50.9% to 48.4%.
Just a year before, Joe Biden had trounced Donald Trump by 10.1 percentage points.
Biden greatly owed his large victory margin to one thing: Independents favored him by 19 percentage points, according to exit polls.
Stunningly, exit polls show Youngkin carried independents by nine percentage points.
So, in only one year, Virginia independents swung from the Democrats to the Republicans by an astonishing 28 percentage points.
How Are the Two Sides Spinning the Results?
Delusional Democrats and their media allies are blaming the party’s inability to pass huge spending bills, and on some sort of white nationalist backlash. On MSNBC, Joy Reid ranted about white supremacy as a reason for the Democrats’ woes.
Wake up folks. Do you really want to accuse independents who voted for Biden but switched to Youngkin as white supremacists? And do you actually believe internal Democratic strife was enough for the massive change in voter sentiment?
On the other side, harebrained Trumpists and their talking-head acolytes came up with their own inane claims, with many of them celebrating the former president for the strong GOP performance. The geniuses on “Fox and Friends” said “running against Trump is not a winning strategy.” Tell that to Biden.
Trump, of course, was quick to take credit, even though Youngkin and others kept the Mar-a-Lago resident at arm’s length.
These folks also need a wake-up call. Trump was thrashed in 2020. His behavior since then, including his absurd claims of having won the election and his attitude toward the January 6 attack on the Capitol have made him even more toxic. If Republicans want independents to run back to the Democrats, go ahead and nominate him in 2024.
So, What Happened?
Local issues, failure to deliver on Biden’s legislative agenda, Biden’s low approval ratings, COVID, culture wars, Critical Race Theory, Afghanistan, immigration, wokeness, and desire for change all played a part. I highlighted many of them in a column almost two months ago.
However, two factors rose above all others: the economy, and concerns among moderates that progressives are controlling the Democratic Party.
The Economy, Inflation, and the Supply Chain
You didn’t need to be an economist to know that inflation was going to be a serious problem when it started soaring in the spring. A big surge in the money supply to boost the economy and problems with the supply chain created by the pandemic led to too many dollars chasing too few goods.
But the Biden administration has kept downplaying the issues, apparently hoping to pull the wool over our eyes. As recently as Sunday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was trying to paint a rosy picture of the price increases.
Maybe these people don’t go to supermarkets like the rest of us. Those of us who do shop for ourselves are all too often seeing empty shelves and prices that have jumped for just about everything.
In the past week alone, my local wholesale club had no toilet paper or paper towels. My local supermarket manager complained to me about not being able to get orders filled. The list of products we haven’t been able to find regularly is long. And since Biden took power, the average gas price per gallon of regular has risen by more than $1, according to AAA. That’s a 73% increase.
Last week, Yellen insisted that the multi-trillion-dollar spending initiatives would lower inflation. Pump huge amounts of money into the economy and prices will stop rising? Do they actually think Americans are stupid?
And then we keep hearing how we may not be able to find Christmas gifts. Being connected to the administration that stole Christmas is not going to help Democrats win elections.
Bernie, Elizabeth, and the Squad
As I have said, ad nauseam, since I launched my Bulletin site, Americans are mostly centrist. They don’t like seeing extremists on either side calling the shots.
So, tying your fortunes to the most extreme positions on the left is not going to help the Democratic Party, just as tying itself to Trump and extremists on the right hurt the GOP in 2020.
Tuesday proved it. The “defund the police” movement was launched in Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd’s killing there by an officer.
But an initiative to replace the city's police department was soundly defeated, despite support from two of Minnesota’s most prominent leftists, Rep. Ilhan Omar and state Attorney General Keith Ellison.
In Buffalo, India Walton, a socialist who had won the Democratic primary for mayor, was easily beaten by the incumbent mayor, even though he was a write-in candidate. Both of New York’s senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, had endorsed Walton.
Progressive House Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and the Squad, prevented the passage of an infrastructure bill, refusing to move forward until all Senate Democrats agreed to vote for the larger budget spending bill.
Meanwhile, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders push for higher spending and all sorts of taxes, while progressives and leftist media slammed the two moderate senators who slammed on the brakes.
Tuesday’s election, with too many examples to list, was clearly a rejection of the extreme left. Even Democrats like Senator Mark Warner acknowledged the obvious, saying: “You can’t win in Virginia if you only appeal to very liberal voters.”
Whether Democrats learned a lesson from the election remains to be seen.
On Wednesday, Biden officially nominated Saule Omarova to serve as the Comptroller of the Currency, despite loud opposition from bankers and some senators.
The office administrates the federal banking system, but Omarova has said she wants to put an “‘end to banking’ as we know it.” The graduate of Moscow State University has also advocated “central political control of capital, credit, and wages, and she has praised the Soviet-era economic system,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
With that tone-deaf nomination, it sure doesn’t seem like the White House is listening.
Cover photo: Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin passes an autographed basketball into the crowd with his family at his election night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021, in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pitted Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)