(1) This was as close to a perfect context for a red wave as you’re ever likely to get — the only caveat to that is that the slate of Senate seats being contested wasn’t particularly favorable to the GOP — and it completely failed to materialize. Democracy in even the radically attenuated form in which it exists in the USA is very bad for the new right, which means of course that they’re going to redouble their efforts to eliminate it.
(2) Exit polls aren’t reliable at a granular level but they’re still useful when you’re looking at really big picture numbers, like these:
Voter age and outcome
65+ R +12
45-64: R +10
30-44: D +4
18-29: D +28
The kids are alright.
(3) In every race where Democrats helped a MAGA candidate win a primary over a less crazy Republican, the Republican lost the general election.
(4) Abortion rights and the backlash to Dobbs were absolutely huge factors last night. All the abortion rights state initiatives won, and there’s no doubt that the votes of women between the ages of 18 and 44 (see the numbers in (3) above) were THE key to beating back the fascist tide. Somewhere a Chief Justice is weeping the bitter tears of I told you so.
(5) Once the retention of Senate control is confirmed, either by a comeback in Nevada — still possible with the outstanding mail-in votes in Clark County — or Warnock’s defeat of Walker in the runoff, people need to think seriously about how to best nudge both Sotomayor and Kagan to consider retiring in 2024. The Senate map is terrible that year, and it’s quite possible there will be no way to confirm a Democratic SCOTUS nominee for the rest of the decade. Plus there’s really no argument for why SCOTUS justices should serve for more than 15 years anyway.
(6) The best possible outcome on the presidential front is that DeSantis is emboldened enough by last night to actually take on Trump. I still believe this is a huge long shot, but imagine for a moment that this happens and DeSantis somehow wins the nomination. Again I think that’s wildly unlikely, but if it were to happen the odds are 100% that Trump would run a third party campaign that would rip the GOP apart, while destroying the party’s electoral prospects across the board two years from now. It’s fun to dream anyway.