Hennen: We may not have seen the 'red wave' nationally, but there was a 'red tsunami' in North Dakota
Columnist Scott Hennen shares thoughts on the midterm election.
A nationwide "red wave" for election 2022 did not materialize but it showed up as a "red tsunami" in North Dakota. Inflation is running rampant. Crime is plaguing many parts of the country. The border is far from secure. Yet the pollsters and pundits that predicted huge Republican victories and massive Democrat losses were sadly mistaken. What happened?
I asked my radio audience the day after election day for their explanations. Some suggested Republicans running nationwide didn't give voters enough explanation of what they are for. I can see a few races needing better messaging to win but that doesn't explain the wave reverting to a trickle.
Some analysis suggests Gen Z turned out in higher than expected numbers and supported Blue candidates over Red. The assumption is the younger the voter, the more likely they vote Blue. Another explanation is that all of the chatter about a "red wave" for weeks leading up to the election motivated a "blue wave" of voters.
I could not be more thrilled with the recent Dobbs vs. Jackson decision from the Supreme Court of the United States. Same for most of our listeners. But Democrats don't share our view. Even though abortion is still legal in about half of the United States, the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court likely motivated some to vote in larger numbers than normal. This reason is puzzling to me. How is this issue connected to a vote? Hoping for a majority to draft a law? With slim majorities in Congress, that is not going to happen.
More reasons given for the "red wave" dissipating nationally include an estimation that Republicans and Independents stayed home. That can be devastating for candidates. But the most controversial answer is Donald Trump. Many listeners thought the hint by the 45th president that he would be making a big announcement impacted many other races around the country. I am detecting a "Trump fatigue" among a slice of the Republican faithful. But they are outnumbered by those who see Trump's accomplishments as worthy of our praise. I'm confused how someone who held huge rallies to help 2022 candidates, but wasn't on the ballot himself, would be blamed for hurting the Republican races.
Another chapter in the "You Know It's Bad When" book comes from the White House. News reports suggest President Biden was happy with the results. Politico reports, "It's an outcome that not even the most optimistic White House hands thought would happen." They added "Aides would routinely point out to reporters how rough it usually is for the presidents party in the midterms." It did not come to pass.
The good news is a red tsunami came to North Dakota. Republicans ran the table. It was a mega victory. Sen. John Hoeven won a third term and dispensed of two opponents. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, Attorney General Drew Wrigley, Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring, and Secretary of State Michael Howe all won. North Dakotans obviously trust Republicans to govern responsibly.
Scott Hennen hosts the statewide radio program “What’s On Your Mind?” On AM 1100 “The Flag”, AM 1090 KTGO “The Flag” and AM 1460 KLTC. Email him at ScottH@FlagFamily.com
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.