How Democrats Beat the Odds in the Midterms (with Molly Ball)
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Democrats defied expectations in this year’s midterm elections, maintaining control of the Senate and keeping the GOP from gaining ground in the House. Former U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro unpacks the midterm election results with Time magazine’s national political correspondent, Molly Ball. Just how much did issues like abortion, the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the economic crisis shape the results? Also, the two dive into what Congress’ legislative agenda may look like, and whether the GOP will alter its strategy following their midterm meltdown. Plus, Molly recounts being at Trump’s campaign announcement on Tuesday night.
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Check out these resources from today’s episode:
- Read Molly’s roundup of midterm results, “How Democrats Defied History in the Midterms—And What It Means for 2024”
- Read Molly’s dispatch from Donald Trump’s announcement of a 2024 presidential run, “A Defiant Donald Trump Enters the Arena for Another Fight”
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For additional resources, information, and a transcript of the episode, visit lemonadamedia.com/show/inthebubble.
Andy Slavitt, Molly Ball, Julian Castro
Julian Castro 00:18
Hello, and welcome to another episode of IN THE BUBBLE. The voice you’re hearing is not Andy Slavitt. I’m Julian Castro, and I am guest hosting today. I’m so excited to be guest hosting as well, because the last 10 days when it comes to politics and political news have been about the most eventful, exciting, intriguing for some folks heartbreaking for others, joyous 10 days that that you get in politics. And we’re lucky today because we have someone who knows politics, as well as anybody in our country, to discuss all of this with us, Molly Ball, who is the national political correspondent for Time, and a New York Times best-selling author, her book is called Pelosi. She’s joining us today, Molly, thanks for joining us, and especially right now, when there’s so much to talk about when it comes to political news with the elections with Trump’s announcement, which you were just at last night, by the way, I want to talk to you about that. Welcome to the show.
Molly Ball 01:30
Thank you so much for having me. Great to be here. Great to be with you. And yeah, plenty to discuss.
Julian Castro 01:37
So, look, you know, it seems like we shouldn’t even refer to election day as a day anymore. Because invariably, with each cycle, it seems to take longer and longer for the final verdict to come out in terms of which party won and how many seats and which states are going to go red or blue. But if you could just give us an update after a lot of the dust has settled with regard to who’s going to control the Senate and who might control the house. Where are we at right now?
Molly Ball 02:11
Yeah, well, as you mentioned, we’re speaking on Wednesday afternoon. And so it looks like Republicans have won the house. It’s been called by some independent organizations, not by the major networks. But it looks like Republicans are right on the brink of getting that 218 vote that will put them just barely in the majority in the House of Representatives. The Democrats held the Senate. We found that out a few days ago. And there is still one Senate race undecided that Georgia runoff that will occur in a few weeks between Senator Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker. But that is the 51st Senate seat for either party. So as we speak, right now, Democrats have 50 seats in the Senate, which gives them the majority with the Vice President’s tie breaking vote. The Republicans have 49. So they have a chance to get to 50. But that would not give them the majority. So the Democrats have held on to the Senate, which I think is fair to say is pretty exciting. If you’re a Democrat, I a lot better than a lot of people thought that they would do.
Julian Castro 03:14
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, coming into this election, the entire narrative was how bad things were going to be. The Washington Post put together a clip of folks on Fox News talking about a red wave, red wave radio, red wave every now and then they throw in red tsunami instead, I guess, to make it seem like it was going to be even worse than a wave. But look, they had history on their side. Right? I think there had only been two cycles in the last century where the party of the president in power did not lose seats in the midterm. And the head scratching that’s going on right now is really okay. Well, why was this time different? Why do you think it was different? And what do you think actually motivated voters to go in the opposite direction from what they were expected to do?
