The Ezra Klein Show: I Don’t Quite Buy the DeSantis Narrative, and Other Midterm Thoughts

New York Times Opinion New York Times Opinion 11/10/22 - Episode Page

The results of Tuesday’s midterm elections are still trickling in, but the broader story is clear: The red wave that many anticipated never materialized. Republicans gained 54 House seats against Bi...ll Clinton in 1994 and 63 seats against Barack Obama in 2010. It doesn’t look as though the G.O.P. will secure anything close to that in 2022, and Democrats could retain their narrow control of the Senate — all against the backdrop of raging inflation and low approval ratings for President Biden.

Why didn’t Democrats get wiped out? Why did so many Republicans underperform while others, like Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, won decisively? And what does it all imply for 2024?

To talk through the midterm results and their implications, I am joined by my column’s editor, Aaron Retica. We discuss why this election ended up being so shockingly close; how Democrats’ performance could, paradoxically, make it harder for Biden to win in 2024; why the significance of DeSantis’s victory is probably being overhyped; why inflation didn’t seem to matter nearly as much to the elections’ outcomes as most analysts believed it would; how a possible DeSantis-Donald Trump fight in the 2024 Republican primaries could create electoral space for more traditional Republicans to break through; John Fetterman’s distinct working-class appeal in Pennsylvania, the moral calculus of Democrats’ decision to bolster extreme Republican candidates in the primaries; the uncertain future of American democracy and more.

(Note: This episode was recorded on the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 9.)


The Bitter End by John Sides, Chris Tausanovitch and Lynn Vavreck

“Hillary Clinton Accepted Her Loss, but a Lot Has Changed Since 2016” by Lynn Vavreck

“Republicans Have Made It Very Clear What They Want to Do if They Win Congress” by Ezra Klein

"What It Means to Be Kind in a Cruel World" by The Ezra Klein Show

Podcast Recommendations:

The Prince: Searching for Xi Jinping (The Economist)

Odd Lots (Bloomberg)

Volts (David Roberts)

EKS Episode Recommendations:

“These Political Scientists Surveyed 500,000 Voters. Here Are Their Unnerving Conclusions.” by The Ezra Klein Show

“A Powerful Theory of Why The Far Right is Thriving Across the Globe” by The Ezra Klein Show

“Donald Trump Didn’t Hijack the G.O.P. He Understood It.” by The Ezra Klein Show

Aaron's essay recommendation:

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" by Richard Hofstadter

Thoughts? Email us at (And if you’re reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at />
“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Kristin Lin and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

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