Strong-State Federalism Is The Best Path Forward Right Now For The GOP (And The Country)

The 2022 midterms were as much an indictment of bloated national leadership on both sides of the aisle as they were of anything. People didn’t vote overwhelmingly for incumbents because they think the country is headed in a good direction (more than 7 in 10 Americans say it isn’t).

Many Democrats voted for Democrats because they were told Republicans will destroy democracy and practically enslave women. Republicans largely voted for Republicans because they were fed up with the Biden administration’s results, from inflation to transgendering kids. Mainstream Americans have lost faith in Washington — it’s what propelled Trump’s outsider win in 2016 and now what’s materialized in the heels-dug-in results of last week’s election.

None of the GOP Midterm Momentum Was National

The most interesting elements of the midterms weren’t in the fight over control in Congress (no one has much faith in Mitch McConnell, least of all many in his own coalition). They were the elections for state office that saw massive momentum build around longshot Republican challengers from New York to Michigan to even Oregon. Even though GOP gubernatorial candidates in those states didn’t oust their incumbent-party opponents, they tapped into an energy that national Republicans have failed to generate.

In the weeks before the election, Politico observed that gubernatorial candidates were helping to carry their Senate counterparts, from Republican Brian Kemp in Georgia to Democrat Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania. The most momentum anywhere, of course, was behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who has built his brand on proactive state leadership and pitting his state’s successes against the Biden administration and particularly its Covid bureaucracy.

[READ: 3 Takeaways From Ron DeSantis’s Blowout Win For Every GOP Governor In America]

There was no singular reason for the GOP to flail in the midterms, but the election did make at least these two things clear: The national, establishment GOP has failed to rally behind a resonant, positive national agenda that motivates voters, and it failed to fight effectively enough against the Democrat vote-harvesting machinery that’s been put in place in states that were, until recently, swing states.

Republicans in Congress and especially in leadership have joined with Democrats to pass leftist wishlists, from gun control to gay marriage. Meanwhile, they’ve continued to pump dollars toward GOP consultants while failing to match Democrats’ ground game in elections — perhaps the largest cause of Republicans’ disappointing midterm results.

Arguably, the GOP will either have to reform election laws (banning no-excuse mail-in voting, ballot harvesting and curing, etc.), or match Democrats’ efforts to harvest ballots where it’s legal, before a Republican can hope to win the White House again. If Republicans stand idle while Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan continue to let Democrats abuse election laws to collect more ballots, a Republican nominee will have practically no shot at gaining 270 electoral votes. And strengthening the integrity of elections begins by advancing state-level candidates who will pass and implement strong election laws.

Covid Exposed the Importance of State Governance

Voters also appear to place more hope and enthusiasm in state-level leaders than in Washington. (Donald Trump in 2016 is a clear outlier, but he explicitly ran as the opposite of an “insider” and was more exciting and relatable as a result.) Credit a myriad of factors for DeSantis’s blowout win in Florida earlier this month, but he’s certainly become a model figure for strong state leadership that reminds the federal government: Checks and balances work between states and Washington too.

Covid lockdowns showed voters more clearly than they’d seen in years how critical state governance is. Blue states shuttered church services, stole years of children’s education, and imprisoned nursing home residents, while red states offered freer communities. Many people packed up and moved as a result.

In Virginia and nationwide, scandal after scandal in the classroom awakened many parents to realize how important their local school boards were. Americans learned (or remembered) that local politics — from school boards to governors’ mansions — can affect their daily lives just as much or more than who occupies the White House. While Republicans should still fight for influence in Washington to slow the advance of far-left agenda items and to make progress on breaking up the bureaucratic cartel, the reality of national politics is often gridlock. That’s by design, and a good thing; we call it checks and balances.

In Politics, Change Comes from Without

But in our current political climate, at least, it also means that Republicans are never going to save the country by winning majorities that put McConnell in charge of the Senate. The most momentous way forward against the excesses of our gargantuan national government right now is from Main Street to 50 different state capitals, not Pennsylvania Avenue.

With respect for the true conservatives doing badly needed maintenance and damage control in Congress, the best way to fix the system is from outside, via steady pressure from states reminding the federal government it can’t boss their citizens around. That’s why, arguably, DeSantis has done more good for conservatives as a governor than national Republican leaders have in the past two years. Imagine if the 26 states that emerged from the midterms with Republican governors were each led by a DeSantis-style Republican who directed coordinating fire at federal powermongers.

Conservative strategists and donors should gear their efforts toward boosting strong state leaders who aren’t afraid to push back against big bureaucracy, big corporate, Big Tech, and big media. That’s not limited to governors: Secretaries of state and attorneys general are vital for administering strong elections and fighting back against federal excesses, respectively. Voters should demand conservative state leaders go to bat for their interests against the Washington machine, not the other way around.

