If you’re waiting for the 2022 midterm elections to serve as a deus ex machina, saving us from the brunt of what four years of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will do, Rush Limbaugh thinks you need to “wake the hell up.”
In a segment on his Monday show, Limbaugh responded to a caller who thought there was voter fraud and asked where conservatives go from here after the Republicans lost the White House and both houses of Congress.
Limbaugh began with an anecdote regarding his friend Vince Flynn, the thriller novelist, who would always exhort people to “keep the faith.”
“He just believed in keeping the faith,” Limbaugh said.
This might not be the time to just keep the faith, however.
“Now, I hear a lot of people talking about — and I’ve got a problem with this — a lot of people talking about the upcoming midterms in 2022. I’m hearing people on our side, the traditional political junkies, ‘Well, let the Democrats do whatever they’re gonna do, ’cause they’re gonna be swamped, baby, we’re gonna wipe ’em out in the midterms. We’re gonna win the House back, we’re gonna win the Senate back, man, it’s gonna be beautiful,'” Limbaugh said.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute, do you people not get what’s going on here? The days of traditional American politics … the Democrats are setting it up so they’re never gonna lose elections again. What do you mean we’re gonna win it all back in 2022? Who in their right mind thinks that that’s in the cards?'”
For those listeners who believed cheating was the only reason for Democrats’ success — be it states unilaterally ignoring their own election laws, historically low ballot rejection rates or outright voter fraud — Limbaugh turned them away from this kind of thinking.
“‘Well, Rush, it’s gonna be so massive, they can’t stop it with cheating. They’re gonna be so rejected.’ They’re gonna be so rejected?” Limbaugh asked.
“How the hell did they win? ‘They didn’t run, Rush, they cheated.’ Folks, you’re making a big mistake if you think that all of this success that they’re enjoying is simply due to cheating. There are gazillions of Americans who’ve bought into this. There are lots of Americans who have gone over to the dark side.
“This is not simply because the Democrats fraudulently stole an election. Even if they did, [Biden] still got enough votes to enable them to go over the line by cheating. We have a serious problem here. But the idea that the American people didn’t know what they were doing and in two years are gonna be running to the ballot box to reverse their decision because they had no idea they were electing a bunch of communists, what do you think just happened in Georgia?”
Limbaugh noted that “Georgia has been overrun by people leaving the Northeast,” repeating an apocryphal story that Democrats wanted people to move to Georgia to sway the election.
This part is factually dodgy; one major Democrat, former 2020 presidential candidate and 2021 New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, seemed to suggest he was doing it, although the context of his tweet appeared to indicate this was more to mobilize voters for Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock than to add two votes to the state rolls:
Great news #yanggang – Evelyn and I are moving to Georgia to help @ossoff and @ReverendWarnock win! This is our only chance to clear Mitch out of the way and help Joe and Kamala get things done in the next 4 years. More details to come but let’s go!!! ???? https://t.co/egcdwqC1qZ
— Andrew Yang???? (@AndrewYang) November 8, 2020
As Slate pointed out, there was a social media proposal circulating for a billionaire — “oh, just for fun, let’s say Michael Bloomberg,” Slate’s Molly Olmstead wrote — to pay people to move down to Georgia and register. This, as she noted, would be illegal, difficult and irrelevant even without the exigencies of 2020. The idea of people picking up stakes and moving to Georgia simply to cast a vote in a close Senate race is similarly dubious.
Rush was right, though, when he noted that “the idea that we are in the midst of a traditional American politics I think — while it would be great if it’s true, it’s woefully naive. It misses the point of what is happening right in front of our faces in this country.
“‘We’re gonna sweep ’em in 2022, baby. That’s right.’ I mean, why didn’t we sweep ’em in Georgia last week? Georgia’s been a red state for I don’t know how long. What the hell happened?” Limbaugh asked.
“’Oh, we’ll get ’em in 2022, Rush, you’ll see.’ Folks, remember my admonition, the Democrats, if they could, if they could, would eliminate elections? What if they effectively have? I mean, we still have them, but what if they’re irrelevant?
“The only thing — you ask me, what can the American people do — wake the hell up, those who haven’t. And understand what we’re up against, because I still think we have the ability to outnumber these people. I still think we do. But I think we’ve got way too much — I don’t know — blindness or ignorance, and perhaps it’s worse than that. Maybe people have gone over to the Democrat Party side knowingly and purposely ’cause they believe in it. Who the hell knows.”
If Limbaugh sounds fatalistic, it’s probably worth noting many of us sounded too optimistic in the days following the 2020 election.
Yes, it became clear that barring legal challenges succeeding, President Donald Trump had almost certainly lost — but against tremendous circumstantial headwinds and media indifference. The Democrats hadn’t outright recaptured the Senate, which had been predicted; Republicans only had to win one of two runoffs in the traditionally red state of Georgia. Instead of bolstering their margin in the House, the Democrats lost seats and almost every toss-up race in the election.
Then came Georgia. We’ll debate endlessly about what happened — bad Republican campaigns, Democratic momentum, L. Lin Wood barnstorming the state spouting crazy theories basically accusing every entity but Judge Crater and the Sultanate of Zanzibar of rigging the election, what-have-you. There are several problems here, though.
The first is that the electorate in many states is changing. People are fleeing blue states with high costs of living and moving to red states — and bringing their politics with them. CNN noted Georgia had one of the highest numbers of newcomers of all the states in the union in 2019. Other states like Arizona and Texas are seeing similar influxes.
Then there’s the media, determined to treat the Biden administration with a reverence and awe not seen since the days of John F. Kennedy and Camelot. There’s social media, which — the moment they knew the Senate would be in Democratic hands and therefore unwilling to hold them to any sort of account — showed a new (but wholly unsurprising) willingness to censor people, organizations and publications. At CNN, Oliver Darcy even called on TV providers to deplatform Fox News. All of these factors have only intensified since the Capitol incursion.
And if you think the voting rules for 2020 were just a matter of emergency procedure, some Democrats would prefer they stay. California secretary of state nominee Shirley Weber, for instance, told KQED she would be in favor of automatically mailing a ballot to every voter in the state on a permanent basis.
You may remember in 2018, ballot collecting — the practice of a third party collecting absentee or mail-in ballots instead of the individuals mailing them in themselves — helped the Democrats turn historically red seats blue in the Golden State. That practice reversed itself to some extent in 2020, but all bets are off in 2022 if California manages to carry this year’s rules on. Other states are considering making them permanent, as well, according to The Wall Street Journal.
And no matter what, enough people bought into the message of not only Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in Georgia; they bought into two hard-left candidates in Ossoff and Warnock in Georgia.
Rush is right. Yes, 2022 can be a great year for Republicans. No, 2022 won’t automatically save us.
In fact, it may be an uphill battle.
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