February 9, 2023

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The Legal System

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Inside the red ripple

(Scott Johnson)

Dave Seminara’s Spectator column (behind the Spectator paywall) looks on the upside of the downside of the midterms for Republicans. Republicans won the cumulative popular vote for congressional candidates, but what about it? “The popular vote win shouldn’t be a cause of celebration for Republicans, who should have performed even better in the critical races given President Biden’s abysmal record. But there are also causes for concern among Democrats, a party that prides itself on being popular vote champs. Consider how they’ve trended in competitive districts across the country…” Seminara itemizes these points:

• In 2018, three of Iowa’s four House seats were held by Democrats; now none are. This is a big reason why the party is likely to strip the state of its first-in-the-nation caucus/primary status.

• Arizona’s second congressional district, which encompasses most of Tucson and the northeast corner of the state, went from a 10-point win for a Democrat in 2018 and 2020 to a seven-point win for a Republican in 2022.

• Amy McGrath, a Democrat and former Marine fighter pilot, lost in 2018 in Kentucky’s sixth congressional district by just three points. This year, Democrats lost the seat by 29 points.
Democrats lost Missouri’s second congressional district, which includes suburbs of St. Louis, by just four points in 2018 and 12 points this year.

• The Democrats lost Minnesota’s largely rural first congressional district by fewer than 2,000 votes in 2018 but lost the seat in 2022 by 12 points.

• Oklahoma’s fifth congressional district, the least Republican of the state’s five seats, was narrowly won by a Democrat in 2018. This year, a Republican won it by 22 points.

• A Democrat narrowly won Utah’s least Republican district (the fourth, which includes part of Salt Lake City) in 2018, but lost the seat by one point in 2020 and 29 points this year.

• Democrats lost North Carolina’s ninth congressional district, in the south-central part of the state, by fewer than 1,000 votes in 2018. The state election board called for a new special election in 2019, following allegations of ballot fraud by Republican operatives. Dan Bishop, a Republican, won in 2019 by fewer than 4,000 votes, and was re-elected in 2020 and 2022 by 12 and 13 points respectively.

Seminara continues: “Republicans increased their margins in most parts of the South and did significantly better in the heartland than they have in recent elections.” Here Seminara cites the great Michael Barone’s accessible AEI column “A House Popular Vote Majority Produced Few Seats But Is a Good Sign for Republicans in 2024.” Please check it out.