I guess the ghost of Hugo Chavez took the night off, and other takeaways from Tuesday's elections
Biden's unpopularity and Republicans' delicate dance with Trump contributed to a bad night for Democrats.
Pundits were prepared to declare Tuesday night a disaster for libs regardless of the outcome, but in the end it really was not a good night for Democrats.
Let’s unpack it.
The Democratic Party headed into Tuesday with a shot to win gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. But in Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe by more than two points in a race widely viewed as a bellwether for 2022. And in a big surprise, a New Jersey race that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was expected to win easily over Republican Jack Ciattarelli remains too close to call Wednesday morning. (Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report called the race for Murphy as I was writing this.)
As the results came in, analysts grappled for explanations. On CNN, Van Jones went as far as to chalk up Republicans’ big night to the fact that Democrats are just more annoying than they realize.
I think, however, a few more straightforward explanations can be offered.
Here we go.
Biden is very unpopular
It’s not something Dems want to hear, but it must be said — President Biden is very unpopular right now.
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Depending on which poll you look at, President Biden’s approval rating is currently somewhere in the low 40s, which means it has fallen about 10 points from earlier this year. Believe it or not, his approval numbers are now the lowest for any first-term president with the notable exception of Trump.
That was bad news for Democrats like McAuliffe and Murphy.