In Federalist No. 45, James Madison wrote:

The State governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter is nowise essential to the operation or organization of the former. … [E]ach of the principal branches of the federal government will owe its existence more or less to the favor of the State governments, and must consequently feel a dependence [on them]…

Madison argued that dependence was “much more likely to beget a disposition too obsequious than too overbearing” from the federal to state governments. That hope is laughable in our current balance of power.

Even relentless effort from state leaders to reestablish the authority and leverage over the federal government their constituents once had might not be feasible. The divide between red states and blue states that it would deepen might break the country apart. There may not be enough freedom-loving citizens left to vote for reembracing responsibilities long pawned off on federal grifters. But it’s a better bet than ever expecting the rot in Washington to see itself out.


Elle Purnell is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. Follow her work on Twitter @_etreynolds.

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Democrats Abused Gen Z With Covid Insanity For Years And GOP Leaders Refused To Campaign on It

The “red wave” that never was is in part thanks to Gen Z voters, who turned out in record numbers in the midterms and voted overwhelmingly Democrat. The Gen Z results are devastating and cost Republicans several key races, but they aren’t surprising considering Republican leadership had no strategy to win over young voters. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer, and the Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel willfully neglected Gen Z. 

What is most upsetting about the Democrats’ triumph — with youths preferring that party over Republicans by a whopping 28-point margin, according to exit polls — is that unique from most cycles, Republicans had one important advantage with young, particularly college-aged, voters: Democrats had spent the last two years uniquely torturing Gen Z with ineffective and abusive Covid policies.

Unfortunately, neither McConnell nor McCarthy did anything to capitalize on the incredible circumstances. They had zero plan for recruiting Gen Z voters, opting essentially to hand 10 percent of eligible voters to Democrats, which the left took full advantage of.

In the lead-up to the midterms, Democrats did weekly college campus door-knocking events at dorms and apartments. Democrat candidates visited and spoke to students. Democrat grassroots organizations publicized mail-in-balloting (which is very attractive to the convenience-driven generation). Most importantly, savvy leftist consultant groups taught Democrat candidates how to effectively campaign to young voters via social media and particularly TikTok.

This election cycle was a lost opportunity for Republicans who had a chance to remind young voters that Democrats violated their bodily autonomy and mentally enslaved them for two years. Covid posed virtually no threat to young people. Yet Democrat leaders pressured left-wing university bureaucrats into forcing healthy students to take experimental Covid shots that were not only ineffectual but caused now-verified cases of vaccine injuries, such as heart issues and irregular menstrual cycles

Students who did not comply with the Covid shot mandates were punished in a whole host of ways, including campus officials disabling their university WiFi, barring them from campus, restricting them from attending in-person learning, and preventing them from registering for classes. Some were even expelled

For over a year, leftist administrations defrauded students of their tuition dollars by subjecting them to inferior remote learning. When classes finally resumed in person, colleges required students to wear masks, which continued even when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted they were utterly useless. 

Even worse, as University of Chicago student Declan Hurley wrote last year, “In addition to being epidemiologically indefensible, this policy is cruel to deaf and hard-of-hearing students like me” because it “[bars] us from reading people’s lips, muffling people’s voices, and inhibiting effective communication.”

Universities shuttered campus indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, which was not only detrimental to students’ mental and physical health but also anti-science, since being fit is a crucial safeguard against the worst Covid outcomes for those with comorbidities. 

Some schools, like the one I attended, forced students to sign documents pledging to follow anti-science Covid mandates. My school’s “Required COVID-19 Attestation” forced students into mental submission as well, making students “agree” to claims such as, “COVID-19 poses a serious public health risk” and “my failure to follow the [COVID-19] requirements,” like wearing a cloth over my mouth, “may endanger myself and/or others.”

Schools were caught targeting and surveilling unvaccinated students, and some institutions are accused of installing security cameras in the hallways aimed at residents’ doors to make sure students weren’t visiting one another. 

Perhaps most disturbing was the universities’ anonymous Covid-19 violation reporting systems, where students were encouraged to turn in their peers to university authorities for doing things like standing closer than six feet apart or wearing a mask improperly. Covid violation punishments could be as severe as putting students’ class registrations on hold, kicking them out of student housing, and even suspending or expelling them. 

While it is true that most college students were compliant with the Covid mandates, that doesn’t mean they liked them. Many young adults figured out quickly that Covid posed no real threat to them. They knew Covid wasn’t dangerous when they tested positive with mild symptoms. They dutifully showed up to class with their masks on but knew it was all for show because they took their masks off for weekend frat parties. They realized the “vaccines” were worthless once they got Covid after their first jab. They also knew the mandates were unjustified and unethical and that lockdowns in particular caused them to suffer from increased rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Even when they were back in person, social interactions were policed and limited. 

