And That’s The Way It Is…


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I am reluctant to talk about all that went wrong with the 2022 midterm elections and who or what was to blame. Not because I do not have a lot to say, but because it is foolish to do this when things are still in a state of flux. Frankly, I think certain forces want to keep it that way, but things will ultimately settle down, and that is when a real post-mortem should be done: when heads are cooler, and facts are more clearly apparent.

In My Orbit with Jennifer Oliver O’Connell is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Frankly, I never saw a Red Wave, and definitely did not see a Red Tsunami, no matter how hoped for it was. What I did see is a Republican Party that did business as usual and lacked the fight or the fire in the belly exhibited by Trump and the America First politicians. I’m not talking about just the ones endorsed by Trump. I’m talking about the people who love their country, love the people in their communities, and fought to see their well-being maintained or restored, whether that was in a school board, city council, or congressional race. Essentially, that is what politics is all about. The legislators who drink Kool-Aid from the Potomac have lost sight of this, and truly need to be replaced.

As the song from Monty Python’s The Life of Brian encouraged, “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life,” and that is what I choose to do. Even among the doom casting and infighting going on in Republican, conservative, and other political circles, as well as on the social media outlets, there was much that happened that is hopeful.

Florida Leads The Way

I’m old enough to remember the 2000 Presidential Election, and the mess with voting in Florida. That mess was ultimately reduced down to certain counties, like Broward, and they worked on cleaning it up. In 2018, a narrow victory that gave us Governor Ron DeSantis was a game changer. Then in 2020 and 2022, Florida voted without a hitch, nobody was screaming voter disenfranchisement, and most everyone was content with the results.

Florida elected officials like former Governor and current Senator Rick Scott, and Ron DeSantis have made a concerted, and decades long (Bush v. Gore was 22 years ago) efforts to clean up not only the election rolls in the state, but streamline the voting process, and put in safeguards against fraud. Same can be said for Texas, although they are still experiencing county issues—but they have a governor who wants to, and does, address them. Georgia just did similar work to secure its voting process in 2021; we’ll see what happens in the runoff between Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock, and how it plays out then.

Not treating the vote as a game elected betters play, but as a responsibility of properly educated citizens that should be honored and protected, produces the benefits of clear wins in races, but more importantly, it produces a confidence in the process where citizens choose to cast their vote because they believe it counts and that it does make a difference.

This is the way, and every state that exhibits chaos and corruption (looking at you, California) needs to re-evaluate and revise their system. Of course, that does involve legislators who are on the same page, and as you’ll see below, there are some shifts occurring on the ground to make this happen.

That’s where it must begin, and must continue until change happens.

But watching Ron and Casey DeSantis take the stage, and DeSantis being vindicated because he got things right, while others got wrong was a delight to see. This all portends well for Florida, and ultimately for the nation.

California Also Leads The Way

But not in the way anyone thought. I will unpack the egregious Proposition 1 vote at another time, as well as our own wackadoo system of voting. As I said above, it varies from county to county. Orange County does not use machines: it’s all paper ballots, so while corruption exists everywhere, they have safeguards in place to minimize it.

Kira Davis’ campaign volunteer coordinator Amanda Earnest actually went to observe the vote counting, and she offered some interesting revelations and insights. It’s chopped up over several short videos, but worth the time. Give it a view when you can.

Amanda Earnest on Instagram.

But this is not the case in other counties, particularly the state’s most populous: Los Angeles County. Because of our inconsistent state standards, lack of voter ID, and failure to safeguard against corruption, even as I write, they are still counting the votes, and will be until December.

There is good news, though. Some of the key U.S. House of Representative races have been called in favor of a GOP candidate/incumbent, while others are leaning Republican; no thanks to our feckless Secretary of State and our state voting apparatus.

Facts: clinching the GOP majority in the House is flowing through California. While we have yet to have any flips from Democrat to Republican (though keep an eye on CA-47 and CA-49), we have held the line. On Monday night, the seats held by Michelle Steel (CA-45 in Orange County), and Ken Calvert (CA-41 in Riverside County) were retained and brought the GOP House number to 217. There are three or four more key Congressional races still yet to be called, and any one of them could get the GOP to the magic number of 218, and maybe beyond.

Several of the Huntington Beach candidates featured in the TPUSA-Beachcities Candidate’s Forum are pulling ahead, and look good to take up seats in their city councils. Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates is way ahead of his opponent and looks to keep his job for another four years. Good on him, and good for Huntington Beach.

Kira Davis is less than 1,000 votes down in the Capistrano Unified School Board race, and as of Monday, only 45 percent of the vote has been counted. So we are all rooting for her to pull ahead. Los Angeles County is a whole other mother, but hopes are still high for the Trifecta candidates in Manhattan Beach.

Suffice to say, the grassroots candidates who were clear on their platform, stood for something, and worked hard to connect with their voters have made a difference. The same can be said for some of the congressional candidates who, while I did not interview most of them, I followed their races and saw them in action via video and clips. These candidates and incumbents capitalized on voters’ hyper attention in this moment in time, worked to engage them, and offered responses and solutions to what concerned them. I believe this paid off.

So, for those who curse California to the ground, don’t count us out. Stop cursing us, and start supporting our fight to turn the tide of the state. It is happening… one citizen, race, city, county at a time.

All Eyes are Still on Arizona

Arizona was a disappointment, to say the least. Kari Lake was the real deal; Katie Hobbs represents all that is wrong with our politics. Whatever transpires: if Kari Lake chooses not to concede and seeks a recount and legal redress, or if she moves on to greener pastures, I know we have not seen the last of her. While others may not agree with me, I see her as one of the bright spots in this election cycle and on the conservative landscape.

If you want detailed election coverage from a conservative lens and different takes or post-mortems, is a good place to check this out. I have written some, my colleagues have written others, and it is all insight to analyze, chew on, and debate.

Way too much to list here, and you help all of our coffers by visiting the site and hanging out for a while.

In My Orbit with Jennifer Oliver O’Connell is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Written by CONK!


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