Molly Ball 04:05
Yeah, it’s a great question. And I think it’s worth going back to a little bit of politics one on one to talk about why we have that historical expectation, right? These are not the thermonuclear laws of physics, right? This isn’t gravity that makes the president’s party tend to lose seats. In the midterm elections. It’s the fact that whoever’s in charge gets blamed for how things are so whatever’s gone wrong. Since the President is elected, he tends to get blamed for and voters use the midterm elections to send that message of backlash. And inevitably, there’s something in this case, there’s a lot right, the President is extremely unpopular. The economy is pretty bad, according to most voters perception. Those are the two biggest drivers usually of how the party in power does in the midterms. But those two times in recent history that this rule has not applied. Were 2002 and 1998. And in both of those cases, you had some kind of extraordinary circumstance in 2002, George W. Bush was president and 9/11 had just happened. So there was a rally around the flag effect, a desire to actually give a bigger mandate to the President’s party to show that sort of patriotic support for the government. That was currently in place. In 1998, it was Bill Clinton who just been impeached by the Republican House and what a lot of voters saw as an overreach and, again, sort of decided to rally around the sitting President instead of instead of delivering that backlash against him. So in this election cycle, we also had that kind of an extraordinary circumstance. And I think, number one, you had the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Right? That was something that voters saw correctly as the product of Republican governance. It was Donald Trump most recently, and Republicans in the long term who have seated those conservative Supreme Court justices, in many cases in order to achieve this result, right. A lot of the conservatives in the pro-life movement wanted this to happen. They got their wish voters didn’t like it. And so there was a backlash not only against Republicans in this election against Democrats in this election, but against Republicans for having engineered that outcome. And then lastly, you know, a lot of the candidates who lost were supported by Trump and or were election deniers and had various other extreme and nutty and reality defying positions. And they seem to have gotten the most harsh verdict from voters in this election year, a number of cases where voters flipped their tickets and said, well, you know, say look at Nevada, where the Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo, who was perceived as more moderate and not as Trumpy was able to defeat the sitting Democratic governor. But the sitting Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto prevailed over her opponent who was a Trumpy election denier. So those I think are the are the factors that sort of mitigated against that that normal historical pattern?
Julian Castro 07:02
Well, you did a great job of laying out sort of the terrain there the political terrain that Republicans and Democrats were dealing with, going into the election, there was a lot of prognosticating about the difference that the issue of abortion might make, versus Biden’s student loan debt action with young voters versus the extremism of Republican candidates. What I seem to hear you saying is, look, it was a combination of all of those things that came together to create sort of this perfect storm for Democrats.
Molly Ball 07:39
It was sort of the you had the two parties, making different arguments to voters about what the election was even about. So instead of I think a lot of times you have an election where it’s very clear that say the economy is the number one issue, and it’s one party says has this philosophy, this ideology, this set of proposals on the economy, the other party has the other and they’re and they’re arguing less about what’s important than about what approach to take to it. In this election, it was much more the different parties are making different arguments for what ought to be the salient issue, what ought to be the most important issue. So you had Republicans hammering, particularly on the economy and crime. And Democrats making an argument that as important as those things might be, and as much as Democrats, of course, would argue that their approach to those things is correct. making the argument that these other issues were of overriding importance that no matter how you might feel about how crappy the economy is, or how much you know, gas prices are hurting your pocketbook. None of that matters if American democracy has ceased to exist, right? Or none of that matters if women don’t have bodily autonomy, and then the right to choose. And we saw that some substantial number of voters seem to find those arguments persuasive. But in general, you know, Democrats benefited from very strong turnout in this election. If you look at the historical trend of midterms, and I think this is something that a lot of people have sort of missed. Midterm turnout, historically, is way below presidential year turnout. A lot of people who voted presidential elections and two years later just sort of can’t be bothered, doesn’t seem as important isn’t as big a deal. And that changed in 2018. And I really think this is a function of how the Trump era sort of permanently changed our politics. We saw in 2018 turnout hit really a historically unprecedented level 100 year highs. So going back to before women even had the right to vote. This was the 2018 was historical high midterm turnout. If it were the case that that was just a you know, a Trump thing and what would stop happening with Trump no longer in office, we might have expected to see disproportionate Republican turnout in the 2022 midterm. Instead, we saw a pretty strong turnout for both parties seems like it’s going to not exceed but nearly match that 2018 level. And that suggests to me that that maybe the game has changed forever, right? Maybe you have a sort of activated electorate that is now as aware of midterm elections as they are a presidential elections and wants to go out and vote every two years. And that really changes the game, I think, for the Democratic coalition in particular. But for both parties, if you’re fighting, you know, this midterm campaign, on the basis of a lot more people you can count on to come out and vote that that’s just a different terrain than we have been used to in midterms.
