Midterm results: Elites rule (even more)

The Compass of Power Episode 4

It’s time for the hot take on Midterms 2022. It’s the day after, Wednesday. And everyone’s like, What happened?

It’s a mix of results. Folks have tried to find a theme, have said maybe Democrats staved off the red wave. On the other hand, maybe Republicans still get control of Congress. Was it a blue thing, a red thing? Was it a Trump thing?

Well, here we say “place is politics.” And what I mean by that, because it’s not a we, it’s a me, is that as people move to the South, they adopt southern views, which are in the American context, conservative views. And because people are moving to the South and adopting conservative Southern views, the balance of power in the United States is changing. The compass of power is starting to point South away from the North.

And that has caused a lot of anxiety, polarization extremism, whatnot, because there’s a big thing happening in our cultural history here. So if you look at it that way, the North versus the South, things come into focus a lot faster.

We have to acknowledge a couple things. One, post-Civil War when it was North versus the South, we settled the West. And so you have to add that to the map. And I think we all know that the West Coast the West Pacific Coast is more or less aligned with Yankeedom. It’s it was founded in large part by Yankees. And that area is liberal and it’s aligned with places like Massachusetts.

The Dry West, the folks in the middle, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho. That’s a whole different ballgame. And a lot of it is defined by your relationship to the federal government. And we’re gonna talk about the kind of interesting results we saw there.

But in each case, north and south, let’s just keep two big blocks in our brains here. North liberal, South conservative. Each of those has an elite and an underclass. You know this, right? Everywhere you go, there’s the people who have been in charge, are usually in charge. In the North, that’s the Democrats. If you are elite kind of person, you’re probably a Democrat in the North. And in the South, it’s the Republicans. The parties can change, but the elites never do.

So if we think of it this way, then there are places where things aren’t going the right way. In the industrial Midwest, for example, you’ve lost a lot of factories and that sort of thing, and the elite have lost some of their credibility. And you start to see the underclass getting a leg up. And then you have the Trump phenomenon. You have this underclass of aggrieved, people who feel forgotten, and they are electing Republicans in the North. That’s the northern underclass.

In the South, you have kind of the opposite problem, economically speaking. You have phenomenal growth. But as that’s happening, the elites in the South who have always tended to be kind of rurally based, like the planter class, are now faced with these big booming cities, teaming with folks that may not be wealthy, but they have votes. And now you have this Democratic, urban underclass in the South who are vying for control of politics.

Midterm Results in the South

All right, that’s the table that we have set. Now, let’s go through the midterm roundup. I think it just shows the elites are coming home in the South. Let’s start there. That’s the big booming part of the country and is now home to the second and third most populous states in these United States, Texas and Florida.

And in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis just mopped the floor with a former governor and a former Republican, Charlie Christ. Should have been a a real contender, but instead it was a 59-40 blowout. Just an amazing performance by Ron DeSantis. You should listen to the episode on Ron DeSantis because he’s shown that by betting on the conservative side and coming out ahead, he can really pick up some votes and some steam.

The Miami Herald had this headline, “DeSantis wins reelection ushering in Red State era in Florida.” That’s a pretty dramatic claim. Florida has been a purple state, but maybe now it’s just solidly red. And importantly, Ron DeSantis won a majority of Hispanics. He had the largest margin in Miami-Dade County of any Republican for governor in 40 years.

As we talked in my other episodes, the Future of Conservatism, arguably if DeSantis can build this big sort of conservative, multiracial coalition that says “step off” to outside control, then he can take that a long way. And everybody expects him to run against Trump in the Republican primary for the 2024 presidential race.

But it’s not just DeSantis. Marco Rubio also won a third term. He’s another nationally known conservative in Florida.

