‘For every eight votes cast against Biden, all but one [were] negated by a vote cast against Trump.’
Midterm elections normally serve as referendums on incumbent presidents—to whom voters seldom give the benefit of the doubt, and whose parties almost always lose substantial numbers of seats in the House of Representatives and often the Senate, as well.
So, what happened? A pair of numbers leaps out of the exit polling: 32 percent of voters said that they cast their House vote to “oppose” President Joe Biden, while 28 percent said they cast their House vote to “oppose” former President Donald Trump. In other words, for every eight votes cast against Biden, all but one [were] negated by a vote cast against Trump. This is surely unprecedented in a midterm election. It’s nearly impossible to imagine a previous midterm in which almost as many people voted against the loser of the previous presidential contest as voted against the winner. How many people, for example, bothered to vote against Richard Nixon in 1962, Jimmy Carter in 1982, George H. W. Bush in 1994, or even Hillary Clinton in 2018?
Jeffrey H. Anderson is president of the American Main Street Initiative, a think tank for everyday Americans. He served as director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2017 to 2021. Adapted from City Journal.
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