There was no red wave. There was no red tide. There was no red trickle.

There was a fizzle.

The 2022 midterm election fundamentals would have suggested a ringing Republican victory: an unpopular president of the opposing party, deep public unhappiness with the state of the economy, unified Democratic control in Congress and radical social policy out of step with most Americans. Polls showed Republicans cutting deeply into Democratic constituencies including Hispanic and black voting blocs.

Yet as of Wednesday morning, Republicans, who were widely expected to win historic margins in the House of Representatives and to take back the United States Senate, are coming up short nearly everywhere. They will likely take back the House, but by a slim margin after an extraordinarily tepid showing that may land them with a majority of just north of 220 seats; they are unlikely to take back the Senate, given that the deciding vote will likely come via a runoff in a Georgia Senate race featuring the highly vulnerable and troubled candidacy of Herschel Walker.

So, what happened?

What happened is that in many districts and states all over the country, Republicans picked bad candidates. Believing that the fundamentals were all that was necessary to sweep them to victory, Republican leadership failed to intervene in these primaries to the extent necessary to ensure durable general election candidates. They stood aside largely out of fear of former President Donald Trump; Trump himself personally intervened in a variety of cases in the primaries, endorsing candidates almost solely on the basis of whether they were sufficiently sycophantic regarding the election of 2020.

Those candidates then lost.

And then Trump ripped them. Take, for example, Don Bolduc in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is a toss-up state; late polls suggested that Bolduc, despite his myriad oddities and strong support for Trump’s 2020 election fraud claims, might win the race. Instead, he lost by double digits. And Trump promptly took to Truth Social to let the world know that Bolduc deserved it: “Don Bolduc was a very nice guy, but he lost tonight when he disavowed, after his big primary win, his longstanding stance on Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Primary. Had he stayed strong and true, he would have own easily. Lessons Learned!!!” He also took the time to issue a statement (SET ITAL) celebrating (END ITAL) a Democrat winning the Colorado Senate seat, ripping Republican Joe O’Dea, who had refused to countenance Trump’s election 2020 obsession: “Joe O’Dea lost BIG! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

The Republican Party had one job in the 2022 election cycle: to provide some semblance of responsible leadership. Where they didn’t, they lost.

And where they did, they won.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who reopened the state during COVID-19, ensured children could go to school unmasked, kept the economy open, handled Hurricane Ian and fought off the predations of wokesters and corporate Left-wingers, won an overwhelming victory: he grew his 30,000-vote, 0.4% 2018 victory margin to (SET ITAL) 1.5 million votes and nearly 20 points, (END ITAL) and took the entire Florida GOP along for the ride. Republicans picked up four House seats in the state; Marco Rubio defeated Val Demings in the Senate by over 16 points, and won the Hispanic vote outright, taking even historically blue Miami-Dade County.

Meanwhile, Trump was taking potshots at “Ron DeSanctimonious.”

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp handily defeated Democratic darling Stacey Abrams, despite Trump’s personal attempts to defeat Kemp in his primary — again, due to Kemp’s failure to illegally flip the state to Trump in the 2020 election. Kemp is trusted by Georgians; he won.

There is a silver lining here for Republicans. Democrats, who should have been taught a lesson by voters, were saved by Republican incompetence and pusillanimity; that means they’ll keep doubling down. President Joe Biden is, barring actual incapacity, the prohibitive 2024 Democratic nominee. And the fundamentals will continue to move against Democrats as they pursue a woker and woker agenda.

This means Republicans will get another bite at the apple — but only if they get serious. The time for frivolity is over. The laws of political gravity apply. Nominate good, sober candidates capable of governing and earning the trust of Americans. Pick your culture war battles and hit them hard. Make it hard to vote for Democrats and easy to vote for you.

This isn’t tough stuff. But if Republican leadership is unwilling to pursue the obvious, the shipwreck of 2022 will be only the beginning.

Ben Shapiro, 38, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.” To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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23 days ago

Seems to me there must be a better reason, Republicans did not do better. More money spent by Democrats? I found many of the candidates to be compelling, with solid and patriotic ideas. Why always blame Trump? We need to convince the media to do a better job of educating the public about the ills of this administration and the consequences that prevail. No one seems to be fully informed about the border, crime, inflation, energy dependence, etc. .

23 days ago
Reply to  vlouise

It is simple math. The dims cheated again by letting illegals and criminals voting plus I know most dims do not think of consequences of elections when voting wrong.

Nonna Yerbiz
23 days ago

This is one interpretation of what happened and it’s the wrong one. There were 2 factors at work here and one was the treacherous efforts of the Republican party power structure (establishment Republicans) who wanted victory only one way, theirs! They did everything in their power to defeat America First candidates including funneling money away from their campaigns to bolster the campaigns of establishment Republicans. Instead of running against Dems they ran against America First Republicans. The second factor was the new (and some say ‘illegal’) way of campaigning and counting votes that Democrats invented during the politically motivated Covid “crisis” where new voting methods were deployed to allegedly keep Covid from spreading by voting in person. In fact these methods only succeeded in expanding the voting period allowing for a greater possibility of fraudulent vote harvesting and also getting voters to cast their ballots early eliminating or at least greatly reducing the possibility of voters discovering negatives about the Dem candidate such as those exposed during debates. To further ensure the success of this method the Dems kept their most most flawed candidates fully closeted and did not allow the press to have any access to question such candidates. The press being mostly on the Dem side, mad it very easy for this method to succeed by simply being utterly incurious about the fitness of any Dem candidate. The Republican party power structure either missed noticing this very obvious strategy or deliberately ignored it. It was more important to them to get rid of America First Republicans and of course Trump! Either way they still have no strategies in place to combat this new method by the Dems who first tried it in 2020 against Trump with spectacular success. It was a no-brainer for Dems to use this method again in the relatively few battleground states they needed to win in the 2022 Midterms. The America First candidates who went bravely forward and advocated and implemented America First policies were the ones who won by convincing and in some cases overwhelming margins this year despite being vilified by almost all the press, Dems and establishment Republicans.

Michael dos Campos
23 days ago

Biden didn’t win the ’20 election, Trump flat-out lost it with his uncivilized behavior. Now, he’s been a big part of the GOP blowing the midterms by handpicking unelectable candidates. I voted for him twice, but I’m sick of his unacceptable act — bring on DeSantis.

Stephen Russell
22 days ago

Red Fizzle due to:

Over hype
Indoc voters vote Blue
TV ads blocked some states
voting machine software issues
No United GOP
Trump comments on Desantis & Youngkin Hurt
Early election by Dems
GOP NOT proactive
Purge GOP
rigged ballots & voting machines

Rerun for 2024??