Texas, number two most populous state. And we did an episode on that. Beto O’Rourke challenging Governor Greg Abbott. Abbot won a third term hands down, I think it was like an 11-point lead. And this is after he had a lot of challenges. Abbott did. He had had not only the pandemic, but he had all of Texas’s energy problems and the power grid failures, and they drove a bunch of voting rights restrictions home in Texas. They had abortion debates in Texas. And they had the Uvalde School shooting. I mean, there’s a lot of chaos. Maybe chaos is the wrong word. There’s a lot of conflict in Texas, and immigration was the number one issue for voters.

And despite all that, which you’d think might give you an opening, especially for someone who’s seen as a national political figure, Beto O’Rourke, it just was not close.

Now let’s talk about Georgia. We also followed up on Georgia. I talked about Raphael Warnock from Georgia, the Senator, as being maybe the future of American liberalism. That is, if the underclass in the South can start putting up winds, they can start shaping American politics because the north, as it loses population needs allies, and those allies have to be in the south. And Warnock, as we had discussed, is from a long tradition of leadership through the African American church in the South, in opposition to the elites who are pretty ham fisted in their oppression of the underclass, as I think we all know. But that’s going to a runoff, and it’s a runoff with Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for Senate. And it doesn’t look like either one of them got 50%.

You have to have an outright majority, so they get to go again. And that is probably disturbing news for Democrats, Liberals, they would’ve liked to have gone away with that as a win. It helped them maintain control of the Senate for the past two years, and they definitely need it going forward. On the other hand, it seems to me that if the candidate had been anyone but Herschel Walker on the R side the Democrats would’ve just lost. That’s what it seems like. Walker, I think we can all agree is not a natural politician. He is not adept at dodging controversy. And had he been a little bit smoother, a little bit slicker in dealing with some of his issues through the campaign, he might be sitting pretty like Republican governor Brian Kemp, who led Georgia through the pandemic is definitely a very conservative person. But he stood up to Trump over allegations that the elections were all wrong in 2020. And he came away 53% to Stacy Abrams, 46%, Stacy Abrams, another like Beto O’Rourke well known national Democrat known for coming close in the South, but could not put it away. North Carolina, by the way, also had an open Senate race, and the Republican took that too. So it seems to me like the elites in the South did just fine.

Midterm results in the North

Maryland was a slave state, loyal to the union, And this is an interesting one because the Democrats are like, Haray, we turned it from red to blue. West Moore is now the governor, or will be, he’s going to be, you know, installed. And that is switching it from R to D, but I would argue that Maryland probably should be counted as a blue state. It is got Baltimore, it’s deep in the orbit of dc. It never went with the Confederacy in the first place. So that is a win for Democrats. Democrats. But to me, it’s kinda like putting somebody back into the right column, you know, like this is a state they should have had and now they’ve got it again, the elites seem to be reasserting themselves.

Same story with Massachusetts. You know, you would hear a lot of intellectual type Republicans talk about loving the former governor of Massachusetts who was a Republican, but he opted not to run.

Unlike Greg Abbott. He opted not to run for a third term. And now Massachusetts has a Democrat and the first openly lesbian governor in these United States. But again, I would say that that’s the elites putting something that should have been in their column back in their column. I mean, the Democrats, Massachusetts is the source of American liberalism, essentially, like all of that Yankee culture comes straight outta Massachusetts historically speaking. And so them taking that back, I think shows that their formula cont the Democrats remain the party of the elite. And especially when you get a candidate in Massachusetts who talks or acts anything like a Trumpist, they’re in trouble. Same story. Okay? So Democratic governors in Maine, Michigan, and Minnesota, all reelected again, all the north, all Yankee territory. Pennsylvania’s an interesting one because it’s like Florida, but kind of a purplish state. And when you look at it, it should be part of the north.

