Because REPUBLICANS ARE IN DISARRAY. As you might imagine, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the Republican side of the aisle (though professional Democrats in New York really sucked ass–not everything is perfect), in light of their underperformance: Democrats held the Senate and might even gain a seat, and there was no Red Tsunami.
In the early Republican post-mortems, much of the anger is directed at Trump–and where he put his thumb on the primary scale, ‘his’ candidates did perform horribly. But blaming Trump himself ignores the humongous elephant in the room (SWIDT?). That is, the role white evangenicals play in the Republican party.
Based on early data, white evangelicals were a much smaller than usual fraction of the total electorate, some of which might be depressed turnout, some of which might be more non-white evangelical voters. But white evangelicals rule the Republican primaries. There is no Republican who is moderate on abortion* that could possibly win a Republican primary (maybe in one or two House seats, but certainly not state-wide). Likewise, most of these candidates have to throw a bunch of red meat on other ‘culture war’ issues to that same base. More moderate voters often find this stuff repellent and mean.
If white evangelical turnout remains low in swingish regions (or declines further), Republicans will have some very nasty intraparty fights on their hands, which will make the intraparty Democratic battles of the 1980s and 1990s seem sedate. But if they don’t have those fights, at best, all Republicans will do is further cement power in places they already dominate**. Until they have that fight, they’re slowly going to lose more and more, especially as the country moves away from white evangelicalism.
Almost makes me feel sorry for them. Almost.
*My guess is that after much trouble, the Republican position on abortion will be tight restrictions on abortion after five to six months, with no federal funding for abortion. Yes, this sounds like the pre-Dobbs landscape. It’s stupid we’ll have to clash over a return to the status quo, but here we are…
**The one exception to this is Florida, where an atypical Latino population (compared to the rest of the U.S.) and a significant and growing number of white evangelicals (and an increasing number of Latino evangelicals), will likely push Florida into the Republican column.