The TAKE with Rick Klein
Not having done as poorly as they thought they would doesn't change the realities of math or the moment.
Democrats at this point know they won't control the House come January, with ABC News projecting at least 218 seats for Republicans as of Wednesday night.
They may enter that minority phase with a new leader for the first time in two decades: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is hinting at a decision soon on whether to step aside from her role as Democratic leader, as ABC News' Rachel Scott, Katherine Faulders and Ben Siegel report.
Democrats will control the Senate -- and maybe with an extra vote, pending the Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia. But neither that nor GOP leadership fights solve recurring issues with getting to 50, to make no mention of 60 -- even as progressives direct blame toward moderates for not helping Democrats address inflation more aggressively and earlier.
And President Joe Biden returns home from a foreign trip where he took something of a victory lap to confront stubborn governing realities, including a long lame-duck to-do list. There's another less-than-welcome gift, courtesy of the calendar: On Sunday, Biden becomes the nation's first octogenarian president.
The elections gave Democrats new hope in what they've been able to do right: winning battleground-state governorships, activating youth and independent voters and effectively disqualifying MAGA candidates in a range of closely fought races.
But former President Donald Trump's early entry into the 2024 race won't make it easier for the Biden White House to get things done in the months before voters begin to care about the next presidential race.
Democrats are having different kinds of discussions amongst themselves than they might have had there been a red wave. That doesn't make the topics that were avoided any less urgent, though.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
The Senate is a step closer to federally enshrining same-sex and interracial marriage rights after a key vote.
Twelve Republican senators joined the Democratic majority on Wednesday in agreeing to bring the Respect for Marriage Act to the floor for debate.
Similar legislation passed the House in July. In the Senate, the bill's sponsors had opted to hold the vote after midterm elections, arguably an effort to get more Republicans on board without fear of being penalized by voters.
"Marriage equality is too important an issue to risk failure," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday. "So I made the choice to trust the members who worked so hard on this legislation and wait a little bit longer in order to give the bipartisan process a chance to play out."
The Respect for Marriage Act would "require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed," according to the bipartisan group of Senate sponsors.
The push for legislation codifying rights to same-sex and interracial marriage comes after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' opinion in the case that overturned Roe v. Wade explicitly called for actions that could overturn other court precedents.
In that opinion, Thomas singled out Lawrence v. Texas, which protects the right to same-sex romantic relationships, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which establishes the right to same-sex marriage.
Wednesday's vote creates a path for the legislation to be passed as soon as Thursday, ahead of the Thanksgiving recess.
The TIP with Alisa Wiersema
On the heels of winning a landslide reelection victory and gaining national political recognition, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to publicly hedge any acknowledgment of his possible 2024 candidacy and how he could fare in an intraparty matchup against former President Trump.
"We just we just finished this election, OK? People just need to chill out a little bit on some of this stuff," DeSantis said Wednesday during a news conference focused on Hurricane Ian recovery efforts.
Questions about the governor's long-term political ambitions are resurfacing given the recent launch of a super PAC by DeSantis' allies to back his potential presidential run, ABC News' Soorin Kim reports. That political action committee -- named 'Ron to the Rescue' -- was registered with the Federal Election Commission on Monday, a day ahead of Trump's presidential announcement, and launched its first round of ads across Iowa and Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Like many other Republicans fresh from the midterms, DeSantis rebuffed questions about 2024 in favor of focusing on next month's Senate runoff in Georgia. DeSantis also took the opportunity to highlight Florida's strong Republican turnout at the polls last week.
"Florida was kind of the biggest bright spot. It was not so bright in many other parts of the country. It was a substandard performance, given the dynamics that are at play," the governor said.
Although DeSantis did not hint on Wednesday at what his political future may hold, he notably spoke in terms of how Republicans in his state should be assessing the landscape after their recent wins.
"Power Trip: Those Seeking Power and Those Who Chase Them" follows 7 young reporters as they chase down candidates in the lead up to the midterms with George Stephanopoulos guiding them along the way.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "Start Here" begins Thursday morning with ABC's Kate Shaw reporting on the Senate's Wednesday vote to codify same-sex marriage protections. Then ABC's Elizabeth Schulze details the recent mass layoffs in the tech sector and the economic factors behind them. And ABC's Kayna Whitworth speaks about developments in the homicide case of four University of Idaho students. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
- Back from his overseas trip, President Joe Biden has no public events on his schedule.
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