Election Coverage / Government Watch / Politics

Hidden Lessons in Midterm Election

Six lessons are hidden in midterm election results, which disappointed Republicans, left Democrats controlling the Senate, and set up what will be a bruising presidential contest in 2024.

First, many Americans made their decision months ago. While polls tightened, the nation saw few “last minute flips.” This was a cycle filled with unbridled emotion, little real debate.

Put differently, the “public mind” hardened early, became inflexible, not open to dialogue. Instead, people become resolved, looked to justify feelings, dismissed key facts. As the economy, crime, national security, and president’s cogency slipped, many looked away.

This development – disinterest in what does not reinforce prejudices – undermines quality debate on facts, even interest in them. But it cannot endure. Reality stalks the ignorant, always.

Second, in concert with this development, new procedures encouraged early and remote voting. While some states revamped laws to prevent federal overreach, not all states did. Some took odd comfort in perpetuating COVID-era practices, like mail-in ballots and ballot harvesting.

To some, that looks logical, making election day easier, letting people to vote at home, talk their votes over, get visits from ballot collectors, lengthen the process. The downside – recognized across Europe, where such practices are outlawed – is they invite abuse, creating public doubt.

Historically, we had one day of high energy and scrutiny, people showing up in-person, getting identified, voting alone, and ballots were not mis-sent, mis-placed, or mis-used. The prospect of a politically interested group influencing or casting false votes was small.

As the process gets gangly, the nation needs to look closer at mail-in ballots, ballot harvesting, vote influencing, and reduced voter identity. These things create distrust. Europe knows.

Third, tied to the first two, this election extended a problem that had been growing on us – late vote counting. This is entirely avoidable, again creates frustration, questions, and distrust.

Roughly half the states do not count until election day, many until polls close. The combination of multi-month vote-casting – 42 million early this cycle – and last-minute bulk ballot drops creates a logjam.

For reasons not entirely clear, more Democrats tend to vote early and remote, while Republicans tend to same-day voting. Putting aside the reasons, big numbers of remote ballots delivered late puts enormous pressure on vote-counters.  

The obvious solution, beyond tightening time and place for increased accuracy, is setting a real deadline for ballot receipt – before the election, allowing a thoughtful count. This is entirely do-able, monitorable, and allows more time for ballot validation. More, it is done in other settings.

For example, unless you can provide a good reason, taxes must be filed by a deadline. In corporate America, a proxy vote for a board meeting must be received by a date certain, not late.

Fourth, this election tells us more about the Republican-Democrat, or conservative-leftist divide. The divide is real, hard to shift, based on feelings, eludes persuasion. Moderates are shrinking.

Beyond generally hardening – reinforced by media-fed anger – the divide seems to get less movable each cycle, more tied to a philosophical disposition, liberty versus socialism.

Whatever “political scientists” see in their microscopes, average people see an unsettling ideological ravine. Conservatives are increasingly concerned about federal power consolidation, attacks on traditional family, community, education, health, safety, energy, and social decisions. They know big is not better.  

Conservatives were body-slammed by COVID lockdowns, bad on their merits. Lockdowns showed left-leaning politicians had little regard for liberties thought fundamental. We learned – they are really at risk.

In a double shock, conservatives learned that political actors exist who are content to blithely endanger or destroy the lives of kids, disrupt lifelong practices of families, schools, towns, churches, businesses, and what many thought belonged to the People.

Liberals are no less content. For reasons tied to how they think society should change, they are resist free speech, free exercise of religion, parental involvement in education, self-defense, strong law enforcement, ordinary criminal justice, proven history and tradition. They resent symbols of sacrifice and faith, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Columbus Day.

Fifth, we have the economy and energy. Despite America’s energy bounty, enough to keep all homes warm, cars, trucks, and trains humming, liberals permit their “climate change agenda” to clip energy independence, energy security, and our national security.

The result of this and federal overspending is – predictably – mass inflation. This seems a wedge issue, even in a time when the parties are hardening. This course empowers our enemies. 

Where is the hope? We need to keep working to elevate public trust in elections – improving the process. We need to talk facts, get less emotional. Things work on facts, not spit and vinegar.

Finally, there is inevitability at work – a realignment shaping 2024. No matter how Democrats try to clamp down on individual liberty, people live in reality. A debt-heavy economy struggles. High inflation, interest rates, and unemployment will dog Democrats. By the next election, the nation will want a Ronald Reagan, not Joe Biden. Midterms are just that – often the halfway point between a big error and course correction.


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GTPAtriot
14 days ago

Overall, a stupid article. No news here. We all know this stuff. The dumbest part of it is the supposition that by 2024 we will all figure it out and vote correctly. BS. If we were unable to get it right last week, there is no reason to think we will in 2024. We had a gift handed to us and could’nt figure out how to open the package. Dumb prevailed. Biden is our master. Like it or not and I don’t

J. Farley
15 days ago

Early voting is here to stay, until Republicans take over all state Legislatures, so we have to beat the Democrats at their game and do what they do. —Vote early and Vote often!
Coming on I am just kidding about voting often, Maybe!

