The initial reaction on election night 2018 was that Democrats did fine but not as well as hoped. I remember Democratic strategist James Carville saying specifically that “it’s not going to be a wave election.”
Well, that turned out to be a little premature. When Carville made that statement, polls hadn’t even closed on the West Coast — where Democrats eventually swept Republicans out of their Orange County stronghold entirely.
And then came the real shocker weeks later as more ballots were tallied — Democrat T.J. Cox actually knocked off Republican David Valadao in California’s 21st Congressional District. That upset brought the Democrats’ net gain to 40 seats.
Now, we’re getting word that election fraud is the reason why a Republican won in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. If there’s a redo election there, Democrats could climb to a 41-seat gain.
Let’s compare to past elections. In 2018, Democrats won all House votes by 8–9% (votes are still being counted, but the final margin is expected to be around 9%). That’s a greater margin than Democratic waves in 2006 and 2008 and a greater margin than Republican waves in 1994 and 2010.
House districts are heavily gerrymandered in the favor of Republicans, which helped limit the carnage. This year’s Senate map was also highly favorable to Republicans, with 10 Democrat-held seats in Trump states up for election but only one Republican-held seat in a Clinton state up for election.
We don’t have to make the same mistake as James Carville. We now have hindsight and statistics. This was a dramatic blue wave that Democrats need to keep riding into 2020.