Joe Biden had reason to put a big smile on Tuesday.
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Voter anger over the overthrow of the Roe v. Wade ruling and their desire to maintain free and fair elections were perhaps the two most important reasons Tuesday night’s midterms turned into an anomaly. . And at every turn, Donald Trump has supported his opponents’ claims that democracy really hinges on the vote. said about the former president’s drag on Republicans this year, what he thinks of a great night of polls, and the seemingly near-permanent era of elections.
we spoke in august Democrats could have done well in these midterm elections, and they are doing well now. What is the most surprising element of the election for you?
They did one of the hardest things in politics by keeping the midterm elections away from party and presidential referendums and making elections an option rather than a referendum. was able to do so thanks to three things. One, of course, is the Supreme Court abortion ruling. The second is Donald Trump and his presence during the campaign. And three, thanks in large part to Trump, there were candidates who made it easier to argue that the Democrats were a bigger risk. To Seek change rather than sticking to the status quo they were unhappy with.
I was thinking about last year’s election Virginia When new jersey, efforts to tie the Republican nominee to Trump did not go very well. This time it was different. Because many of the candidates were Trumpies.
And Trump, in a way, was in the spotlight during this election, so not in 2021. Yes, last year he was still talking about stolen elections. He’s going after any Republican who defied him, who attended the January 6 committee, or who voted to impeach him. He’s one of the greatest vote manipulations the Democrats have ever done.
But it cuts on both fronts. He’s also powerful at winning Republican votes, but not just when he’s voting.
I think there is something to it. Yes, there have been Republicans who are unhappy with Biden, but remember those who showed up in 2016 and 2020 always wondered why the pollsters couldn’t find them One of the reasons they are hard to find is that they are not traditional voters. You may have voted in the midterm elections. Maybe they haven’t voted in ten years. Maybe they just registered in 2020, are checking out now, and if Trump returns to the scene in 2024, they may reappear. But in 2021 — I don’t know if the Virginia race would have gone to Glenn Youngkin if Dobbs’ decision had happened at the time. turned into something
How mad are Republicans now about conservatives on the Supreme Court? They must be thinking, “Didn’t the court wait until next year?”
Timing is everything in politics, right?
Let’s go back to voting.There are always a lot of complaints about them, but in practice generally very good This year is much better than 2020. It was accurate even in places like Wisconsin, which has seen large errors in recent years. I certainly have a love/hate relationship with polls. How do you see this inaccurate science going forward?
As one clue to this question of what’s going on in the polls, I think something happens when Trump is on the ballot. I don’t think anyone expects the polls to be fixed forever if I never run for office again. The poll industry still faces significant challenges unrelated to Donald Trump. However, it is clear that his presence in the poll is a factor.
Another thing is that we in politics have talked a lot about the inaccuracy of polls this year. 4 points go to the other person. So I think there was probably little hope that these polls would exactly succeed. At some point, these races will give you the final margin. But for me, the most important takeaway from the last three or four elections is how narrow the gap is between these constituencies. from , “Oh my God, I only managed to win six.”
One of the people I think has written the wisest thing about where we stand politically at the moment is John Said of Vanderbilt. He and his two other political scientists wrote a great book about 2016.The basic premise they wrote in Washington Position An editorial last month argued that our politics are very polarized. we It’s so polarized that we should continue to expect really close elections, with only a few votes determining the president, the Senate majority, and the House majority. We don’t see these big changes. Given that we have seen the House and Senate shaken in control and the White House shaken in control over the past four years, knowing nothing else, we now know that the Democrats are in control. If you did, you’d think, “That was probably a big landslide victory.” No. They won by a small margin. And now, “Oh, Republicans won the House. They must have had a big night.” They also won by a small margin. Elections are now more predictable than ever because we know what every contested state and contested district is.
With the exception of Lauren Boubert’s race in Colorado, it’s not that there were no surprises in districts where no one was paying attention on election night. “Forget my partisan identity. Instead, regardless of all the churn and volatility and notable chain of events of the last four years, our partisanship has made all these contests incredibly close. It’s a thing. Neither party feels that the battle has been won.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.