OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Federalist’s editor-in-chief, Mollie Hemingway, gave her diagnosis for why Republicans did not win more House and Senate races during the midterm election cycle during an interview Thursday with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham.
Hemingway’s assessment that GOP leadership essentially failed to capitalize on a moment in time when President Joe Biden’s approval rating was underwater, and a vast majority of Americans believed that, under Democratic leadership, the country was headed in the wrong direction, came as many expected a “red wave” of Republican congressional victories.
“We really did see, given all of the enthusiasm in the country, that Republican leadership really failed Republican voters. Republican voters were excited. The — the ground was very fertile for a big Republican victory,” she began.
“Joe Biden’s approval was in the toilet. Seventy-five percent of the country thinks we’re going in the wrong direction. Just objectively speaking, things are bad in the country, whether it’s the southern border or crime or foreign policy, inflation,” Hemingway added.
“And that Republican leaders could not turn that into a big victory for Republicans is really an indictment for how they’re running things,” she continued.
Hemingway then noted that today, election cycles are carried out much differently than in the past, with extended voting periods before the actual Election Day.
“I could not agree more with your opening, where you talk about the importance of understanding that elections are not run anymore like they were in the 1980s. There is now an extensive period of voting where people who are smart are running get-out-the-vote operations every day, hauling in ballots every day,” the Federalist editor added.
“Republicans keep on thinking that election day is a single day, and they think if they get everybody excited for that last day that that will be sufficient. That’s not sufficient,” she said. “There needs to be an effective ground game that is on Republican leadership, and there’s only so much that everybody else can do with their enthusiasm and everything else.”
For his part, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that Republicans have a lot to “reassess” following what many believe was the party’s underwhelming performance this cycle, which, by the way, saw record voter turnout in most parts of the country.
“There were races we thought we were going to win that we didn’t, and there were people we didn’t think we’d lose that we did. I think for Republicans, this may be as big a time to reassess and look at things as it is for Democrats,” Gingrich told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday.
“Ron DeSantis got a huge boost and he is much more likely to run for president now. President Trump has to be looking at some of this and thinking about it because he worked very hard. He led a huge rally in Miami with Marco Rubio and Rick Scott two nights before the election, so he can take some credit,” Gingrich, a former Georgia Republican, added.
“But I think DeSantis is probably the biggest single winner of the night. That means he will be, for everybody who doesn’t want Trump, Ron DeSantis will now become far and away the leading alternative and the superstar,” he explained.
“I have to confess, I was up most of the evening with Kevin McCarthy looking at the data, talking to the analysts. There were a number of places where we thought we would do better than we did,” Gingrich continued.
“The Democratic message of fear worked far better than I thought it would, that is part of it. I think it is a despicable message from the president of the United States and I think Biden is the most divisive president in American history, but he and his staff have to be saying that all of those nasty speeches, all of those vicious attacks on Republicans, it worked,” he said.
“Honest Republicans have to stop, take a deep breath, look at the results and analyze them. We don’t know enough this morning to know exactly what happened. We had a lot of candidates who came very close, including some incumbents who lost by very narrow margins,” he added.
“That requires some rethinking on a lot of stuff, both the campaign consulting business, the polling business, and if some of the messages work. You have to admit that what the Democrats did work, they ran a very effective campaign of fear,” he concluded.