Why Warnock won

There were no surprises in Georgia last night. Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock saw off Herschel Walker’s challenge.

The race was close without being a nail-biter. Decision desks had called the contest before 11 p.m. Eastern and, as of early Wednesday afternoon, with 95 percent of votes counted, Warnock has a 10,000-vote lead over Walker (51.4 percent to 48.5 percent).

The result is an emphatic punctuation mark with which to end this year’s midterms, making the Republican Party’s missed opportunity abundantly clear. As Axios’s Josh Kraushaar notes, this cycle is the first time in eighty-eight years that the party in power has successfully defended every incumbent Senate seat. He also notes that Walker was the only statewide candidate in Georgia who lost, a fact that leads unavoidably to the conclusion that Herschel Walker was a bad candidate. Indeed, every other Republican candidate won with more than 50 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff.

The most obvious comparison for Walker is arguably the least flattering, and that’s with successfully re-elected Republican governor and frequent recipient of Trump’s ire, Brian Kemp. He was up against the well-funded Stacey Abrams and cruised to victory by seven points. The long shadow Trump has cast over Georgia ever since his attempt to interfere in the state’s results two years ago means he arguably owns this result more than any other in the midterms: Walker didn’t just earn Trump’s endorsement. He is only in politics because of Trump, a close friend who urged him to run. The lessons for the GOP are, by now, so obvious that I hardly needed to spell them out.

For Democrats, the Georgia result is another triumph for their recipe for success in contemporary American politics: fight tooth and nail in the suburbs and focus resources on ensuring the loyal Democratic base turns out. And in Raphael Warnock, they have a politician skilled enough to energize his own side without turning off ticket-splitting moderates. It worked in Georgia two years ago, it worked again this month, and it is a strategy that Democrats plan to stick to in swing states across the country in two years’ time.

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‘Globalization is almost dead’

Joe Biden flew to Arizona yesterday to celebrate the news that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) will triple its investment in US semi-conductor production. At the $12-billion plant being built in Phoenix, Biden declared “American manufacturing is back, folks.” Sites like the TSMC facility are at the heart of a re-shoring strategy that the administration sees as central to America’s economic and national security interests. The Chips Act passed this summer included billions of dollars of incentives to encourage decisions just like the one made by TSMC, the world’s largest chipmaker, to set up shop in Phoenix.

More interesting than Biden’s remarks at the ceremony were the words of Morris Chang, the ninety-one-year-old founder of TSMC and the godfather of the semiconductor industry. Chang is a fascinating figure on the frontlines of some of today’s most important geopolitical and economic issues. He struck a less triumphant tone than the president. He said that a lot of “hard work” remained if TSMC’s new US chip plant is to be a success, citing the problems his firm ran into when it last attempted to set up shop on US soil.

“Twenty-seven years have passed ,” he said, explaining that the semiconductor industry “has witnessed a big change in the world, a big geopolitical situation change in the world. Globalization is almost dead and free trade is almost dead. A lot of people still wish they would come back, but I don’t think they will be back.” Ominous words from a man who finds himself caught up in the new Cold War between China and the West.

Loudoun County Schools slammed in grand jury report

A Virginia grand jury investigated 2021 allegations that Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) covered up a sexual assault by a “gender-fluid” biological male in a school’s girls’ bathroom, allowing the student to transfer to another school after the incident. The report released Monday found that the school showed a “stunning lack of openness, transparency and accountability, both to the public and to the special grand jury” and found that LCPS “were looking out for their own interests, instead of the best interests” of students.

The initial incident and alleged cover up received national attention, coming as it did right before a Virginia gubernatorial race in which anger at school administrators over Covid lockdowns and parental oversight of what children were being taught were major issues.

What you should be reading today

Bethany Mandel: How abortion falsehoods put lives at risk
Jim Crotty: Biden must do more to disrupt the fentanyl supply
Kara Kennedy: The quiet rise of Keith Poole
Aaron Sibarium, Washington Free Beacon: The hijacking of pediatric medicine
Allison Schrager, Washington Post: We’ll all pay for Uncle Sam’s cheap debt fantasies
Megan McArdle, Washington Post: The new AI writing tool might teach us the value of truth

Poll watch

President Biden job approval
Approve: 41.3 percent
Disapprove: 54.1 percent
Net approval: -12.8 (RCP Average)

Do Americans expect an improvement in relations between Democrats and Republicans next year?
Percentage who say relations between the parties will…
Get better: 8 percent
Stay about the same: 54 percent
Get worse: 38 percent (Pew Research)

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