After their midterm debacle, a multitude of Republicans have stepped forward to roll out their entirely uninformed, often deluded, personal takes about what went wrong for the GOP.
Perennial Trump bootlicker Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina offered up theory that Republicans had gotten soft under the leadership of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Democrats have done a pretty good job of picking issues that motivate their base and that have wider support among the public,” Graham said, explaining his vote last month against McConnell for leader. “We need to be doing the same thing. I think a lot of people in the Republican Party don’t see us doing it as emphatically as Democrats.”
Then there's the pervasive GOP "single women are dumb" doctrine espoused by Fox News' Jesse Watters after the GOP's drubbing. Oh, and voters under 30 are dumb now too!
"There's a brainwashing pipeline that runs through women and children and it's starting to show up on Election Day," explained Watters.
But who needs all that garbage once you buy into the notion that it was all rigged?! Again!
"It’s All Rigged Like Pro Wrestling: If You Think Kari Lake, Dr. Oz and Herschel Walker Lost without a Rigged Election, You’re an Idiot. —Wayne Root," Kari Lake, Arizona's defeated GOP gubernatorial nominee, tweeted Thursday.
Man, three cycles in a row—that rig's like a well-oiled machine now.
Another specious explanation has also gained traction among some high-profile Republicans: GOP voters didn't turn out at the same rate as Democrats because they didn't utilize mail-in and early voting opportunities.
Someone—they're not exactly sure who—but someone seems to have sullied early voting among the GOP's ever-growing geriatric universe of supporters.
"Our voters need to vote early," Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel urged this week on Fox. "There were many in 2020 saying, don't vote by mail, don't vote early, and we have to stop that."
Hear that, “many”? Stop that malarkey right now, dagnabbit!
But here's the real shocker: Every one of the GOP’s knee jerk observations (being generous) is wrong, even the more plausible early-voting theory.
After crunching the numbers, The New York Times' Nate Cohn reports that GOP turnout was actually just fine, high even.
"In state after state, the final turnout data shows that registered Republicans turned out at a higher rate — and in some places a much higher rate — than registered Democrats, including in many of the states where Republicans were dealt some of their most embarrassing losses," Cohn writes.
Man, this is really gonna blow some GOP minds, but their candidates simply stunk so badly that many Republican and conservative-leaning voters cast ballots against the likes of Herschel Walker in Georgia and Blake Masters in Arizona while favoring other Republicans downballot.
Actually, it didn't take a brain surgeon to have some idea that a lot of GOP candidates simply underperformed. When incumbent Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp wins reelection by a comfortable 7-point margin with 53.4% of the vote but Walker can't break 50%, Walker is the problem, not the voters.
In fact, Georgia's runoff included only a week of early voting and its Election Day turnout surpassed that of the general election. Still, Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock prevailed by nearly 3 points, 51.4%-48.6%.
The Times found similar patterns at play in Arizona, where registered Republicans outnumbered Democrats by 9 points, yet incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly handily won reelection. Even the exceedingly less dynamic Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs eked out her bid for governor.
In Nevada, registered Republicans had a 10-point turnout advantage over registered Democrats in vote-rich Clark County, 67%-57%, strongly suggesting a statewide turnout edge for the GOP. Yet incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto won reelection even as voters narrowly sided with Republican Joe Lombardo for governor over incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.
The bottom line here given Cohn's analysis is that if all registered Republicans had voted GOP at the top of the ticket, Republicans wouldn't have lost so many critical statewide battleground races in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and perhaps other states.
The one caveat to that theorem is that Trumpism repelled independents this cycle, so it's a fair bet that Democrats defeated the Trumpier candidates (e.g., Masters in Arizona, Walker in Georgia, Laxalt in Nevada) at least in part due to a bigger boost from independents than one might expect in a more typical midterm cycle.
But one way or the other, Democrats' success this cycle was at least partly a function of persuasion, regardless of whether it was pro-Democrat or simply anti-Republican. Base turnout put Democrats in position to be competitive, but it was likely either independents or Republican defections that pushed Democratic candidates over the top in some of this cycle’s hardest-fought races.
That’s an important takeaway given that for years many Democrats have operated under the belief that base turnout alone is the key to Democratic success. Indeed, base turnout was essential this cycle, but without winning over some other voters, the Senate may have been gone.
But if that explanation all seems a little too complicated for holiday party banter, it’s probably easier to just say Trump singlehandedly rigged the election for Democrats. Just don’t tell the Republicans.
With the Republican Party gearing up to take the majority in the 2023 Congressional term, the disarray they have been experiencing the past six years is now at Keystone Cops-level hilarity. Markos and Kerry speak with Daily Kos Senior Staff Writer Joan McCarter. Joan covers the Congress day-in and day-out, and has done so for a decade. She gives Markos and Kerry an enjoyable blow-by-blow of the Republican mud wrestling match going on right now.