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Letters to the Herald

No “red wave”; don’t blame Donald Trump


The results of the midterm election surprised most of us. Since the 1940s, midterm elections following most presidents’ first term, have resulted in a sizable loss of congressional seats.

For Democrats, beginning with the first midterm election following Harry S.Truman’s becoming president, he and the five Democrats who followed had an average loss of 38 House and five Senate seats. (The American Presidency Project; U.C. Santa Barbara).

Even Donald Trump lost 40 House seats in 2018, though two Senate seats were added.

The reaction of surprise has been accompanied by the questions: What happened? What’s different?

The most common conclusion or blame appears to be “Donald Trump.” But don’t blame him. Donald Trump was not on the ballot.

More than 250 candidates running for offices around the country were endorsed by Donald Trump. Many made their own decision to follow the MAGA talking points and subscribed to “the Big Lie,” of a “stolen election.” Not a shred of evidence, nor 60 failed post-election lawsuits supported that claim. Donald Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 and 2020 by 2.9 million, and 7.1 million. That apparently was not considered. The Jan. 6 event at the Capitol, telecast to millions of homes, is a stark memory for all.

On the campaign trail, polls regarding voters’ priorities showed “the future of our democracy” moving towards the top. A NYTimes/Sienna poll found only 18% of Democrats and 36% of Republicans said they would be very comfortable voting for a candidate who said the election was stolen.

Similar responses appeared in other polls including CNN, NCR/Ipsos, and NBC News. In a Pew Research Poll, “The future of Democracy,” came in second of 18 priorities, more important to Republicans at 80%, than Democrats at 70%, likely an awkward position for a candidate running on MAGA talking points.

Candidates make a decision to run. They decide what their platform will be. They campaign on that platform. Should the platform be someone else’s doesn’t matter to the voter. The box on the ballot checked, (or not checked), was next to the candidate’s name. In November 2022, that name did not belong to Donald Trump.

Terry Hueneke, New Hope