How did universities get young people to comply, then? The answer is fear (and not fear of the virus). As UChicago sophomore Eden Negussie said in 2020, “The hysteria around COVID restrictions has bred an environment of such extreme judgment and fear that we cannot even function as normal human beings without being on edge.” 

Standing up against Covid tyranny meant social and professional consequences. It meant you could be labeled a “grandma killer” or a “fascist.” It could damage your reputation or cause you to lose friends or student housing. You may even lose an internship or job opportunity. Understandably, students submitted instead of gambling their careers before they’d even started.

Just because students were coerced into compliance doesn’t mean they enjoyed colleges’ mandates. The GOP leaders could have formulated a plan to emphasize how Republican governors from conservative states were able to stop university vaccine mandates and point out how students from liberal states were less fortunate. They could have reminded students of how miserable they were during lockdowns and brought out the incriminating vaccine and mask data that proves Democrat-fueled mandates were not only pointless but harmful.

They could have exposed the liescorruption, and hypocrisy of the politicians and government health bureaucrats who came up with the authoritarian Covid policies. They could have promised to launch investigations that would bring justice to people like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci. They could have assured students that what Democrats did to them over the last two years was un-American and unethical and that Republicans plan never to let it happen again.  

Republicans might not have had a chance at winning Gen Z, but they certainly had a chance at tightening the unprecedented gap by which Democrats won them over. Covid is one of many issues Republicans could have run on (unsustainable grocery, gas, and heating bills are undoubtedly another issue they should have emphasized more to young voters). 

Unfortunately, Republican leaders decided to do absolutely nothing. They handed Gen Z to Democrats on a silver platter. Perhaps a misguided Gen Z strategy could have been forgivable, but no strategy is inexcusable — and yet another indication that the old-guard GOP leadership needs to go. 


Evita Duffy is a staff writer to The Federalist and the co-founder of the Chicago Thinker. She loves the Midwest, lumberjack sports, writing, and her family. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1 or contact her at evita@thefederalist.com.

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Republican Leaders Have A Choice: Roll Back Early Voting And Mail-In Ballots Or Learn To Take Advantage Of Them

Republican Leaders Have A Choice: Roll Back Early Voting And Mail-In Ballots Or Learn To Take Advantage Of Them

Republicans apparently learned very little from the 2020 election which turned voting and vote counting into a chaotic multi-week affair, all to the great advantage of Democrats.

After finding their party blown out of the water by early votes and mail-in ballots, both vastly expanded to accommodate the pandemic hysteria, elected GOP leaders seem to have thought to themselves, “Well, better luck next time!”

And here we are. In an election year that should have seen major gains for Republicans across the board, the party failed to take the Senate, could still (a week after Election Day) fail to secure the House, and is now on life support for the governorship in Arizona. There isn’t just one reason for the shortcomings but none are more important than the party’s neglect in adapting to our new jungle of an election process.

For the past two years, every Republican should have been either attempting to beat back the flood of “no excuse” mail-in ballots saturating swing states, or building up a party network that could adapt to it. There were some efforts to manage the mail-in voting problem in Arizona and Georgia but otherwise the party said its prayers and hoped for the best heading into the midterms.

We see how that strategy turned out. Democrats once again turned on the ignition and their army of activists began knocking on doors and dialing up their reliable voters to be sure that every single one of them knew the time to vote was now. Whether it was three weeks or a month before actual Election Day, it didn’t matter. Now. In response, Republicans donned a toothy smile and told their voters to keep Tuesday open. Wait in line— no matter how long it takes.

True, Republicans tend to be a lot more motivated than Democrats to vote in a non-presidential campaign year. They’re happy to drive to the booth and wait their turn. But the new reality is that elections are happening for weeks before the designated day for official in-person voting. That’s a lot of time for dedicated activists to call or visit the homes of their voters, no matter how unmotivated they are, and tell them that they don’t have to wait at all. They can cast their ballot right now. Want me to do it for you?!

Where is Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on this? Where is National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer? Where is National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott? They’re the ones responsible for leading on these things but they did nothing. Now they’re cheerfully making plans for their future leadership positions and fundraising operations.

If elected Republicans aren’t prepared to roll all of it back to the pre-pandemic way of doing things — I know, the media will call you racist, boo-hoo — then they’ll have to adapt and develop their own way of pushing their voters to cast ballots for weeks leading up to Election Day. That’s what Democrats are doing and it’s working.


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Nolte: NBC News Projects GOP Wins House of Representatives 219-216

Nolte: NBC News Projects GOP Wins House of Representatives 219-216

In its latest projection, far-left NBC News says the Republican party will narrowly win the House of Representatives by a narrower than narrow 219 to 216 margin.

