2022 Midterms: Red Wave that Wasn’t

What do these midterms tell us about the future of the GOP?

Reagan Russell and Andrew Kula

Members of the Republican Party were awaiting Tuesday, Nov. 8. The Red Wave that would hit the nation, following the rise in crime and inflation since President Biden was inaugurated, would finally be carried out.

However, that didn’t happen. That Red Wave that many were expecting was barely even a trickle. Hopeful Republican candidates for the Senate, House of Representatives and state offices were defeated even with millions of dollars in funding and advertisements everywhere the eye could look. Following the Nov. 8 election, the Democrats are going to keep control of the Senate, Republicans will take the House with a slight five or six seat majority and Democrats succeeding in the state elections picking up 18 gubernatorial seats over the Republicans 17.

So what went wrong? Why, with inflation at a 40 year high and President Biden’s approval rating at 37%, according to Reuters, did Republicans only win by the slightest of margins?

It’s a simple part of every politician; candidate quality. Many Republican candidates turned towards Former President Donald Trump to gain endorsements that would put them ahead in the primaries. However, once these candidates got to the general election facing storms of Democratic advertisements aligning them with Trump and his election denial, they stood no chance.

Take for example the gubernatorial race in Illinois. For the Republican primary, there were several candidates that seeked the nod from the GOP to run against incumbent governor, JB Pritzker. Darren Bailey, Richard Irvin and Jesse Sullivan were the main candidates for the Republican primary in Illinois and through television advertisements and road signs, these candidates all pursued to face Pritzker in November.

Yet, Darren Bailey, the Illinois State Senator from downstate Xenia, won the nomination by a landslide. And why was this close election won by over 30 percentage points? One person helped Darren Bailey win: JB Pritzker.

Through his millionaire spending, the Illinois governor placed advertisements highlighting Bailey to his GOP base. Stating that Bailey is pro-life, defends the 2nd amendment and aligns himself with Former President Donald Trump. This enlightened Republicans to vote for Bailey in the primary and it was all funded by Prtizker.

And Illinois was not the only state where this occurred. All throughout the nation, Democrats were funding far-right candidates that denied the 2020 election and took extreme positions on the current issues of the day. Democrats did this because they knew they would win in the general election against these far-right candidates.

This is exactly what happened. Candidates that seemed to be more moderate had additional success in the November midterms over candidates that thought and continued to say that the 2020 election was stolen.

So what’s next? Simply put, the GOP needs more young, moderate candidates that can appeal to the average American. The policies of the GOP have not been the main problem. When we are selecting boisterous candidates hung up on previous elections we are doomed to lose the war before the battle begins.

The GOP currently has a majority in the House. Maintaining a majority in the House is critical if the GOP wants any hand in the future of our revenue bills and the shaping of our legislature. However in an ideal world, the GOP needs to take control of both the Senate and the Presidency as well.

2024 will be a critical election year for the entirety of the United States. It is important to show up and vote to make sure we are putting our best foot forward and making a difference.