Julian Castro 10:38
The point that you make, especially about the Democratic coalition, well, the knock on the Democratic coalition was their folks especially are the ones that don’t show up in midterms. So you start with a big disadvantage. The more that those numbers that that turnout looks like a presidential year, one would think that that probably will disproportionately benefit Democrats. Although I mean, in the 2020 election, Donald Trump was good at getting out some low propensity Republican voters, and so they have the opportunity to do that as well. I want to just ask you about a couple of the contests that I think captured national attention. The Senate races especially, what did you make, in the end of John Fetterman’s race against Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania, he led for most of the way, but then, of course, it got close at the end. You know, sod there was at the end of the campaign, there were some that were second guessing the approach that the federal campaign took, and with participating in a debate after he had suffered a stroke. I found it interesting that there were there was some reporting that suggests that it may actually have helped him because people said, Here’s somebody that got up there on stage, even though he was facing this health hardship. What did you make of what Democrats could take from his victory out there in Pennsylvania?
Molly Ball 12:04
Yeah, as you mentioned, there was definitely a lot of second guessing of that decision by now, Senator elect Fetterman to participate in that debate. And it does seem to be a decision that was vindicated, given that he performed quite well. It wasn’t even all that close. In the end, he won, I think, by about five points. And I think you can draw a couple of things from that. Did the debate help him, maybe? There’s certainly some suggestion that there could have been sort of a sympathy vote, or that his opponent Dr. Oz, as poorly as Fetterman was seemed to have performed in the debate. That also didn’t come off particularly well. But particularly for someone whose background was as a television star. Some people may have found him off putting he gave him an answer on abortion, that was immediately clipped and put into a whole lot. I believe the technical term is a gazillion campaign and..
Julian Castro 13:01
This was where he said that women, their doctors, I think local political leaders should be involved in the decision.
Molly Ball 13:08
That’s right. And this was I think him clumsily trying to articulate a point that a lot of Republicans have made in claiming that you know, the in by overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court was not outlawing abortion, but returning the decision to the states where some conservatives argue it belongs. So he’s trying to say, you know, this isn’t a decision that the federal government should make, and therefore, that lets me off the hook as the United States Senator, because I don’t believe the Senate ought to be making that decision. I think it’s states and or localities, local governments, that should be deciding on the rules for abortion in their areas, no matter what he meant. I think it’s pretty clear from the results of this election, that that is not a position that the majority of American voters support, you know, Roe v. Wade had been the law of the land for 50 years. And for most of that time, if abortion was an issue that Republicans thought benefited them, because they were sort of on the losing side of that decision, right, the pro-life movement, they were the ones who were energized and hungry and galvanized to try to change the status quo. What I think we learned from this election cycle is that the energy and the support on abortion is very strongly on the Democrat side. Now, we didn’t know that before we know it. Now. We saw it, you know, as early as over the summer in Kansas, and then it was really dramatically confirmed by the midterms where you know, every state that had an abortion ballot initiative, the abortion rights side one, I think it’s really I have no idea I have no prediction. But you know, it’s a really open question going forward. What role this this question is going to play in American political life? Are you going to have abortion continued to be a driving and motivating issue for Democrats particularly in red states where I think, you know, Have a lot of Republicans will probably continue to try to restrict abortion. So does it continue to be as much of a live wire? Or do we see it sort of sort of die down and fade into the background as issues often do when they become sort of just a part of the partisan dialogue? So that’s something to watch.
