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Cal Thomas: A 'sure thing' election that wasn't

From the commentary: People who are happy or breathing easier because of the outcome of this election now own its consequences. Inflation, high gas and food prices, and an open border are likely to continue. Republicans have a lot of work to do to change voter attitudes. Maybe another two years of suffering will do it, assuming the country survives.

Editorial cartoon for Nov. 12, 2022
Editorial cartoonist Christopher Weyant draws on the failure of Donald Trump's red wave.<br/>
Christopher Weyant
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MIAMI — If Republicans could not score their "red wave" victories predicted by many pundits - and even some Democrats - in these midterm elections, what's next for them? All the issues were on their side — inflation, high gas and food prices, an open border, underperforming schools. If they couldn't win with this gale wind at their backs, on what issues can they prevail?

Cal Thomas commentary
Cal Thomas Commentary
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Summary: I once heard the late evangelist Rev. Billy Graham say America was not at a crossroads, but had traveled down the wrong road and needed to come back to the crossroads and take the right road. What if we can no longer agree on the right road and where the wrong road is leading us?
Summary: Donald Trump would do well to withdraw from the field and allow younger and less controversial candidates to replace him. His record of policy successes while president are undeniable (except for those in denial), but his narcissistic personality contributed to his loss. It is also contributing to the work of the January 6 committee. If that committee wishes to "bring us together," it will forgo recommendations of criminal prosecution and let voters decide, as they should and ultimately will, the future of Donald Trump.
Summary: When rhetoric gets heated, perhaps the best way to be heard is to speak in a tone Scripture attributes to God — "a still, small voice." As noted by the writer of Proverbs: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
Summary: Many viewers might want to know why Congress can't seem to fix any of the country's real problems. That perennial question is why increasing numbers of Americans have grown sour about Washington. They see members of Congress more interested in re-election, in their careers and in perks than in the people they are supposed to represent.

Voters in Pennsylvania elected John Fetterman, a hard-core leftist who believes, in the middle of a crime wave, that a lot of violent criminals should be released from prison, or not be incarcerated at all. They apparently didn't care about his inability to speak clearly due to a stroke.

One bright spot for Republicans came in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio had impressive nights. Both beat their opponents by nearly 20 points. DeSantis likely boosted his presidential prospects for 2024, despite what former President Donald Trump decides (Trump is likely to announce next week that he's running again).

Credit for such powerful victories goes mainly to the massive migration of voters from other states to Florida, and its exploding Hispanic communities. Democrats had erroneously hoped that Hispanics might vote for their candidates. It was the opposite. Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, which had been reliably Democratic for decades, flipped. DeSantis is the first Republican to win Miami-Dade in 20 years.

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In his victory speech Tuesday night, DeSantis electrified the crowd at his headquarters when he declared "Florida is where the woke agenda goes to die." He blamed that agenda for people leaving liberal states and coming to what he called "the promised land."

He said he kept his promises to voters when it came to COVID-19 and reopening schools and businesses. "Freedom's here to stay," he shouted to wild applause.

It could have been a speech launching a presidential campaign, which is likely to come later, depending on whether Trump's legal troubles affect his presidential prospects. DeSantis slammed "failed leadership in Washington."

Florida also demonstrated how to run an election. Florida has a "find my ballot" app that allows voters to track their ballots, like one can track a letter or package, or a checked bag on an airline. The software tells voters when their ballot arrives at the counting station, when it is opened and when it is counted. This process greatly enhances election integrity and faith that the outcome is legitimate, protecting against conspiracy theories. Florida should be the model for the nation. They've come a long way from "hanging chads" in the 2000 presidential election.

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When all votes are counted and if Republicans win a slim House majority (whether they win the Senate or not), they can still thwart much of the Biden administration's agenda. Will Democrats track toward the middle and embrace moderation, instead of wokeness? Will the left allow them?

The media, which is always there to support Democrats in defeat and cheer them in victory, is unlikely to change. Failure to lock up violent criminals is also likely to continue. That's because politicians whose policies have contributed to crime — such as winning Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York — are unlikely to do much to contain it since she is in denial about the problem.

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People who are happy or breathing easier because of the outcome of this election now own its consequences. Inflation, high gas and food prices, and an open border are likely to continue. Republicans have a lot of work to do to change voter attitudes. Maybe another two years of suffering will do it, assuming the country survives.

This Cal Thomas commentary is his opinion. He can be reached at cthomas@wctrib.com.

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