If this projection holds, that will bring about a big sigh of relief and one of the rare bright spots in an otherwise disappointing midterm result for the GOP.

What was supposed to be a GOP wave — one I was sure of — turned out to be anything but.

When it was all over, Democrats potentially increased their hold on the all-important U.S. Senate by one seat. Democrats could cement that increase if current Democrat U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock wins Georgia’s December runoff against Republican Herschel Walker. Last week, Warnock did beat Walker by nearly a full point. Because no one topped 50 percent in that race, the state requires a runoff.

A nightmare scenario would give Democrats 51 U.S. Senate seats and control of the House of Representatives. If Democrats win 51 Senate seats, Democrats will not need both U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) to pass legislation. That could almost certainly mean the end of the filibuster that both Manchin and Sinema refuse to kill.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) leaves the Senate Chamber with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) following a vote in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans blocked debate on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 03: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) leaves the Senate Chamber with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) following a vote in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans blocked debate on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Without the filibuster, the Senate could pass whatever insanity it chose — including expanding the Supreme Court, socialized medicine, and heaven knows what all — and a Democrat-led House would rubber stamp it, all of it, everything.

At least with the House under GOP control, there will be a check on the lunacy about to come out of the Senate.

Keep in mind that NBC already blew one House projection. Three days ago, NBC predicted the Republican party would win the House with a much safer margin of 222 to 212 seats.

So.

Until current House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — or whoever — is handed that gavel by current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), nothing is certain in this insane election season.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

This post has been updated.

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How To Eliminate Democrats’ Massive Single Women Electoral Advantage

It is by now well-established that Democrats benefit from increasing women’s misery through increased family chaos. That’s the flip side of yet another election showing that single women are among the most reliable of Democrat voters.

Given that historically unprecedented percentages of young Americans are likely to remain single for their entire lives — more than one-third, according to Brad Wilcox — this dynamic is only accelerating. UnHerd’s Mary Harrington relates the phenomenon partly to the Information Age’s dramatically increased remuneration for work that doesn’t involve hard physical labor:

…very simply, technological advancements have delivered new opportunities for well-qualified knowledge workers of both sexes, even as the same changes have automated and de-industrialised away the physically more arduous work previously performed mostly by working-class men. This virtualisation of work has, overall, benefited women much more than men.

This is true, but it misses something important, too. Like woke institutions, the bureaucratization of work is in large part a product of political choices, not just technological change. That means it can be altered.

It’s government policies that force companies to siphon off money from making legitimately useful things and solving concrete human problems to parasitic forms of “knowledge work” that are also culturally destructive. These nonproductive forms of non-physical and mentally menial work are often grouped under the heading of “administrative bloat” in academia, and they aren’t exclusive to so-called education institutions at all. They are now endemic to society.

Many, many so-called “knowledge work” jobs are anti-productive. That is, they actually destroy productivity rather than aid, improve, and refine it.

Not coincidentally, either, women do most of these jobs. They comprise the vast army of woke state clerks, which is to say the cultural revolution foot soldiers. It’s not a coincidence that women overwhelmingly populate the government jobs that replace the social responsibilities women used to fulfill out of love instead of for a government paycheck.

The good news is, these women would be a lot happier doing something more productive for society than working in highly inefficient government-dominated industries, like raising a family or running soup kitchens. Many just don’t feel they have that option. We need to do more to make that option available. Part of that would entail eliminating jobs that exist to comply with stupid government regulations, by eliminating the regulations themselves.

I’m talking about the kinds of jobs labeled “administrative bloat” on campuses, which are essentially glorified secretarial work and relationship-managing. I am not arguing that all knowledge work — such as teaching, publishing, and the practice of law — is parasitic.

Obviously, some knowledge work is societally beneficial. But does every company really need a full complement of lawyers, a full human resources department, a tax compliance officer, accountants, and all the other variations of government compliance officers just to serve people burgers or fix roofs?

I don’t think so, but government regulations today demand smothering our economy with bureaucracy-descended make-work jobs that not incidentally have been lionized by our corrupt culture makers as somehow brave and independence-affirming when women do them. Paying some government-mandated cutout somewhere is essentially inescapable for anyone who wants to earn a simple dollar. That is to say that paying dues to feminism is a mandatory entrance fee for almost any significant economic activity.

This reality is a massive drag not only on our economy but also a massive subsidy to the people trained to think that being some rando’s secretary is the epitome of GirlBossery — and desperate enough to believe that because she can’t locate the far-preferable alternate of cultivating a lovely home while someone who truly loves her brings home the bacon and smooches the baby before settling in for a nice warm dinner after a rough day digging other people’s feces out of their clogged pipes. (Now that’s a job that earns its pay!)