Julian Castro 15:19
You absolutely. No doubt, it seems like there was a lot more fervor on that issue on the Democratic side, and understandably so because roe that it stood, as you said, for 50 years gets overturned, and you’re taking away a fundamental right, of half the population. I want to ask you about one other race. You wrote about two weeks before the election, article for time, entitled, The fight for Latino voters in Nevada, is the future of American politics. And I enjoyed reading the article very much because you start off writing about an exchange between the now reelected, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, and an immigration advocate and the frustration that the immigrant some of the immigration advocates felt about not seeing enough progress on immigration and so forth. And that that was presenting really a challenge and a tricky situation for Democrats in the state, among other issues. How do you read what happened there in Nevada, now that we have the benefit of hindsight?
Molly Ball 16:45
Look, I think Democrats still have a problem with Hispanic voters, I they did not see a lot of further erosion in this election, but they also do not see a lot of gains. And I think that this is clearly a demographic group that is in play as it has not been in the past. And I do think one of the reasons is that Democrats have not kept their promises on immigration to this part of the electorate and for and, you know, I’ve been covering the immigration issue for more than a decade. And, as you know, as well, you know, Democrats message to a lot of Hispanic voters for many, many years has been, you can’t vote for the Republicans because they are against immigrants. But then, you know, cycle after cycle after cycle. The Democrats don’t do anything to change that situation. So you had, you know, Republicans campaigning very hard for Latino voters, I don’t think that’s going to change going forward, I think we’re going to continue to see both sides fight for this. And that’s a good thing. I think politically, it’s always good. When both sides are campaigning for nobody’s taking for granted the Latino vote or any other part of the electorate. And you know, what I heard from a lot of Latinos who had become disenchanted with the Democratic Party, was that they, they felt taken for granted. Or they, you know, were really bearing the brunt of a lot of these quality of life concerns. You know, in Nevada, in particular, gas prices are more than $1 above the national average, the COVID closures hit that state, especially hard given how dependent it is on travel and tourism, housing prices have gone through the roof. And so these are these are not problems that are going away for the Democrats. And I think, you know, if Democrats are going to look at this election and say, well, we did everything right, we won. That’s that, I don’t think that should be the takeaway, I think, you know, in traveling the country and talking to a lot of voters and candidates and others involved in this election, I definitely did not come away with the sense that people are super thrilled with democratic governance and the Biden administration and everything that they’re doing. It was more it was more a lesser of two evils election. And so if Democrats want to take this as a mandate that I think that’d be a mistake.
Julian Castro 19:03
Before I asked you about the next election cycle already. What are you waiting for? I know, right? I mean, never adds one more question about the 2022 cycle. Who who’s the rising star out of this cycle?
Molly Ball 19:19
A lot of the candidates that Republicans sighs rising stars didn’t make it. Carrie lake was someone who got a lot of buzz, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Arizona, she was really being plugged as the future of the MAGA movement and then guess what, she lost. So I think that’s gonna put a damper on the carry like presidential buzz if there was any. But on the Republican side, I don’t think it’s news to anyone that he exists and or has national potential but Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida who was sort of the bright spot for Republicans and an otherwise underwhelming in a political landscape, and now, we’re gonna talk about 2024 looks like, you know, he could be poised to challenge Trump. On the Democratic side. It’s interesting because, you know, nobody wants to push President Biden off the ticket, particularly now that you know, he looks like a winner. But there is a fair amount of angst in the Democratic gut over the elderly and unpopular president and whether and how he should seek reelection. And so you did see some Democrats pointing out there sort of bright spots in the political landscape as potential future contenders. I think there’s some buzz about Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan, where Democrats you know, had with the help of an abortion rights ballot initiative, swept the ticket, retook the state legislature and with a lot of people did not think was possible, John Fetterman, who we’ve talked about someone who a lot of Democrats are really swooning for and are really excited to see in the Senate see what he does going forward. Jared Polis from my home state of Colorado, another governor, who was able to perform extremely well, in you know, a lot of people sort of draw the parallel to DeSantis with him, because this is a state that was a purple reddish state in not that long ago, at least, within my lifetime when I was growing up there. And now it really looks like a blue state and that poll has been very popular and is perceived as having really been part of pushing the state in that direction. So those are a few that I think people are going to be keeping their eye on going forward.
