Were midterms a repudiation for both Democrats and GOP?

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Ballots for the U.S. midterm elections are counted with a machine at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., November 10, 2022. Photo by Jim Urquhart/Reuters.

Millions of people cast their ballots in the 2022 midterm elections this week — though votes are still being counted — and neither Democrats nor Republicans saw the results they expected.

A sitting president’s party often takes a beating in a midterm election, so Democrats were preparing to lose their majorities in the House and Senate. Despite sky-high inflation and sinking approval ratings for President Biden, Republicans won far fewer seats in the House than anyone predicted. And some competitive Senate candidates, like Pennsylvania Republican candidate Mehmet Oz, underperformed. 

There’s still a chance, though much smaller than before, that Republicans could control both houses of Congress. Was this a repudiation from voters on both sides? Could this election be the start of a reckoning in both parties?

The issue of abortion played a large role in this election, especially for Democrats. Plus, inflation and the economy were top of mind for most voters. But much of the conservative messaging focused on crime and immigration. 

Did Republicans misread their base? Did they suffer for promoting abortion bans, when the majority of the country doesn’t agree with that stance? And what did Democrats get right in their campaigns?

Plus, a healthy portion of Republican candidates that questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election and backed by former President Trump lost their bids. Meanwhile, more moderate conservatives won by significant margins. 

Did Trump’s handpicked candidates harm Republicans overall? Will this showing encourage the GOP to move past Trump’s hold on the party? 

And what does all of this mean for the 2024 presidential bid?

Host David Greene discusses with Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, on the left; and Jim Hobart, partner at Public Opinion Strategies, on the right. 

And special guest Molly Ball, national political correspondent at TIME Magazine, weighs in on how this election could reshape politics and discusses her cover piece for TIME Magazine, “How Democrats Defied History in the Midterms and What it Means for 2024.” 




David Greene