Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
Last Tuesday’s elections didn’t turn out
like most political pundits/sages expected.
Instead of a red wave, it was more like a calm pink tide. Republicans appear to have gained enough
seats to take over the U.S. House, but the U.S. Senate will remain under
Democrat control. It appears the
Democrat has won in the Arizona governor’s race, so all in all it wasn’t a
strong night for Republicans. Three
First, Parties don’t win or lose elections,
candidates do. Republican elected
officials and so-called political experts recruited, equipped and funded bad
candidates. The Senate GOP candidate in Pennsylvania
was Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Turkish Muslim, who lives in New Jersey. A regular on Oprah Winfrey’s show, Oz was
recruited because he had name recognition and Republicans thought Oz would
appeal to ‘swing’ voters. His opponent
was the sitting Lt. Governor in Pennsylvania who had a stroke and struggled through
a debate. They were running to replace
Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican. Oz had little appeal to Pennamites in the larger
metropolitan areas and Democrats picked up the seat. Oz may know medicine and television, but in
politics, he was a political novice.
Republicans ran Kari Lake for governor in
Arizona. Lake was a Phoenix TV news
anchor who had high name recognition. Her
Democrat opponent was Katie Hobbs, the sitting Secretary of State in Arizona. It
appears Lake lost in a very close race.
In Georgia, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate was Herschel Walker, who was
a Heisman Trophy winner while at the University of Georgia and a well-known
professional athletic. Walker was recruited
because everybody in Georgia knows who he is.
Walker hasn’t lost yet, but he trails his Democratic opponent as they move
to a December 6th runoff.
None of the three GOP candidates mentioned
have held elective office before. All three
were unconventional, out of the ordinary, outsider candidates. The three were aggrandized as being
conservative outsiders in the mold of former President Donald Trump. Yet voters
didn’t seem to care about their notoriety or celebrity status. They chose the more conventional candidates. Perhaps the days of PT Barnum ‘now in the
center ring’ politics has run its course.
Second, the grand old Party missed a great
old probability. Inflation is at a 40
year high. The economy is in the tank. Exit
polling showed the economy/inflation was the number one issue with over 50% of
voters. Odds were in Republican’s favor. Democrat’s failed economy policy is hurting
the average family. Even Democrat
pollsters projected the GOP would win big on Tuesday, yet Republicans failed to
capitalize on the number one issue. They
instead ran candidates based on personality and not policy.
Third, Oklahoma and Florida were the two
bright red spots. Oklahoma voters cast
their ballots overwhelmingly for Republicans, which is not surprising. Republicans easily won their races in the
Sooner state, in spite of the fact millions were spent in dark money ads
attacking Governor Stitt and Ryan Walters.
Florida is another story. The sunshine
state reelected Governor Ron DeSantis to a second term 60% to 40%. DeSantis won Miami Dade county, a
traditionally Democrat county, by 10 points- the first time a Republican has
won it in over twenty years. Republicans
in Florida won all statewide races and now have super majorities in both the state
House and Senate (Oklahoma did it in 2014).
That gives DeSantis a launching pad for a 2024 presidential run. Florida is a key swing state.
The lesson from Tuesday is candidates win
or lose elections- not Parties. Ill
prepared, amateur, greenhorn candidates have little appeal to the knowledgeable
voter- and they rarely fool the uniformed one.
Running a candidate with little substance so an extra chair is needed at
the caucus meeting is a foolhardy strategy. A notable luminary on the ballot is no
different than the unknown career politician.
Both must convince the voter they are competent to do the job. Celebrity Republicans clearly didn’t do that