The New Yorker spoke to Republican insiders who are telling them that Tuesday is going to be a bloodbath. I’m not so sure. Look at what Democrats did in 2020. And there were no consequences at all. I expect we will be seeing more of the same. Maybe even worse. In a fair election, I would consider the election to be a wipeout. But, will we have a fair election?
Author Benjamin Wallace-Wells:
On Wednesday afternoon, I spoke with a leading Republican political consultant about the Senate campaign in Georgia. That race is strategically significant for both parties, but it has a special symbolic importance for Democrats. The incumbent, Raphael Warnock, who for many years has occupied Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Atlanta, is seen as a potential national leader of the Democratic Party—and he may still lose to a scandal-ridden ex-football star, the Republican Herschel Walker. The Republican consultant told me that Warnock’s prospects were even bleaker than many recent public polls suggest. “There isn’t a single private poll in America that has Herschel Walker anything but ahead,” the Republican consultant told me. “Not one.”
The consensus among a number of G.O.P. pollsters and operatives I spoke to this week is that in the Senate races that are thought to be competitive, Republican candidates are heading for a clean sweep: Mehmet Oz will beat John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, and not just by a point or two; Adam Laxalt looks pretty certain to defeat the incumbent Democratic senator Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada; even less regarded candidates such as Blake Masters in Arizona will be carried into office by a predicted wave. “He won’t deserve it, but I think at this point he falls into a Senate seat,” one Republican strategist told me. To these Republican insiders, certain high-profile races in which G.O.P. candidates were already favored now look like potential blowouts—Kari Lake’s campaign for governor in Arizona, J. D. Vance’s for Senate in Ohio. And some races that seemed out of reach, such as the Senate campaign, in New Hampshire, of the election denier Don Bolduc, now look like possible wins. The word that kept coming up in these conversations was “bloodbath.”
Wallace-Wells let everyone speak anonymously, figuring that if he did so they would talk more freely and would actually say what is on their mind and apparently it worked because they did indeed give him a piece of their mind. One of the insiders claimed that the one-time revival for the Democratic Party was due to the fact that the people who did pick up the phone were super voters. That is voters who vote i every election for Democrats and the abortion debate had very little to do with it because those voters were going to vote for Democrats anyway.
Back in the summer, I’d spoken with the Republican strategist, who then predicted that the Dobbs wave would be ephemeral. “The Republican base is asking for very, very little,” he told me this week. “For all the stories we have about, like, the election deniers, from March of last year until now, their demands have basically been, like, ‘Please do something about the economy, please do something about immigration, please don’t let dudes participate in girls sports, and please do something about crime.’ ” When it came to independents, he went on, “It’s, like, ‘Please do something about inflation, please do something about crime, we’re pretty much with you on the girls-sports thing, just don’t be a dick about it.’ ”…
“I can show you the trajectory of all our races,” the Republican pollster told me. “We took a benchmark in July—O.K., this is going to be harder than we thought. And it looks like a ‘V.’ We went straight down. And then once we finally got to October, we have enough money, the electorate becomes more fully engaged, and then the other side of the ‘V’ is straight back up. I can show you the same story in probably twenty-five races.”