Julian Castro 21:37
It will be fascinating to see what happens, of course, in the months and years to come. Last night at Mar a Lago, Donald Trump announced that he is running for election again, give us a sense of the room, compare this speech and the setting to other events of his that you covered before, what was the vibe?
Molly Ball 21:59
You know, there was some drama around the announcement itself. I saw him a few days before the election at a rally in Miami where he was teasing this announcement. And his advisors actually had to talk him out of making the announcement right before the midterms, where you know, he was hoping to take credit in advance for what he expected, was going to be a big election for Republicans. The fact that it wasn’t and the fact that many Republicans immediately started pointing the finger at Trump for why it wasn’t a better cycle for Republicans really sort of put him in a jam. But he having teased this announcement, I think, didn’t feel that he could back down or postpone or anything like that, because that would have made him look even weaker. The content of the speech overlapped a lot with the speeches that that I’ve heard him give at his recent rallies. A lot of people are surprised that his speeches go on that long. But that is that’s nothing new for Trump. But in fact, I can’t remember a time going back to 2016. Where he’s clocked in at less than an hour, there was nothing about Letitia James, there was nothing about the DOJ there was nothing about Ron DeSantis there or his other potential rivals, and that I think, was clearly deliberate on the part of his advisers and his staff. If he gives a speech where he doesn’t attack absolutely anyone and everyone in his path, people say, Well, that was boring, you know, where’s the trumpet that we came for? who’s always attacking everyone? That’s sort of part of the show that people count on with him. But on the other hand, before he could do that, you know, it sort of reminds people of everything that a lot of even I think Republicans are tired of about Trump, the constant conflict, the constant fighting the constant attacking his own party, you know, Republicans are sort of licking their wounds right now. They want to believe that there’s a future in which they can win elections again. And so if they’re just being reminded of how divisive the leader of their party is over and over again, I think that might have hit the wrong note, but it does mean that Trump is sort of trapped in this situation where, you know, if he tries to be presidential, he comes off to some people as boring.
Julian Castro 24:22
Yeah, you know, I had a chance to watch the speech on TV and it did seem flatter than normal. It was also striking that his family was not surrounding him. I think Ivanka did not attend last night. It just didn’t seem to have the kind of energy level or everybody remembers him labeling Jeb Bush, low energy. You know, I always hate it when people just use the same spirit. That’s what it reminded me. It just didn’t seem to have the same energy level to it. And so it’ll be interesting to see how he does in this cycle if he if he indeed goes through with the For campaign, what do you make of the pre bottle that the Biden or Joe Biden his political end of it, not the administration, but they put out a Donald Trump failed America video on Twitter. And I think the day before they put out a comparison that basically looked at Donald Trump talking about infrastructure, we’re talking about getting infrastructure done. And the video of Joe Biden actually signing the legislation on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. So clearly, Biden and his team are taking aim at Trump. What does that tell you about how things are shaping up for 2024?
Molly Ball 25:45
Well, I think as you just said, it shows you that this administration clearly believes they benefit from the contrast with Trump in particular. And, you know, had he not just announced his presidential campaign where he’s not out there still, you know, raising money and holding rallies and being as involved as he is, I think they might be accused of being stuck in the past, right and continuing to blame their predecessor. But it’s not the Biden administration, that’s putting Trump squarely in the middle of our political discourse, right? It’s Trump himself. And so I think it’s perfectly fair for them to say, like, here’s why, you know, we want to remind you of this contrast with Trump, you know, it’s it, you can’t really overestimate how unusual it is. The degree to which Trump was a factor in this election in which he was not on any ballot anywhere, and wasn’t even, you know, in the White House to sort of be psychically on the ballot in the way that a president usually is in a midterm year. And yet, you know, he took a very active role in this campaign. He insisted on, you know, personally making endorsements, many of which were decisive in a lot of these races, many of which were candidates that gave you know, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican establishment heartburn, and it turns out for good reason. So Trump was it was a driving force in this election and voters noticed it’s it again, it’s so unusual that in a lot of these exit polls in individual states, you had upwards of a quarter of the electorate saying that the principal reason for their vote was to cast a vote against Trump, Trump the you know, sort of ex-president and exile off there in his, you know, winter white house in Mar a Lago. He’s still the reason that people are coming out to vote, and it’s to vote against him more people, I believe, I’d have to double check more people are voting against Trump than against Biden in some of these places. So that’s pretty remarkable. And that’s clearly a political asset for the White House for Joe Biden, to be able to remind voters you know, as bad as you might think things are, as disappointed as you might be in this president. Don’t forget what came before and what could come again, what could come next, if Biden doesn’t prevail?
