So, back in 2018, I went to my good friend Bob’s house to watch the midterm results with him and his wife Laurie. If I was a superstitious lot, I would never have done this, because it was at his home during an election night party when I learned that Mediocre Businessman Donald Freaking Trump was going to be our president.
Ignoring any threats of jinxing what seemed like a good midterm for Dems, I settled in, had a beer, and began to watch the results roll in. At first, things looked bad for the Democrats, as people like James Carville and Rachel Maddow seemed to be concerned that the election would be great for Trump and his Republicans.
I panicked a bit, maybe a lot, from about 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., when things suddenly looked better for the Dems. In fact, this went back and forth for much of the night. I realized that in this new election world, reserving judgment is very important for one’s sanity.
Even immediately after the election, many in the media decided that their lust for DEMS IN DISARRAY trumped anything truly crazy like common sense or reason. Famous Bed Bug Pundit Bret Stephens of The Paper of Record, The New York Times, so hath declared it a disaster for Dems and raised the specter of a second Trump term, giving a lot of credence to the idea that he is about as bright as a bedbug.
The same thing happened in 2020. As many expected, it took a while to figure out how the White House, House, and Senate would play out because the results were close, the turnout high, and well, A FREAKING PANDEMIC was going on. This didn’t stop pundits and even moderate Democrats from screaming that it was a failure and that, of course, progressives were to blame (moderates are very good at being, well, let’s just say selective about party unity). As it turned out, the Dems got the Senate and the House and even with Manchin-Sinema blocking a lot, Biden’s summer was on fire with what he got passed.
This leads me to a bit of advice…this year’s election is quite a giant question mark. You can review data and different opinions until you are blue in the face, but it’s nearly impossible to figure out who will come out on top when the smoke clears. If you watched the midterm special last night on MSNBC, you can see that anyone associated with the hit MSNBC marriage comedy Morning Joe (And Mika Too!) is DYING to hammer the Dems on being too soft on crime and the border. They are just a few of the media types in DC who are itching for this. Remember, to these people the Republicans are allowed to do whatever they want, even openly support insurrection, while the Democrats must be perfect (i.e. lurch strongly to the right).
So, if it looks not-so-great for the Dems early, take heart that votes will come in from various places. A 51-49 GOP lead with 58% reporting is not safe if the rest of the vote is coming in from heavily blue areas. I recommend watching Steve Kornacki on MSNBC/NBC, who has become a living, breathing meme for his rolled-up sleeves, khakis, and intense vote analysis. He really is pretty good at sussing out for the viewer what votes might remain and what the current result means.
I also recommend checking out FiveThirtyEight’s live blog, where the analysis is pretty strong. The New York Times also has a live blog. These can help you understand what is unfolding, and whether you should feel good or kinda panicky.
Additionally, as tough as this might be, I strongly suggest girding your loins for the probability that we won’t know exactly how good, or bad, things will be for Democrats on Election Night. We might not know for a few days, or even until the Georgia runoff election for Senate, which has a decent chance of happening.
The last word goes to Tom Petty, with a song we can all relate to at the moment.