I’ve got to agree with Josh Marshall, that it’s a bad idea to watch television coverage on election nights.
If you’re into elections and want to watch results on election night you should never watch them on TV. Ever. If you were watching last night’s election on TV you probably had the sense the race was a close run thing with the lead bouncing back and forth, with Herschel Walker possibly mounting a comeback after weeks of coverage that made Raphael Warnock appear a favorite to win a full term. If you watched the results through my curated Twitter feed of election number crunchers, though, you saw something very different: from the very first returns it looked likely — and then with growing clarity — that the results would roughly bear out the polls, which showed Warnock with a modest but significant lead. The final results this morning show Warnock beating Walker by just shy of three percentage points, almost on the dot of what the consensus of polls predicted.
I decided I couldn’t deal with three hours of Steve Kornacki. I had the teevee tuned to to some crime drama thing, while I alternated between watching the good guys chase bad guys and checking the live feeds of commentary at the New York Times, Talking Points Memo, and other places. And by 8:30 Central Time the live feeds were saying “Warnock’s got this,” even though Walker was actually a bit ahead in the vote count at the time. A bit after 9 Central Time I happened to be looking at the vote totals on the WaPo page when it updated to show Warnock the projected winner. So then I knew it was safe to tune to MSNBC again. I don’t know if the people on CBS at that hour caught the bad guy, but I got to watch Rev. Warnock’s acceptance speech. Nice.
Still, it was damn close. Right now, with 99 percent of votes counted, it’s Warnock 51.4% and Walker 48.6%. Some commenters this morning are saying that a more “normal” Republican could have won, and I can’t argue. As atrocious a candidate as Walker was, he sure got a lot of votes.
If we want to be pessimistic about things, we can focus on the fact that Herschel Walker — an almost indescribably terrible candidate by all conventional metrics regarding qualifications, such as being able to read, knowing the difference between the House and the Senate, not coercing the women he was beating up into abortions etc. — got almost exactly the same percentage of the vote in the runoff (48.6%) as the two other most recent Republican senate candidates (Kelly Loeffler, 49%; David Perdue, 49.4%).
More optimistically, this was 2022 not 2020, and the other Republican statewide candidates for governor, attorney general, and secretary of state all got between 52% and 53% of the vote, suggesting strongly that Walker’s absurd buffoonery of a campaign cost the Republicans about 4% of the vote, i.e., a deplorably small but ultimately decisive margin. Note that these other candidates were standard issue reactionary middle aged white guys, who kept the MAGA rhetoric mostly tamped down, didn’t seem to be severely brain damaged, and didn’t have a long line of women claiming that they had forced them to have abortions after beating them up and so forth.
In the runoff election on January 5, 2021, Warnock beat Kelly Loeffler 51% to 49%. I hadn’t remembered this, but Loeffler was planning to challenge the election result. Then January 6 happened, and she changed her mind and conceded.
Republicans are pointing out that the midterm elections in Georgia were very good for Republicans except for the Senate race. And this was because not-MAGA Republicans won the primaries, and then the GOP nominees went on to win the general. I get a sense that the GOP is mightily pissed at Trump for pushing Walker into the primary. But I’m not sure that Georgia has become quite as purple as some excited Democratic commenters believe. It does point to a path for Republicans to stop kowtowing to Trump, however.
Former President Donald J. Trump hired people to search four properties after being directed by a federal judge to look harder for any classified material still in his possession, and they found at least two documents with classified markings inside a sealed box in one of the locations, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Mr. Trump’s search team discovered the documents at a federally run storage site in West Palm Beach, Fla., the person said, prompting his lawyers to notify the Justice Department about them.