Julian Castro 28:20
You’ve had a number of Republican figures since the midterm elections last week, come out and say, look, we need to move beyond Trump. We need to put him in the rearview mirror. folks like Governor Hogan from Maryland, a number of other people that were never really on board with Trump, but a couple that were you had, I believe, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, who used to be a Trump backer and supporter who was said, I couldn’t do that again. Do you think that the Republican Party, especially the base of the Republican Party can quit Trump?
Molly Ball 29:00
Anything’s possible. I wouldn’t hold my breath. But we’ll see. That’s what we’re going to find out. And that’s what Trump is, is really going to find out over the course of this campaign. You know, by getting in first you sort of put a stake in the ground, and now anybody else who gets in has to be measured against him. In that sense, he has made himself sort of the point of comparison for anyone else who might want to run they now have to make a case for why they not only think that they could leave the country but why they would be a better leader for the Republican Party than the man who, you know, the majority of Republicans still like and support in a lot of respects. As you mentioned, a lot of previously enthusiastic Trump backers are now starting to come out of the woodwork and oppose him. conservative media, we see a lot of voices who were previously Trump supportive, you know, coming out and arguing that it’s time to consign him to The past that is a significant development. It’s a tough moment for Trump. He’s had these moments repeatedly over the course of his interesting and now multi-year political career where and so I think at this point, nobody wants to be out there saying, Well, this is it for Donald Trump, because we all remember the many times when he was supposed to have done something disqualifying. And it turned out that the people who love and support him, just rally to his side. So nobody wants to predict that the wheels are falling off, and it’s all over. But it does look like a vulnerable moment for Trump. And if there were ever a time when the Republican base might be prepared to go somewhere else, kind of looks like this is it. But then again, like I said, he’s still the only one in the field.
Julian Castro 30:51
Last night, when Trump made his announcement, several the network’s did not cover it. And Fox News broke away from it, mid speech, and a lot of folks today are saying, well, maybe news media have learned their lesson from 2016. And perhaps from 2020. I don’t know where you fall in all of that assessment in general, being a journalist yourself and having covered all of these political figures from Trump and Hillary to Trump and Biden. And now, Trump’s launch last night. Do you think that media will handle a Trump 2024 campaign differently? And if so? How?
Molly Ball 31:39
Well, I’ll put my bias is on the table. I disagree with almost all criticism of the media. I think we do almost everything right. And most of the criticism is unfair and wrong. And I don’t think that Trump won in 2016. Because the media paid, quote, too much attention to him. And I think it would have been crazy for the media, you know, just not to cover Trump announcing a presidential campaign last night. And of course, nobody actually didn’t cover take note of it. But I you know, it is significant that, as you say, the major broadcast networks did not take the speech live at all. You know, he did the speech at 9pm, for a reason that’s primetime. And so it’s quite a snub for the network’s to say, yeah, you were president, and this is primetime. But we’re not going to air your speech. And then for Fox News, specifically, because the cable networks did take the beginning of the speech, or at least I believe Fox and CNN did, and then ended up cutting away from it. That 9pm hour is Sean Hannity show. So this is now we’re not talking about, you know, the, the mainstream media that is trying to be fair and nonpartisan. We’re talking about the partisan media, the opinion media. And so you know, for Hannity has been a very stalwart Trump ally and defender to decide that, you know, his viewers weren’t getting anything from continuing to watch this sort of long, low energy, boring speech, that is potentially a significant development, not for what it says about, quote, unquote, the media, but for what it says about how the sort of conservative opinion makers may be ready to move on from Trump.
