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Sen Hawley Blames Midterms Results on Conservative Candidates

'It's pretty hard to convince folks to vote for you, if you don't have something affirmative to say and offer..'

(Headline USA) Two days after Republicans dramatically underperformed in the midterms, but even as control of Congress remains too close to call, Sen. Josh Hawley has completed his autopsy and offered it to his party’s leaders for consideration. The topline: The failure is all their fault.

The Missouri populist believes the Republican Party offered voters plenty in the way of generalized gripes about Democrats and President Biden – but no actionable alternative. Hawley blames that on what he calls “Washington Republicanism,” specifically Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He also thinks it was a bad idea to talk about making changes to Social Security and Medicare.

“Republicans just said, ‘Well, the other side sucks, and Biden sucks.’ Well, no doubt! But it’s pretty hard to convince folks, particularly independent-minded ones who don’t tend to trust the process much, to vote for you, if you don’t have something affirmative to say and offer,” Hawley said in a Friday interview.

“I lay that at the feet of the Washington establishment that set the tone for these races,” he added. “They failed to offer that kind of vision.”

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Republicans certainly placed their hopes in voter resentment. They banked on the electorate rebuking a less-than-popular president overseeing historic inflation rates and high gasoline and food prices. And a policy prescription-free midterm was what Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted. After President Trump ran for reelection in 2020 without so much as releasing a party platform at the convention, McConnell was asked if the GOP would lay out their priorities should they retake the Senate majority.

“That is a very good question. And I’ll let you know when we take it back,” McConnell told NBC News in January. “This midterm election will be a report card on the performance of this entire Democratic government: the president, the House and the Senate.”

According to Hawley, that strategy “was a pretty serious mistake.” He says that many voters, particularly “Obama-Trump voters,” just stayed home, essentially reporting back to both parties in Washington through their non-participation that “‘I just don’t trust either of you guys.’”

The U.S. electorate is still filling out the report card McConnell mentioned months ago. Judging by early returns, even if Republicans do manage to take the Senate, their margins will be exceptionally slim. A McConnell spokesman did not return RCP’s request for comment.

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Adapted from reporting by RealClearWire.

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