It does have a bit of Appalachian at, which means it can go either way. But it’s been, you know, again, we have like this industrial decline and kind of hard hit, and there’s been plenty of inroads for Republicans to play that up and say, The elites have done you wrong. And here you had the Democrats come out ahead, Josh Shapiro for governor, and John Federman defeated Dr. Oz. And that was the widely watched one. And both of those were like, put ’em away. So again, I feel like the trend here, , do I have to keep saying this? Wisconsin is an interesting mixed bag. Again, economically challenged state had been blue for years, started going Republican here, the Democrat for governor in incumbent defeated the Republican, Tim Michaels, that was 51 to to 48, so not like a blowout, but the Democrats hung on, on the other hand, Senator Ron Johnson won reelection and he’s a Republican.

So I would say there the power of incumbency was huge. And Wisconsin, like everybody else was feeling like sticking with what they know. But what they know is kind of a mixed bag, Ohio was there’s a race to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman, and they had a US rep, Tim Ryan go in for the open seat against JD Vance, author of Hillbilly Eulogy. Hillbillies are Appalachians, by the way, same folk. You find him in Pennsylvania, you find him in Ohio. You also find Yankees in Ohio though. But JD Vance came away. So again, an industrial place, the elites kinda lost their mojo. And now you have Republicans making ground. And basically that seat didn’t change hands between parties. So the theme of safety continues.

Midterm results in the West

Now let’s talk about the West. The west is an interesting place. I, I myself would be counted as growing up in the dry west.

And it’s what it’s always kinda leaned against the power structure. And for a while that meant being a Democrat. While all the big wigs, all the tycoons were Republicans. Then it became meaning being a Republican, while the Facebook and Twitter execs were all Democrats. And here we see that in Nevada for governor, the Republicans leading but not putting it away. Last night in Arizona, the Democrat for governor was coming out ahead Katie Hobbs, but one third of the vote outstanding in New Mexico Michelle g Grham, a Democrat was putting away as governor. So what you’ve got is more of a mixed bag, right? This is a place where the economy’s doing well, people are moving in, but there’s a lot of conflict about what kind of economy that would be. And that is a conflict that dates all the way back to the Civil War.

And well, we’re not here to debate the cause of the Civil War. I think everyone agrees that yes, slavery was the cause, but part of that was what were we gonna do at the West? Who’s gonna be controlling the West and would they be slave states are free. And I feel like that sort of conflict over what kind of system is this supposed to be continues in the West Colorado? Interestingly Democrat Michael Bennett got back in the Senate easily over Joe O’Day, a Republican who ran on support of Roe v Wade. So here’s a Republican who’s trying to change up the narrative, trying to play to what he sees as Colorado’s views. And he couldn’t do it because I mean, probably cuz if they’re feeling strongly about that in Colorado, they’ll take the real deal. The actual Democrat versus the Democrat light is how I read that in an instant based on my 32nd analysis.

Here’s a headline from the Denver Post, though. Republicans wonder if Colorado is still purple and other election night takeaways. Well, my view is like, if you were ahead, if you were on top, you were feeling like you were in power in early 2022, then you got to stay in power by late 2022. There’s a few results still to come in, a few bobbles to be counted. But my hot take is like in the south, the power brokers are feeling good and in the north the power brokers are feeling good. And all across the land, the people who are punching up and trying to take away that power are outta luck right now. We do have to talk about democracy. We have to talk about Donald Trump and how all that works because I feel like Trump is an interesting aberration that played on the dynamics we’re already talking about with a shift in population.

But he is not like the driving. Cause nonetheless, if he had an absolute narrative coming into this about the elections, there was a lot of people talking about democracy and what that means. And I think there’s a lot to be said about the North’s version of democracy versus the sells version of democracy. And we will have that discussion next week, I suppose, when we have some more results. Thanks guys. That was a really fast hot take, but I wanted to do it. I wanted to talk to you. I wanna keep doing this because I do think it makes more sense to talk about this as North v South than Red v Blue for previous episodes and all the rest, you can go to my website, compass of power.com. You could maybe tell someone who also likes to think independently or differently about these things to listen to this podcast. Please I like to have people listen to it and we’ll be back. Thank you.

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