There were a lot of reasons for that. Dobbs was apparently a big one. Maybe the student debt forgiveness—also routinely denounced in the media as a slap in the face to non-college voters—helped, because turnout among young people was considerably better than expected. The extremism of many of the Republican candidates helped. New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan, whose political obituary was written many times in the campaign’s final week, rolled to a double-digit win. Wasn’t remotely close.
And while it can’t be said, based on the evidence, that Biden’s legislative wins helped much, we can definitively say that they didn’t hurt, which is a big deal. Voters were angry about inflation, yes. But it looks like GOP attempts to convince moderates that Biden was peddling socialism came up short. Abigail Spanberger, the Virginia House Democrat whose political obituary was also written many times, and who in 2021 groused that no one elected Biden to be FDR, won pretty handily, by four points—and in the closing weeks, she went around the district touting the benefits of the hard infrastructure bill.
And besides, Republicans offered nothing economically, other than defunding the IRS. They had, and have, no domestic policy agenda. Something beats nothing.