I’ve heard many people saying that no “wave” materialized for either party. Some conservatives chide that maintaining the status quo should be a massive disappointment.
This could not be further from the truth. The Democrats had a massive blue wave, you could even call it a “tsunami.”
It just didn’t look like one because it cancelled out the red wave that seemed inevitable.
- In midterm elections, the party that won the White House in the previous general election almost always loses a large number of seats.
- Democrats generally do very poorly in midterms at any time because of low turnout.
- Biden’s popularity is very low and people are feeling a very strong economic sting from inflation.
Because of those three elements, Democrats, in any other midterm, would have suffered huge losses. By all rights, republicans should have not just taken control of both houses, they should have done so decisively.
In 2010, Obama lost 6 senate seats and 63 house seats.
In 1994, Clinton lost 8 senate seats and 52 house seats.
In neither case did Obama or Clinton have lower popularity than Biden. In neither case was there a recession or inflation to depress their votes.
For Biden to lose only a dozen or so house seats and to keep all his senate seats—maybe even gain one—is unprecedented at a time like this. Only one in the past 80 years has any Democrat done better in a first midterm, and that was Kennedy in 1962 (lost four in the house, gained three in the senate).
It is arguable that relative to what could be expected, Biden gained at lest 5-6 senate seats and maybe three or four dozen house seats.
Accounting for these realities, what we just witnessed was a blue tsunami.
The reasons are clear: republicans shot themselves in the foot, and Democrats, for once, took full advantage of it.
There were three major elements to the republican death spiral:
- They made it perfectly clear that their top goal was to dismantle democracy and fix future elections in their favor;
- The repeal of Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs decision; and
- Trump’s strategy of primarying out winning republican candidates and replacing them with election-denying sycophants and stooges who were poison to republicans on the ballot.
Democrats successfully campaigned against all three, and it worked wonders.
It didn’t hurt that Michiganders, against the will of the republicans who had rigged the state, ended gerrymandering, giving Democrats the victory that republicans had been stealing for a decade. Let’s hope that other states held in thrall by republicans vote in similar measures, if that is even possible.