It’s no surprise that a woman cast alone into a cold world seeks security in government when she can’t find it in a real-life community. Where else is she going to go? At least she’s not sitting in her mother’s basement playing video games instead of working, or LARPing on Twitter about how much women suck while making no effort to learn how to love a woman for real.

There are plenty of things to be said about this situation, but one of them is that it’s a collective social problem that is very difficult for individuals to fix themselves. Ask any young woman about her dating prospects and watch her sigh and express how difficult it is to find a decent man.

She’s very likely holding some impractically elevated standards for potential mates, but also not being entirely pie-in-the-sky. The good men are getting rarer every day. While families deserve to take responsibility for their poor parenting of both boys and girls that also fuels this situation by refusing to acknowledge sex differences and legitimize fathers’ distinct social contributions, it is also fair to blame government policies for preferencing and cushioning the family breakdown and economic distortions that degrade potential spouse quality.

Men are a canary in the societal coal mine. Women may be more emotionally fragile, but boys more easily and quickly show the strain of a broken family and society. Girls hide their suffering with compliance. Boys don’t as much. The boys are very obviously hurting and have been for a long time — while virtually nobody with power has paid attention to their decades of painful screams that typically subside into the silence of zombie life online and self-destruction with both legal and illegal drugs.

Boys are the ones given ADHD medications fastest to deal with their parents’ divorce and the plain reality of being male (i.e., active). They are the ones fastest to drop out of school and life, as Harrington points out. And that is not all their fault either. The schools and increasingly the workforce are hostile environments for men. A bureaucratized workplace is an anti-man workplace, as it is men who are quickest to see how stupid, wasteful, and demeaning are jobs that don’t actually accomplish anything but micromanaging other people’s choices.

Yes, we have a messaging problem of big advertisers like Honda encouraging young people to make themselves deeply unhappy by glorifying lifelong loneliness. Yes, we have young women foolishly rejecting both motherhood and marriage because that’s what they’re told to do by our toxic cultural arbiters, and they don’t understand how to encourage men to man up. Yes, we have wife-cucked fathers engendering weak sons en masse and Boomer-controlled institutions tone-policing everyone by setting female-dominated behavior as the baseline for being considered a decent human being.

But we also have government putting its big fat thumb on the scale against marriage by structurally preferencing work that women tend to do and structurally disadvantaging work that men tend to do. Such artificial preferences for work detached from concrete value to customers can be altered.

Unfair government preferences for work that’s easier for women to do, embarrassing for many men to do because of its obvious wastefulness, and that reduces men’s ability to earn a family wage and therefore attract a wife — these can be abolished. Of course, that would take long and hard political slogging, but given our family formation crisis, it would be certainly worth it to the nation.

It is, in fact, absolutely mandatory to reverse our national decline. For national decline starts in the home, and American homes at this point barely exist.


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Midterm Voters Rewarded Elected Officials Who Stood Up To Covid Tyrants

Despite Democrats’ attempts to backpedal their Covid shutdowns and fearmongering, the American people haven’t forgotten their radical abuses of power (as evidenced by how close New Yorkers came to electing a Republican governor after the Covid-era malfeasance of the state’s Democrat leaders). But voters also haven’t forgotten who pushed back against the insanity.

From governors who fought to keep their state economies open to senators who pushed to hold Covid bureaucrats accountable, many major figures who stood up to Covid tyrants were rewarded by their constituents at the ballot box on Tuesday.

Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was reelected on Tuesday with 61 percent of the Bluegrass State’s vote, frequently grilled Dr. Anthony Fauci on the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director’s Covid lies. As early as June 2020, Paul was demanding to know why children were not allowed to return to in-person learning.

During the summer of 2021, Paul questioned Fauci about the origins of Covid-19, engaging “in a heated debate about NIH [the National Institutes of Health] sending taxpayer money to the lab that researched bat-based illnesses and was investigated as a potential cause of the coronavirus pandemic.” Fauci denied that the NIH was funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, and Paul was smeared by corporate media outlets like The Washington Post, which gave him two Pinocchios for highlighting “ample evidence that the NIH and the NIAID, under [Fauci’s] direction, funded gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” Details emerged in September 2021, however, indicating that Fauci’s agency did in fact fund gain-of-function research, vindicating Paul and contradicting Fauci’s testimony under oath.

Sen. Ron Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who beat out Democrat challenger Mandela Barnes to keep his Senate seat, also stood up to the Covid fearmongering during the height of the Wuhan virus insanity, particularly regarding Covid shots. For questioning vaccine mandates, highlighting some Americans’ adverse reactions to vaccines, and discussing potential Covid cures deemed unacceptable by the corporate media, the Wisconsin senator was smeared as “fundamentally dangerous.” In November 2021, when he posted a video on his YouTube page featuring “a panel on vaccine-related injuries,” his page was temporarily suspended for the fifth time, and the video was declared to be “Covid misinformation.”

