Rick Scott’s Potential Mutiny & More D.C. High School Lunch Table Chatter

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rick Scott
If the Republicans had decisively won back the Senate, was National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Rick Scott planning to to challenge Mitch McConnell for Majority Leader? Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
November 10, 2022

Okay, yes, we all know the top-line narratives emanating from Tuesday’s endlessly hyped, semi-surprising midterm elections: the red wave was a trickle, Kevin McCarthy is in for it, Oz lost, and we may not know who controls the Senate for weeks, with the Georgia Senate runoff possibly sucking up nearly $100 million, so we’re in for more animosity-fueled gridlock in America’s favorite company town. And also: Biden lost but really won, and this is finally the end of Trump, say some people, but not at all, say others.

I’ve been working the phones since sunrise on Wednesday to get a flavor of what this town’s insiders are really saying—you know, the sort of groveling high school cafeteria-style observations that fuel Washington during election season: who screwed up, what it all means, and the delineation of the next set of narratives and battle lines. There are some interesting micro observations, such as the fact that a Gen Z turnout strategy worked for the Democrats and maybe Republicans shouldn’t have trashed mail-in voting. But a lot of the private chatter is more macro and cynical. As one senior Republican operative eloquently put it, “Knives are out for just about everybody who is sitting on top of something. Nobody is happy. Literally, nobody is happy.” 

Isn’t that wonderful? Herewith, the key leitmotifs, hypotheses, and observations floating around town right now.