Julian Castro 33:18
Last question of your journalist, you talk to people and hear them out for a living, and then try and make sense of all of that in the realm of politics. I mean, we’ve just been through one of the most unique periods in the history of our country, the history of the world these last three years, with COVID, with recession with the polarization, the elections, everything that’s come with that. If somebody were writing about this time period, in politics, and how things are changing how things were changing in 50 years, 100 years, what do you think they would write about this time period that has distinguished it?
Molly Ball 34:03
You know, I always like to take a step back and try to take the high altitude view. But for all we know, that historians in 50 years will be robots, or I don’t know.. But just to say, you know, the verdict of history is not necessarily any better than the than the one that we come up with in the moment. But look, it feels I but I think you’ve hit on something really important, which is it does feel like sort of a hinge moment in our history. And what I am this conversation that I’ve been having with a lot of people from sort of rank and file voters to my sources to just sort of, you know, friends and neighbors since the election, was it does feel like there’s this sort of, I don’t know, sort of a cosmic sorting out going on a market correction, if you will, right. You see what’s going on with Twitter and with crypto and you know, the Russian Army retreating. All of these things swirling around seemed to suggest that even to a greater degree than in 2020, when certainly for a lot of liberals, it was cathartic to see Donald Trump driven out of office, but it didn’t feel final, in part because Trump refused to leave and then, you know, incited an insurrection. And but also, you know, COVID was still going on, a lot of people hadn’t sort of resumed their regular lives, we didn’t have the vaccine yet. And so, with this election being over, and with all of these other things happening at once, I think for a lot of people, it does feel like we’re sort of closing a chapter, returning to a sense of almost normal politics. I hate to say such a thing. It seems like a potential Jinx. But, you know, a lot of the sort of laws of gravity returned in this election people. American voters said no to craziness and extremism and denial of reality. They put in a vote of confidence for American democracy and sort of stability and a lot of ways for the status quo, which I think is interesting, right, a lot of a lot of incumbents, one on both sides of the aisle. And a lot of the backlash that that voters registered was to destabilization and change and things in their lives. BHB you know, the sense of upheaval that I think so many people have felt for so many years. And I think the Supreme Court was a part of that too, where people just, you know, I I’ve been hearing voters say for so many years that the particularly on the left like that abortion wasn’t a voting issue, because the nothing needed to change. And so when something changes in a way that people find destabilizing, they go back and they vote for the status quo. And one of the things that I’m really interested in going forward is, is there a political voice for the status quo?
Julian Castro 36:54
No, absolutely. And if time of so much change, you’re right, I mean, does there come a time when folks take a breath and say, oh, you know, we want this return to normalcy, or we want things somehow to stay the same. Something tells me with a character like Trump out there, beating the drum for his candidacy that anything but chaos is going to be hard to avoid in our politics over the next couple of years. But thank you, Molly, for joining us and giving us the lowdown on the 2022 midterms. looking backward and also 2024. Looking forward. Take care.
Molly Ball 37:35
Never a dull moment in my business. Thank you so much for having me. This is really fun.
Thanks for listening to IN THE BUBBLE. We’re a production of Lemonada Media. Kathryn Barnes, Jackie Harris and Kyle Shiely produced our show, and they’re great. Our mix is by Noah Smith and James Barber, and they’re great, too. Steve Nelson is the vice president of the weekly content, and he’s okay, too. And of course, the ultimate bosses, Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs, they executive produced the show, we love them dearly. Our theme was composed by Dan Molad and Oliver Hill, with additional music by Ivan Kuraev. You can find out more about our show on social media at @LemonadaMedia where you’ll also get the transcript of the show. And you can find me at @ASlavitt on Twitter. If you like what you heard today, why don’t you tell your friends to listen as well, and get them to write a review. Thanks so much, talk to you next time.