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Looking at the country as a whole, how did the Democrats fare in the Midterms?


The people watching the election results include former Democratic Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, who's on the line. Senator, welcome back.

DOUG JONES: Thanks, Steve. It's great to be with you.

INSKEEP: What do you make of people splitting their tickets in Georgia? The Senate race is very, very close. The governor's race was not.

JONES: Well, I wish more people had done it. I really - you know, I worry sometimes that we're moving into a parliamentary system, where people are voting parties instead of candidates. But what we saw clearly, you know, in that race and other races - people were splitting their ticket. And that's reflective of the candidates themselves and who they are, the race they're running. So, you know, in Georgia, I'm just incredibly encouraged.

INSKEEP: How do you think Democrats have managed to keep this close? And I want to stop for a moment to put this in perspective, if people are just waking up. It is a midterm when the party out of power normally does very well. Republicans are still in a good position to capture the House, albeit narrowly. They still have a good chance to capture the Senate, but they did not get the dominating performance that many had hoped for. How do you think your party has managed to hold up in some places?

JONES: Because I think we've delivered over the last two years. I think President Biden has absolutely delivered on things that he ran on, the things that the American people are wanting. And I think that - quite frankly, that some of the things that they have talked about with the economy and jobs - this is - this economy has been a mixed bag. Inflation has been high, but yet people are working. We - you know, President Biden has created more jobs than any president in recent memory. And that's all important, I think, for folks. And they were looking at the alternatives.

And the plans for the from the alternatives are essentially either no plans, or they're going to do - try to do something - do away with Social Security, do away with Medicare. So, you know, people in this country want folks that are going to be working for them. And I think Democrats have delivered on that a lot better than people gave us credit for.

INSKEEP: Are Democrats lucky that Republicans nominated flawed candidates in many races?

JONES: Of course they are. I mean, you know, look, that was the Republicans' choice. The Democrats, except in a couple of races, didn't have anything to do with that, which - by the way, Steve, I don't agree with Democrats doing that. But, yeah, there were - clearly there were flawed candidates in this race, and Democrats did benefit from that. But that's the American system. Republicans picked those candidates in each of these states. Democrats didn't.

INSKEEP: Well, let's think about the runoff that seems likely in Georgia, although it has not been formally declared. We have this scenario in which - we don't know for sure, but it's possible control of the United States Senate would be on the line, or something very close to that, in this runoff over the coming weeks. It is possible that Donald Trump has declared his presidential campaign. He did publicly say, I'm going to announce something on November 15. What does that race look like over the next several weeks if it unfolds that way?

JONES: You know, first of all, it's going to be a ton of money. You're going to see the airwaves - you're going to see so much money coming into Georgia once again for potential control of the United States Senate. But at the end of the day, though - at the end of the day, I think Raphael Warnock has shown the strength that he needs to win this race. More people will come that way because of his record versus Herschel Walker, who, quite frankly, I don't think has demonstrated that he deserves to be in the United States Senate - his background, everything he's done, and the fact, Steven - and this is not really going through, in my opinion, as much as I think it should - the fact that he clearly is not leveling with the people of Georgia. You've - it's talked about his - the abortions that he paid for those kind of things.

INSKEEP: Well...

JONES: The fact is, people want somebody who is, you know, who levels with them and they can depend on and depend on their word.

INSKEEP: All that - and all that...

JONES: You can't do that with Herschel Walker.

INSKEEP: And all that will be argued, of course, in the weeks ahead if this runoff comes to pass. Former Democratic Senator Doug Jones of Alabama. Thanks so much.

JONES: My pleasure, Steve. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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