All the big races that excited passion in the national press and from progressive fundraisers ended in the L column. Despite Democrats’ taking over judicial positions throughout Texas, left-leaning hero Beto O’Rourke lost to Ted Cruz, a senator whose presence on the political stage taught the press corps how to correctly spell and use the word “oleaginous.” O’Rourke managed to do this while raising unheard-of gobs of money nationally. Progressives are arguing that moderate Democrats such as Joe Donnelly and Claire McCaskkill fared no better, but they had nothing like O’Rourke’s resources, or his good fortune in his opponent. And moderate Jon Tester did squeak to victory in Montana.
Governor’s races were also bad for the Left. In the Florida governor’s race, Democrat Andrew Gillum linked his opponent, Ron DeSantis, to racists and white supremacists. Progressives gleefully shared these “dunks” on Twitter. Gillum lost narrowly, as conservative voters passed constitutional amendments making it harder for legislators to raise taxes. Former president Obama poured time and energy into Georgia for Stacey Abrams. She lost, hoping for a runoff, while progressives charged her Republican opponent Brian Kemp with vote suppression. Ben Jealous lost in Maryland, and so did David Garcia in Arizona.