As Republicans took a radical turn, Democrats learned to talk to normal people again.

by Austin Ahlman, The American Prospect

At about 9:30 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, November 8th, practically every political writer in America began collectively shredding their prewritten election analysis. With few exceptions, national political journalists, including this article’s author, had already sorted out their takes on why Democrats had fallen short.

They were too beholden to the progressive left, perhaps, to recognize how worried voters were about crime. Or too wrapped up with high-minded talk about saving democracy to connect with voters struggling to make ends meet. Maybe Democrats were victims of circumstance, destined to be caught holding the bag as the COVID-19 crisis snowballed into a global economic slump. Conversely, might the problem really have been that they had failed to seize their window of opportunity to make the transformative change this political moment required? (As you might imagine, I fell into the latter camp.)

John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for US Senate rallies for a packed crowed of supporters at Montgomery County Community College.

But as results from key races started to flow in, something strange began to happen: Democratic candidates started winning. Over the course of the next few hours and days, those wins kept coming. And while, at the time of this writing, it appears Democrats will lose the lower chamber of Congress by a slim margin, there is little doubt that Democrats defied history this cycle with their performance.

Democrats gained governing trifectas in Minnesota, Michigan, Maryland, and Massachusetts by flipping a number of state legislative chambers, and electing or re-electing Democratic governors. That success extended to Pennsylvania and Arizona, where Josh Shapiro and Katie Hobbs bested rising MAGA stars Doug Mastriano and Kari Lake—though Democrats’ one notable exception was moderate Nevada governor Steve Sisolak’s loss to right-wing populist Joe Lombardo. Democrats even gained one Senate seat, which will hold if Sen. Raphael Warnock defeats Herschel Walker in a December 6 runoff in Georgia. And perhaps most crucial in the battle to protect democratic institutions, the party swept virtually every critical contest for secretary of state.

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