Leading up to the midterm elections, republican politicians and pundits confidently proclaimed a red wave was going to sweep them to a historic majority in the House and Senate.

Unfortunately, Tuesday’s results show that this red wave failed to materialize. At best, the voter turnout this week can be described as a red trickle.  

Due to the inefficient mail-in ballot system that was implemented during the COVID pandemic, there are still plenty of races that have yet to be called. 25 seats in the House are still up for grabs, though it seems likely that Republicans will claim a narrow majority. In the Senate, FiveThirtyEight has Republicans slightly favored to win.  

While there is still plenty of uncertainty, we can be certain that Republicans will not have a comfortable majority in either the House or the Senate.

Republicans should have been able to successfully campaign off the Democrats’ failures considering that only 39% of Americans approve of President Biden’s job performance, but they failed to do so. Biden’s approval rating has so far only resulted in a loss of 8 seats for Democrats in the House.  

Let us put this failure into perspective. When President Obama had a 44% approval rating in 2014, his party lost 13 seats in the house.

Similarly, President G.W. Bush’s 38% approval rating in 2006 resulted in a shocking 30-seat loss for Republicans. So, why is it that Republicans this year could not capitalize on Biden’s catastrophic tenure as president?  

Some of the blame should certainly fall upon republican leadership. In Trump’s absence, republican leaders in Congress, Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, failed to coordinate a successful campaign against Biden’s and the radical left. Another reason for the red wave’s failure seems to be candidate quality.  

There were a variety of republican candidates with questionable backgrounds that could barely motivate conservatives to come out the polls, let alone independents. This is best embodied in the candidacy of Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Throughout the entire pandemic, Dr. Oz was a mouthpiece for the CDC. He encouraged masking and mRNA booster shots. Despite Trump’s endorsement, it was clear that Dr. Oz was not a true conservative that could be trusted.  

While the midterm elections resulted in many republican failures, there was one conservative winner: Governor Ron DeSantis. In stark contrast to the rest of the country, DeSantis led Florida Republicans to an unprecedented victory in the Sunshine State.  

DeSantis won 59.38% of the vote share, beating his opponent by over a million votes and making inroads with ethnic groups Democrats thought they owned. DeSantis secured 55% of the vote in Miami-Dade County, a former Democrat stronghold that is predominantly Hispanic.

It seems as though DeSantis’ capable governorship reflected positively on the rest of Florida Republicans who succeeded in their House and Senate races.  

The lesson from the midterm elections seems to be that even when victory seems certain, candidate quality is a significant factor.

Candidate quality is what caused Dr. Oz to lose to his Senate race to the mentally disabled John Fetterman. Candidate quality is also what led DeSantis to secure victory for himself and the rest of Florida Republicans.