Deb Rockwell
15 days ago

First of all, the blue states ARE NOT interested in election integrity because they know how to game the system. They do not want to play by any rules. Therefore, WE MUST FIND A WAY TO BEAT THEM AT THEIR OWN GAME. This is the only way. Perhaps THEN they will come to the table to discuss common sense reform.
Second, most voters are not smart enough or informed enough to UNDERSTAND that the gov’t is actually CREATING inflation. The melon heads (I mean Republicans) need to come up with simple ads and messaging that explain this to voters, along with WHY it is a bad idea to have an open border, etc. Many voters are unable to connect the dots.
We need the Republican Party to get a FRESH, NEW, PASSIONATE and dedicated marketing team to help them move into the future. Whoever is helping them now is doing a terrible job. Or maybe there is no one helping them. Either way, please get some professional marketing help, GOP!!! You need it!

Fred Noel
16 days ago

Can anyone find out what percentage of mail in ballots each party got by state? I’ve tried internet searches but can’t find out anything. My bet in states like Arizona the Dems got better than 70% of the mail-in ballots in their favor. Are democrats just to lazy to go to the polls to vote in person? Or are they to busy stuffing unsecured ballot drop boxes? When any party gets 60+% of the votes in mail-in ballots there should be an automatic audit done by an independent agency.

Dan W.
16 days ago
Reply to  Fred Noel

For two examples, check the results in Utah and the State of Washington. Both states use 100% mail-in ballots.

Bill on the Hill
14 days ago
Reply to  Dan W.

As does the state of Vermont, sadly enough…
Bill… :~)

Fred Noel
16 days ago

The biggest lesson is cheating and voter fraud steals elections. The only choice consecutive voter have is to learn how to cheat better! Once there are more ballots cast then there are registered voter, maybe something will be done.

Bill on the Hill
14 days ago
Reply to  Fred Noel

That had already been proven in numerous mid-west states & yet they seemingly still got away with it as in NO charges of electioneering…Perfect example of this, look no further than Maricopa County, AZ., more of the same, sadly enough with PA hot on their heals with respect to Election Fraud…
Bill… :~)

Michael J
17 days ago

If you can’t vote often, then vote early. You have to admit, the manipulation of the ballot box has proven that there are still many ways to cheat.
The states that continue to reveal themselves as the usual suspects, will be that expected new norm. The question is, will it be allowed to continue without honest oversight? If you cheat long enough, sooner or later you’ll get caught, but it’s been proven, those who lost elections by crooked election results, still lost.
Only a national voting system can remedy illegal voting results. The technology is there, but it doesn’t benefit those
who really stand to lose.

Jeffrey Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Michael J

Besides being unconstitutional, a national voting system would bring more problems and be harder to fix.

On the other hand, a national voter registry could reduce the number of voters registered in two states (possibly due to having moved).

PaulE
17 days ago

RBC,

I did a quick skim today of your article, as more pressing matters need attention, and I have to say I agree with the general points made. Allowing the “emergency” Covid-19 voting rule changes to become what now appears to be the “new normal”, as the left constantly likes to call things they break, has created the very flaws and opportunities for manipulation in the election process that the Carter-Baker report documented in 2005. If we continue to conduct future elections in this same manner going forward, there is no reason to believe the outcome will be substantially different from what we have experienced in the 2020 elections, the 2021 Georgia run-off elections and now the 2022 midterms.

One would think that achieving the same results now 3 times in a row would be indicative of what should be expected, if you continue to repeat the process the exact same way again in the future. The new voting methodology now being accepted as “the new normal” in terms of voting is designed to deliver the exact results it has delivered 3 times in a row. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over again, in the exact same manner, and expecting a different outcome comes into play here. If one thinks future elections conducted in exact same manner will yield a different outcome, one has to truly question why one would assume anything would be materially different. If you hold your hand over a fire 3 times and get burnt 3 times, do you honestly have any logically sane reason to expect if you repeat the action a 4th or 5th time the results will be any different? No of course not. Either restore election integrity to what is now a badly broken national voting methodology or get used to the results we’ve already experienced. It’s not that hard a concept to understand. The only question is, do we as a nation, have the will to do it.

RBC
16 days ago
Reply to  PaulE

Thank you! Concur!

Max
16 days ago
Reply to  PaulE

Like RBC, CONCUR.

Elaine
15 days ago
Reply to  PaulE

I have the will, but how? I live in a blue state and really do not believe that it is as blue as the election votes reveal. There were so many untruths in the primaries and mid-term election to the point I know longer trust anything that is reported.
Would love to have voter ID, paper ballots, no early voting except for disabled and military absentee ballots. What can I do to change the current rules. Our Secretary of State had the gall to announce how our registrations were up to date. WRONG, she was called for thousands received ballots that had moved and others had died. She did not fix that mail ballot problem and won the midterm election.
Please point me in the right direction to change this corrupt form of election.

Granny
15 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

Are you by any chance living in Michigan? This is Michigan to a “T.”
There is no way on earth 54% of Michiganders voted for murder of children and to take away voter I.D. And where did those proposals come from. I remember no petitions to put them on the ballot. We re RIFE with corruption and will be until another governor is elected.

Dorothy
11 days ago
Reply to  Granny

I’m in Michigan. Also an old lady. We had nothing but finger-pointing on both sides. GOP candidates seemed to be running on their “Trump approval”. They are not Trump and had no real platform. Trump did a LOT of good. I voted for him, both times, but admit he also did wrong.

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