Hello and happy Saturday. We woke up to snow in the Ohio bureau this morning, which isn’t ideal (I’m more a fan of sweatshirt-and-warm-cider-with-bourbon weather in the first half of November), but it was nothing like the wakeup call the Republican Party got this week. The midterms were not a total loss, of course: The party is on track to take the House but the Senate is presently as deadlocked as it can be: 49-49, with Georgia going to a runoff and Nevada still too close to call.
But the “red wave,” much less a ‘’red tsunami,” never materialized, and there was a clear throughline in the results. Candidates who espoused “Stop the Steal” rhetoric, candidates who were endorsed by former President Donald Trump or ran campaigns designed to garner such endorsements, had a pretty bad night.
The reaction was swift. The New York Post and Wall Street Journal ran scathing op-eds criticizing Trump and Fox News hosts openly questioned Trump’s stinginess with spending on candidates. Are we having a moment? Nothing in the past six years has been effective in diminishing Trump supporters’ devotion to him—scandals, impeachment, January 6, the second impeachment—but would more losing finally do it?
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about early 2016. I worked at Slate then, and primary and debate season was approaching. We were having a Slack conversation about how to divvy up the late night coverage that such nights necessitate. I can’t remember my exact words, but I jokingly dashed off something to the effect of, “Sorry guys, I’m not volunteering until the clown show is over.” LOLs ensued.