"How is this not a red wave?": Fox News struggles to cope with "how to explain" GOP midterm failure

"That is a searing indictment of the Republican Party," said Fox pundit Marc Thiessen

By Areeba Shah

Staff Writer

Published November 9, 2022 10:57AM (EST)

Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt host "FOX & Friends" at Fox News Channel Studios in New York City.  (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt host "FOX & Friends" at Fox News Channel Studios in New York City. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Fox News hosts and pundits were stunned after the big Republican "red wave" the network predicted failed to materialize on Tuesday.

Marc Thiessen, a Fox News contributor, criticized the GOP's overall performance during the network's coverage of the election and urged the Republican Party "to do a really deep, introspective look in the mirror right now because this is an absolute disaster."

"There is a broader issue and think about this, we had the worst inflation in four decades … the worst crime wave since the 1990s with the worst border crisis in U.S. history here we had Joe Biden who's the least popular president since Harry Truman since presidential polling happened and there wasn't a red wave," Thiessen said. "That is a searing indictment of the Republican Party. That is a searing indictment of the message we have been sending to the voters where they looked at all of that, and looked at Republican alternative and said 'no thanks.'" 

He also said that "the Democrats' anti-MAGA strategy worked," noting that several far-right candidates lost on Tuesday night. 

Pointing to the victories of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who all won reelection in their states, Thiessen said this was the "path to the future," instead of "radical candidates who ran far behind them," putting the GOP "in a terrible position and voters have indicted the Republican Party."

Republicans may still win control of the House, but their margin of victory will likely be narrower than anticipated. Democrats were able to beat back Republican challengers in several key congressional races, including Senate seats in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, where both Trump-backed candidates Don Bolduc and Mehmet Oz lost to their Democratic opponents.

"Fox & Friends" co-host Ainsley Earhardt also reflected on the GOP losses. 

"Our country is completely divided now," Earhardt said. "You are either very conservative or radical progressive and woke left. The facts don't seem to matter here. Some of these individuals that won, when you look at their records, they are so extreme and so progressive. People are just dug in, they are dug in really deep right now and so extreme."

"How do you explain this country?" she added. "Open borders, record gas prices, inflation is the worst in 40 years, the president's approval ratings are so bad, worst crime since the 1980s. Yet I heard last night this is an indictment on the Republican Party. Is it? How are these -- these issues, when our country is in such a bad state right now, how is this not a red wave?"

Commentator Brit Hume, who was bewildered that a "red wave" did not transpire, discussed how political conditions suggested otherwise. 

"I was skeptical of the polling. The polling has held up pretty well tonight. They called these races close, one way or another—certainly within the margin of error," Hume said.

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Republicans were projected to pick up at least 20 seats in the House. Hume suggested that if Republicans get control of the House of Representatives, President Joe Biden's "legislative agenda cannot be the kind of legislative agenda he had for the last two years." 

"The political effect is…will this encourage him to run again? 'Hey, I came out unscathed. I don't look like the guy that dragged my party down to some terrible defeat. I am good to go.'"

By Areeba Shah

Areeba Shah is a staff writer at Salon covering news and politics. Previously, she was a research associate at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a reporting fellow for the Pulitzer Center, where she covered how COVID-19 impacted migrant farmworkers in the Midwest.

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