Republicans, Democrats and media figures offered their 2022 midterm election takeaways as many argued “extremism” lost while voters remain dissatisfied with the direction of the country.
Republicans and Democrats, during several media appearances on Sunday, were largely critical of former President Donald Trump and blamed him and “extremism” for major Republican losses.
During CNN’s “Inside Politics,” The Washington Post’s Paul Kane suggested the attack on Paul Pelosi fit into the “violence and extremism” narrative.
“Republicans broadly had an extremism problem. And part of the extremism, point number one was the Supreme Court ruling throwing the whole issue back to the states. But then it all fed into this big, big milieu of just violence and extremism,” Kane said.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi joined CNN’s “State of the Union” to discuss the results. Host Dana Bash asked if the attack on Pelosi’s husband had an impact on voters.
Pelosi said Republican reaction to the attack turned voters off.
Gov. Chris Sununu, R-N.H., who successfully won re-election on Tuesday, joined ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday and said “candidate quality matters.”
“There’s a sense of extremism that a lot of Republicans were painted with—rightfully or not,” he said. “Ultimately I think the Democrats did a very good job of defining a lot of these candidates before they even had the chance to introduce themselves.”
He said the midterms were a rejection of “extremism.” Democrats are expected to maintain control of the Senate as control of the House hangs in the balance.
“I don’t think anyone likes the policies out of D.C.,” Sununu said. “But what I think people said is, ‘We can work on these policies later but we need to fix extremism now. And that’s exactly what you saw.”
NBC’s Chuck Todd also told “Sunday Today” host Willie Geist that the “Republican Party imploded.”
“I think you can’t sit here and look at what the Republican Party offered up to voters, and the voters said, ‘No thank you.’ That’s what they said. They were ready to vote for something else. They just didn’t offer a better alternative,” Todd said.
Geist agreed and also said the midterms were largely a vote against “extremism.”
Former Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie argued Trump was dragging Republicans down.
“This is the first time that the party has held the White House has won independents in 20 years and the message for that is, Trump is dragging the party down,” he said. “He said we’re going to do so much winning that we would then ask him to stop winning, well in 2018, we lost the House, in 2020 we lost the Senate, in 2021 we lost two Senate seats in Georgia we should have won, and in 2022 we performed under historic norms for what was going on in this country and for being the party out of power, that’s a lot of losing. And I think what Republicans came to grip on Tuesday night we’re tired of losing and we’re tired of Donald Trump dragging us to lose because of his personal vanities.”
Republican strategist Brad Todd told Bash during “State of the Union” that Republican primary voters needed to be more “pragmatic,” arguing candidate quality was a factor.
“Democrats turned Republican candidates upside down in the summer and beat us in the mail and early votes. We let either of those happen again,” he said.
CNN’s Melanie Zanona said sidelining Biden in certain races ended up helping Democrats.
“No doubt it is such a good night for Biden, however it does seem when you look at the exit polls that Democrats prevailed in spite of him, not because of him necessarily,” Zanona said, noting exit polling that showed 49% of Democrats who said they disapprove of Biden voted Democrat.