It is getting time to close the book on the 2022 elections with a few final thoughts.
Let’s start with the Democrats. Despite the generally good results, if you are a Democratic strategist, there were some election results that have to be of concern.
The Republicans received about 3 million more votes (about 2.7%) than the Democrats in House elections. That’s the first time in at least 100 years that the Republicans have won the national vote total consecutively. The only reason the Republicans did not win the House by a more emphatic margin is because of suboptimal vote allocation. They ran up vote totals in most Democratic or Republican districts.
What was once the Democrats’ electoral base continues to erode. Republicans won 42% of the Hispanic vote (up from 35% in 2020), 14% of the Black vote (up from 8% in 2020) and the working class continued its long march away from the Democrats. In 2018, Democrats won working-class voters (identified as those who have not attended college) by 4 points. This year, they lost working-class voters by 13 points.
In 2018, Republicans had a 20-point advantage among white working-class voters; that margin was 35 points this year. In 2018, Democrats won non-White working-class voters by 57 points. This year, that margin shrank to 34 points.
Despite what you may have read or heard, Republicans did better this year than in 2018 among voters under the age of 30 (losing by just 12 points compared with 30 points in 2018); among suburban voters (winning this year by 6 points after being even in 2018); and among rural voters (winning by 29 points compared with 14 points in 2018).
The Republicans won among married men (by 20 points), married women (by 7 points) and unmarried men (by 10 points). They lost unmarried women by 37 points. That’s not an unusual phenomenon, but the intensity and size of the gap are striking and certainly suggest that unmarried women are rapidly becoming the core of the Democratic coalition.
Republicans turned out their voters in greater percentages than Democrats pretty much everywhere. Still, it is equally clear that there were some candidates for whom some Republican voters would not vote. The ticket-splitting was most obvious in Georgia, where eight statewide Republican candidates won their races by 5 to 10 percentage points while just one lost (ultimately by 3 percentage points).
Other state races, however, tracked the top of the ticket. That was especially true in New York, where Republicans performed particularly well. The strength at the top of the GOP ticket led by gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin produced significant momentum that trickled down the ballot and led to many cases where Republicans were able to flip longtime Democrat-held seats in both New York City and in suburban areas like Long Island. Before the election, a poll conducted by Siena showed that crime and the economy were two of the most important issues on the minds of New York voters. Not surprisingly, in the State Assembly districts that flipped, Republican ads focused on crime and the economy.
The successful messaging on these issues led to increased turnout that ultimately helped Republicans. There were more voters in suburban counties such as Nassau and Suffolk than in past elections (about 18,000 more than in 2018). Key areas of New York City also saw an increase in turnout.
Mr. Zeldin won Nassau County by 10 points and Suffolk County by 17 points, both improvements from the 2018 election. This momentum helped State Assembly and State Senate candidates; Republicans gained eight seats in the state Assembly (all in New York City and Long Island) and three state Senate seats as well. The results in deep blue New York suggest that Democrats may no longer be safe anywhere. The shift toward Republicans in New York may very well set the tone for future elections in other deep blue states such as Washington and California.
Finally, it is worth considering that if you had to pick a problem to have, it is probably easier to change candidates (what the Republicans need to do) than it is to shore up elements of your base (what the Democrats need to do).
• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, co-hosts “The Unregulated Podcast.” He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.