Originally posted at Substack
Completing, let alone winning, a marathon course of 26.2 miles in less than 3 hours is an impressive feat. Yet in 1980, Rosie Ruiz got on a subway, disembarked one mile from the finish line and reentered the field. Rosie won the women’s division with an impressive time of 2:31:56 and snatched victory from 448 female runners. Collapsing from exhaustion Rosie donned an olive leaf wreath and accepted a medal she didn’t earn. Eight days later race officials realized Ruiz cheated and awarded Jacqueline Garneau of Canada the coveted prize.
Elections are like marathons, and since the inception of this great nation, there have been champion runners elected to office race spectators considered “historic.” Great political figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and John Kennedy. But as of 2020, every political icon having run or won an electoral race pale in comparison to the most historic record breaker of all time, President Joseph Robinette Biden.
Despite barely drawing a crowd of more than 100 fans to the side lines or breaking a sweat, in 2020 Joe managed to pull ahead of the pack and receive more votes than his superstar teammate, the Usain Bolt of American politics, aka Barack Obama. In fact, in the 2020 race it appeared as if Joe achieved the fastest time on record, beating his competitors by clocking in at 81,284,000 votes, more than any elected president in the history of the republic.
Now two years later, during the 2022 midterm election, Joe’s party did it again when they beat their best time and sailed to the finish line on an electoral wind, once again making history.
Although the party Joe represents appeared poised to receive a point-to-point smackdown from the voice of the people, somehow, it never happened. Joe’s performance over the last two years apparently provided runners a map of the course which served to usher in another last-minute Democrat win. Sort of like Rosie Ruiz without a train.
Based on the president’s performance or lack thereof, historically, the Constitution guarantees midterm elections allow voters to correct a wayward president’s course. Every two years the party in power gets course correction at the polls. But this year it was different. Despite Joe’s approval rating being in the garbage can, for the first time since the dawn of modern polling, a flailing midterm president’s shoddy reputation crossed the finish line in first place.
Based on prerace predictions, this year’s midterm outcomes challenge the rational mind. Here’s why,
The results by state only add to the uncommon picture. In our era of increasingly nationalized elections, trends in one part of the country tend to play out in others as well. Instead, this year we saw a split: Republicans fared exceptionally well in some states, including Florida and New York. In others, like Michigan or Pennsylvania, Democrats excelled.
A comparison between New York and Pennsylvania is illustrative. The state’s share a border — if you drive across the state line, things look about the same. Yet their election results look as if they’re from different universes.
It’s odd because, all four, much more popular presidents who preceded Mr. Biden had similarly low approval ratings. All four, including a very popular Obama, suffered crushing reprovals, which delivered corrective victories for the opposing party. But not this time, not for Joe. If American voters didn’t know better one would think that in anticipation of a red wave, Joe’s representatives employed a shuttle to front of the pack and entered the race one mile from the finish line.
How did this happen? If the 2022 midterms were Rosie’s marathon, beforehand she would have calculated train speed and which stations were safe for the train to slow down vs which stations required faster travel time to ensure she entered the race in time to cross the finish line first.
Then again, the motivating impact of Joe’s 2020 win could have created an impetus so inspiring, runners in the midterm race, including one who could barely walk, were swept across the finish line shod only in flip-flops, stained sweatshirts and worn-out Bermuda shorts. In fact, John Fetterman, the guy in the hoodie, “… won the race for U.S. Senate by a wider margin than Biden won the state in 2020.”
It’s astounding how in every election the Democrats seem to be finding a way to clock faster and faster times.
Sounding a lot like a race official in 1980 Boston after realizing Rosie was nowhere to be seen on the race route, former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, made this observation about the 2022 midterm elections when he said, “We had five or 6 million more votes, and we don’t pick up a whole bunch of seats. We need to analyze that. I mean, there’s something going on out there that we don’t understand.” Ya think?
Taking all these factors into consideration the 2022 midterm election results are almost as mindboggling as a 26-year-old administrative assistant from New York City winning the Boston Marathon. Wouldn’t you say? Midterms 2022 are reminiscent of the surprise that took place after the 2020 Presidential Election where the incumbent with all the momentum lost, and the special Olympics candidate one political crutch short of a wheelchair magically surged ahead at the end, seizing the bling.
Speaking of races, in October of 2014, during Obama’s second term, prior to the mid-term elections, Scott S. Powell wrote an article entitled, “Mid-term Elections: Critical for National Course Correction,” where he reminded voters:
On national election choices this November 4th, voters need to prioritize how they feel about the direction of the country and decide whether they are comfortable driving ahead through a yellow light, or whether they see a red light and the need to stop. This is a year when the outcome of the Senate contest has such significance for the nation that voters need to act nationally rather than locally and exercise their Constitutional right to check a wayward and incompetent president.
If what Powell said was true, how did Joe Biden, whose approval rating at 41.7%remains lower than any Democratic president in 44 years, inspire Americans to present the coveted olive leaf crown to those who promote his failed policies? And why did a state like Florida whose marathon rules ensure the race is run far from the train station end with such contrasting results?
Time and again highly suspect Democrats appear anemic at the starting gate, perk up one mile short of the finish line and end clocking record times. Then, donning perfectly coifed hair and nary a bead of sweat, leave Republican competitors in the dust, finishing the race victorious.
Forty-plus years ago, Rosie Ruiz rode the subway for 25-miles and made winning the Boston Marathon appear easy. Like spectators who realized Rosie was nowhere to be found along the race route, in 2020 and now again in 2022, if voters weren’t instructed not to think, Biden et al. would rouse comparisons to Rosie Ruiz.