Johnson kept the pressure on Big Tech, calling out tech companies’ attempts to silence opposing viewpoints that were critical of Covid tyrants, as Federalist Staff Writer Evita Duffy explains. Instead of submitting to these oligarchs, “he rose to the challenge, grilling executives at Twitter, Meta, YouTube, and TikTok for election interference, censoring substantiated information related to Covid.”

Senator-Elect Eric Schmitt

The newly-elected senator of Missouri, Eric Schmitt, pushed back against vaccine mandates as the state’s attorney general, blasting such mandates as a way to “accumulate, aggregate, and maintain power.”

“People can make these very important decisions themselves, and I don’t want to live in some futuristic, dystopian, biomedical security state,” the then-attorney general explained. “I’m going to do everything I can as attorney general to protect the rights of individuals in this state.”

And Schmitt did just that. In November 2021, he led 11 states in filing a lawsuit to stop the federal vaccine mandate issued under President Joe Biden. He explained that the mandate would “decimate” local businesses, along with thousands of businesses that could be “negatively affected by this mandate.” The Biden administration’s mandate for private businesses was ultimately struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Ron DeSantis

From early in the Covid pandemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis opposed the narrative of the Covid fearmongers, from vaccine and mask mandates to lockdowns. For quickly moving to reopen the Sunshine State, allowing in-person learning and normal social activity, corporate media painted DeSantis as a villain. But by February 2021, roughly a year into the Covid crisis, his state’s death rate was half that of locked-down New York, the state that forced nursing homes to house Covid-infected patients.

DeSantis also stood up to the vaccine tyrants. By executive order and then by signing legislation, DeSantis banned Covid vaccine “passports” in Florida. He also pushed back on efforts to give the Covid jab to healthy babies and children. “The White House is bragging that we’re the only country that is trying to do mRNA shots for infants,” the governor said during a press conference earlier this year.

“There’s nothing wrong with being the lone ranger if you’re right, but the other countries in Europe that are going a different direction, similar to the direction Florida’s gone, they have been right on Covid way more than [Dr. Anthony] Fauci and his crew have been throughout this whole thing,” DeSantis explained. His courageous actions and stance on individual freedom were well received by Floridians, who reelected him in a landslide on Tuesday.

Gov. Kristi Noem

Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota famously kept her state open during all of the Covid hysteria, and banned government entities from requiring vaccine documentation (though she earned criticism when she stopped short of enabling her state legislature to pass a ban on vaccine requirements from private businesses). In addition, Noem vowed to take “every action available” to fight a federal vaccine mandate, and South Dakota joined the lawsuit led by A.G. Schmitt to stop the mandate.

The South Dakota governor was reelected handily and holds a 57 percent approval rating.


Sophia is an intern at The Federalist and a student at Le Moyne College. She majors in English and intends to pursue a career in journalism.

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Democracy Dies When Americans Stop Scrutinizing Partisan Election Administration

Democracy Dies When Americans Stop Scrutinizing Partisan Election Administration

As we witness the mass breakdown of voting machines on the single day of the year they’re supposed to work, cameras going down in vote-counting offices, and the endless drip-drip of ballot dumps — curiously in the most hotly-contested races and most critical precincts for political control in the country — remember that this is all commonplace and normal. And if you think otherwise, you’re not only unhinged, but you might be a domestic terrorist.

This is the gaslighting we have been getting from our political class and the media over the last two federal election cycles. It is purposeful propaganda meant to obscure the truth that our betters have fundamentally transformed voting policies and practices, and then exploited the new rules to the maximum extent.

The reality is that those skeptical about the integrity in our brave new election world are not a “threat to democracy.” They are defenders of the republic. America is in serious danger if the public unquestioningly accepts the fact that authorities made radical changes, sometimes unduly and under cover of crisis, that made less safe, secure, or at minimum trustworthy the processes by which we elect our representatives.

For decades we voted one way: In-person, with identification, on a singular Election Day, usually with rudimentary, analog tools. With rare exceptions, we received the results on Election Night. In the 2020 election, that all changed. For the first time in modern history, we had a mass mail-in election, held over the course of weeks, much of it automated. The results came in over a period of days, not hours.

The ‘Shadow Campaign’ That Rigged 2020

In the run-up to the race, election offices outsourced their most basic operations, with hundreds of millions of dollars in private funding, a.k.a. “Zuckerbucks,” to often leftist nonprofits. Authorities made all manner of exceptions to count ballots cast that did not comply with basic legal standards – that is, to tally votes that were patently illegitimate. When state judges decreed rule changes, as opposed to leaving it to legislatures to make law, courts up to the highest in the land permitted it. Poll workers prevented poll observers from overseeing their operations in certain precincts.

