Two days after Election Day 2018, I wrote House Call: By the Numbers. In it, I laid out what was already known, as a matter of wins and losses, as to the House and the Senate. I laid out those indisputable facts with upper and lower bounds for the final results, based on the races that were not yet unequivocally won. Little, in the way of facts, has changed since that posting, and we will not have more indisputable facts until the beginning of December.
We cannot win when we insist on “the facts.” Facts, like politics, religious beliefs, and schools of scientific thought, are too deeply connected to all the things that we have learned, over the course of a lifetime, to include in our understanding, or filter out as irrelevant to the story we wish to tell.
Skim through the comments in any of the posts here at Ricochet, since 6 November 2018, and you will see the wisdom of this claim. Even when we are completely sincere, early reports (on which we hang our arguments) are almost always wrong. I think back to the wisdom of a family friend in the mid-1970s, an Army chaplain. He refused to read newspapers, nor would he subscribe to a weekly news magazine. Instead, he only paid for, and read, monthly publications. He explained that someone would inform him of an emergency, but all other information needed to be filtered through the lens of writers, who had the time and task, to gather all available information, and carefully digest it.
I took The Wilson Quarterly, from 1986 until it went out of print. It was far more valuable than the weekly news magazines, including several years of The Economist. Likewise, The Atlantic, before the leftists killed it and started wearing its skin, was a deeply informative monthly publication. The Claremont Review of Books is must reading, and provides much more insight than any daily publication, including the Wall Street Journal, to say nothing of The Washington Post. Indeed, we see an endless stream of corrections in the rush to get in front of viewers eyeballs first.
So, why must we wait until the beginning of December for more indisputable facts? Because the states’ secretaries of state will certify the elections between the end of November and beginning of December, in time for federal legislators to be seated at the beginning of January. In Arizona, the law requires:
16-648. Canvass for state offices, amendments and measures; postponement
A. On the fourth Monday following a general election, the secretary of state, in the presence of the governor and the attorney general, shall canvass all offices for which the nominees filed nominating petitions and papers with the secretary of state pursuant to section 16-311, subsection E. [emphasis added]
We are here because we like the political commentary game, so we surely are not going to let a few unsettled elections stop us. I wrote a whole series of essays, starting with Paul Ryan’s announcement of his retirement, without stepping aside to let someone with skin in the game lead the team through the midterms. In the past month, I repeatedly advocated a course of action to Martha McSally, to overcome what I saw as the heavy burden of recent Republican senatorial conduct. Roll Call has run a story giving nationwide credit to a Democrat super PAC. Our editor has offered 5 Reasons Why Sinema Won Arizona. Over at American Greatness, we get Arizona Illustrates the RINO Revenge. Pick your state and your pundit for similar results.
We don’t know jack right now. We don’t even know which party turned out their voters better, and we don’t know how Independents participated, relative to their voter registration rate. We will have that basic information, once all the votes are finally tallied. Nobody knows who voted for who, and we never really will. Instead, we will only have selected exit polls. It’s mostly noise and posturing at the moment.
There is a need to map out and start moving on long-term political strategy, to get inside the decision loop of the Democrats and stay there. I’ll start to post my view on this in a series of essays, starting tomorrow. I’m taking into account Jon Gabriel’s balanced observations about the Arizona Senate race. Hugh Hewitt’s Painting the Map Red and If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat are still worth consulting a decade on, along with Salena Zito’s reporting and Ricochet posts like “Women for Progress.” Axios just published a poll saying Americans hold each other in deep contempt. Take it all in, mull it over, and make your best argument for a viable path to bending the arc of history away from the left.