VDH: Tuesday Takeaways.
To the degree Republican gubernatorial candidates not supported by Trump easily won their races in states like Georgia and Ohio, they helped Trump-supported senatorial candidates. To the degree Trump-supported gubernatorial candidates lost badly such as in Pennsylvania, they hurt Trump-supported senatorial candidates.
Trump’s pre-election unexpected attack on DeSantis may have turned off a few thousand independents and Republicans from voting for Trump-affiliated candidates. And his pre-midterm boast that he would likely run for president may have scared — and energized — some last-minute, hard-core anti-Trumpers and Democrats to go out to vote.
Pollsters got it wrong — again. But this time once trustworthy conservative pollsters had little inkling that the simmering left-wing base was enthused by wild talk of abortion and insurrection. The real under-polled voters were not silent, wary Trump supporters, but this time around seething upscale women and college students.
Democratic opposition to a flawed and impaired Biden running again in 2024 will recede. Republican loyalty to the unpredictable Trump could fade.
And both those realities will empower DeSantis.
As Michael Barone notes, “The biggest winner of election 2022 was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Four years ago, he carried Florida 50%-49%, by just 32,000 votes, and he has been under repeated attack by the national press for his policies on COVID, concentrating on protecting the elderly and insisting on open schools and outdoor activities, and for a bill forbidding overt sexual material in kindergarten through third grade. His mettle was tested when Hurricane Ian attacked southwest Florida on Sept. 28 at a point not predicted by meteorologists (weather experts have improved greatly in recent decades but aren’t perfect). He got the Pine Island bridge repaired within three days and the Sanibel Island bridge repaired in three weeks rather than the predicted three months. He didn’t just promise to build things — he delivered. This year, DeSantis won reelection by 19 points, a 1,506,000-vote margin, in the state that George W. Bush carried in 2000 by a 537-vote margin after 35 days of recounts and litigation.”