By their own admission, the wealthy and powerful came together in a comprehensive “conspiracy” to “fortify” the election against one candidate — aiding in many of these efforts. As Molly Ball spelled out in her “Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election:” “a well-funded cabal…ranging across industries and ideologies, work[ed] together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.” It is worth emphasizing that the co-conspirators both pushed the changes to the way we vote, and then, as seen with the Zuckerbucks, exploited the system they had helped create with nonprofits they funded to get out the vote — arguably disproportionately to Joe Biden’s benefit.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway of course laid all this and more out in stunning detail in her essential book, “Rigged.”

As voters witnessed the simultaneous stops in vote counts in swing states in the middle of election night, only to pick up in the wee hours with margins moving from Trump to Biden, and seeming statistical anomalies followed, tens of millions of Americans had questions about what they saw. This was a perfectly rational response. It would have been beyond disturbing if Americans weren’t skeptical about an election like no other in our history – and in which so many forces were literally and figuratively invested in ensuring a specific outcome.

Remote voting at the very minimum presents the potential for less safe and secure elections. And we have found myriad instances of people engaging in related fraud. It is incumbent upon voters then to scrutinize any such system. Yet those who scrutinized the 2020 race were shunned and censored. Was the ostracism supposed to instill confidence?

It’s Happening Again

Fast-forward to 2022. Many states made permanent the temporary election practices of 2020, loosening their voting rules, with tens of millions of voters continuing to vote by mail. In the days before the election, we were told by the likes of Politico that the very vulnerabilities in election infrastructure feared by supposed conspiracy theorists and election denialists in 2020 in fact were present in 2022.

Problems cropped up in voting centers on Election Day when and where Republicans vote disproportionately. From Maricopa County, Arizona, to Mercer County, New Jersey, electronic tabulation machines malfunctioned en masse. That is, machines with literally one job, on the one day they’re supposed to work, didn’t. The RNC alleged voter disenfranchisement as a consequence of the Maricopa debacle, but a judge dismissed the case.

In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 44 polling locations reportedly ran out of paper to print ballots. Ballot machines went down in Harris County, Texas. In Suffolk County, New York the tabulation process was reportedly “impacted” by government computers that had been hacked months ago. Chesterfield County, Virginia had a whole host of issues – apparently manual and electronic.

And then there’s the fact that Arizona, in part because of Maricopa County, and Nevada, with pivotal races for the U.S. Senate and governor, as of this writing have not reported their final results. Officials in both states claim the count may take days.

How is it possible that in the most technologically advanced civilization in the history of mankind, and when Florida with a population two times greater than Arizona and Nevada combined, could report results on Election Night, that Sun Belt states can’t quickly and efficiently collect and count the votes? Could it be because Florida’s system hews towards more traditional, rigorous voting standards?

The Republican establishment has made little effort to forcefully make the case for, and drive legislative changes aimed at moving toward the Florida model. It is not clear whether much of the party lacks the courage of its convictions to fight for election integrity, simply thinks Democrats have the better of the arguments on the matter, or are content to participate in a system that they have refused to exploit as mercilessly as their opponents and therefore under which they are at a distinct disadvantage.

What is clear is that they are effectively normalizing the abnormal with each cycle that passes. We are the last safeguard for the republic. If we are asleep, the system crumbles because men are not angels.

Democracy dies in docility. If we fail to demand of our leaders elections of the highest integrity, we will reap what we sow.


Ben Weingarten is a Federalist Senior Contributor, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and fellow at the Claremont Institute. He was selected as a 2019 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow of the Fund for American Studies, under which he is currently working on a book on U.S.-China policy. Ben writes on national security and foreign policy, economics, and politics for publications including City Journal, Conservative Review and PJ Media. He is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media, a media consulting and production company dedicated to advancing conservative principles. Ben is also a 2015 Publius Fellow of the Claremont Institute. You can find his work at benweingarten.com, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.

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The Big Midterm Lesson: Defensive ‘Victories’ On The Right Aren’t Going To Save The Country

The Big Midterm Lesson: Defensive ‘Victories’ On The Right Aren’t Going To Save The Country

If there’s a clear lesson to come out of Tuesday night’s bizarre midterm election, it’s that Republicans can no longer be content with defensive victories or defensive politics. To win political power and do what must be done to save the country, Republicans will have to go on offense, present a compelling vision for the future, and engage culture war issues like abortion and critical race theory without apologies. 

