The midterm election turned out to be a referendum — just not on President Biden and the Democrats. How else to explain the mismatch between two crucial numbers: Biden’s approval rating is the lowest for any president at this point in a term, and the public’s view of the economy is in the dumps. When times seem bad — Bill Clinton in 1994, Barack Obama in 2012, Donald Trump in 2018 — the party in the White House usually gets a shellacking. But this time, the Democrats seem to have had the best showing of any party in that position since 9/11 shored up the Republicans in 2002.

Fareed Zakaria Washington Post

So, what was the vote about (or, rather, against)? It’s difficult to be sure, because exit polls are hopelessly skewed and unreliable. But it does seem likely to have been about two things: abortion and, more broadly, Trump. Voters did turn out in large numbers to vote on five state initiatives, in all favored liberal attitudes on abortion, even in dark-red Montana. Gov. Ron DeSantis’s effort to find a compromise by allowing abortions in Florida for the first 15 weeks appears to have allowed him to escape any punishment on the issue. And only in places where abortion rights were totally secure, such as New York state, did the election seem to turn to factors such as the economy and crime. And as Nate Cohn explained on the New York Times’s Daily podcast, wherever threats to democracy (in the form of Trumpist “Stop the Steal” candidates) or abortion were up for vote, Democrats excelled.

Read the full opinion at The Washington Post.

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Fareed Zakaria
2022-11-14 13:00:56
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