When they do that, they win. But it stands in stark contrast to the perennial advice of Beltway GOP consultants, who think it best to avoid major culture war issues like abortion. Indeed, the “official narrative” of corporate media in the wake of Tuesday’s midterms is that abortion was a big winner for Democrats, who supposedly capitalized on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, successfully making abortion a major electoral issue and blunting a red wave by boosting turnout among young, pro-abortion voters. 

It sounds good, but it’s not quite right. Republicans who didn’t shy away from talking about abortion after Dobbs, and who signed into law abortion legislation earlier this year without flinching or apologizing, did really well — they were Tuesday night’s winners. As Marc Thiessen noted on Fox News, Republican governors in Ohio, Georgia, New Hampshire, Texas, and Florida all signed post-Dobbs abortion restrictions, and they all won reelection by comfortable margins. 

That’s not to say abortion was a non-factor. Democrats squeezed every last electoral drop they could out of Dobbsspending $320 million on abortion-related TV ads (much more than on all other issues combined) which helped motivate a voter base that might have otherwise been depressed.

Still, there was a clear contrast between Republicans who heeded the advice of Beltway consultants and tried to dodge abortion questions or take a noncommittal stance and those who defended their anti-abortion positions and pushed for post-Roe legislation. Only one of those groups fared well Tuesday.

The larger lesson here is that Republican candidates should lean into the culture war and make no apologies for their positions, even on contentious issues like abortion. Fighting back against the left, it turns out, is what a lot of voters on the right want from Republicans.

Consider what Ron DeSantis achieved in Florida, winning 60 percent of the vote after narrowly eking out a victory four years ago. He did that by not shying away from big, high-profile fights over hot-button culture war issues like critical race theory and transgender indoctrination. Glenn Youngkin did the same thing last November to pull off an upset in the Virginia governor’s race.

But DeSantis and Youngkin are, sadly, exceptions to the general rule that Republicans tend to be reactionary and defensive. Indeed, the failure of the conservative movement is largely attributable to this default defensiveness, and it needs to end. For decades, conservatives whined about just wanting to be left alone even as the radical left was marching through our institutions and transforming society, showing us at every turn they had no intention of leaving us alone. 

Yet some on the right still don’t seem to get it. On Tuesday morning, anticipating a red wave, Ben Shapiro tweeted: “The mandate for Republicans will be to stop Biden’s terrible agenda dead. It will not be to make very loud but tactically foolish moves.”

Shapiro didn’t specify what he meant by “very loud but tactically foolish moves,” but he followed it up with this:

Sorry, but the era of normalcy and being left alone is over. The left will never leave us alone. They want to win and wield power, and if we want to stop them, we will have to win and wield power ourselves. Conservatives who want to be left alone will simply lose, as they have been for decades now.

Those like Shapiro who long to be left alone are also apt to argue that the conservative project has been moderately successful over the years, moving slowly to notch wins. Look at Dobbs. Look at religious liberty and the Second Amendment. Look at all the good judges appointed to the federal bench during the Trump administration.

But this is a cope. Yes, there have been a few victories for conservatives. The Dobbs decision was the greatest policy victory of the conservative cause in a generation, and it was due mostly to the dogged work of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, two institutions often unfairly maligned as “Conservative, Inc.” by the New Right, and — at least before Dobbs dropped — dismissed as failures.

Yet even the Dobbs decision was a defensive victory, handed down like a gift from on high by the Supreme Court. But it didn’t end legal abortion, and indeed the ruling itself bent over backward to avoid the broader implications of its own constitutional logic, which, as Justice Clarence Thomas explained in his concurring opinion, calls into question the constitutionality of substantive due process and the long train of Supreme Court rulings that have followed its invention more than a century ago.

As Dobbs itself suggests, defensive victories delivered by the federal judiciary aren’t going to reverse what has been, with few setbacks, a relentless, decades-long march by the left through every institution of American life. Anyone who tells you things aren’t that bad because we happen to have five mostly reliable Supreme Court justices is either delusional or quietly willing to acquiesce to leftist tyranny.

They’re probably also inclined to think Republicans didn’t really do so bad in the midterms, and that what Americans really want is just some tinkering with Social Security and the welfare state. Nothing too loud and tactically foolish. That’s more or less Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s plan if he becomes speaker of the House. After all, the country just wants to heal.

No. The country does not want to heal. It does not want “some semblance of normalcy.” There are two diametrically opposed moral systems at war right now in America, and it’s not enough at this late hour to be content with the status quo, to repose in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and hope the five good justices will somehow stop the revolutionaries.  

Just look at the successful pro-abortion midterm referendums in Michigan, Vermont, and California, where the right to kill the unborn is now enshrined in those states’ constitutions. What’s true of the abortion issue is true of nearly every other major issue in American public life. Being passive and defensive is not going to cut it. If Republicans want to win, they’d better be willing to fight. Let’s hope they are. The future of the republic depends on it.


John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.

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