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2018 Was a Wave Election


Kyrsten Sinema has pulled ahead in Arizona:

Suspense and uncertainty now hang over the supertight U.S. Senate race, which has Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican candidate Martha McSally separated by just 9,610 votes, according to updated election results.

The results were updated after 5 p.m. Thursday, the first time since election night that the tallies had been substantially updated.

Sinema was leading as of 6:20 p.m. She had 932,870 votes,representing 49.10 percent of the total reported votes while McSally had 923,260 votes, or 48.59 percent. Green Party candidate Angela Green had earned 43,838.

The statewide races aren’t over in Florida either (maybe Bart O’Kavanaugh will fly down for some more violent vote suppression.) But even if Republicans eke FL and AZ Senate out the results for Dems were remarkably good.

Whether this will contradict the narrative that this was serious underperformance — based in part presumably on 2016 PTSD when the Florida results started coming — is hard to say. After all, there are lazy takes from the right, center and left to be written. But this was the definition of a wave.

I would like to single this out from the Stephens pundit’s fallacy wank for particular ridicule:

It didn’t convert when it nominated left-wing candidates in right-leaning states like Florida and Georgia. It didn’t convert when it poured its money into where its heart was — a lithesome Texas hopeful with scant chance of victory — rather than where the dollars were most needed. It didn’t convert when it grew more concerned with the question of how much Trump did not pay in taxes than with the question of how much you pay in taxes.

  • Beto’s small donors are 100% vindicated and the “but why don’t they send money to Donnelly instead?” takes were bad at the time and are abjectly ridiculous now. Perhaps Bret didn’t have budget time to actually look at the election returns in the 20 minutes he budgeted to churn out this column, but the Texas race ended up much closer than the marginal races pundits were urging people to donate to instead, and while Beto lost his advertising contributed to an unusually good day for Dems downticket.
  • All “this was barely a ripple” takes seem to miss the obvious fact that the highest-profile races were high-profile because they were underdogs or longshots. Anyway, to portray a Democrat coming within 3 points of beating an incumbent senator in Texas as Excellent. News. For. McCain Trump is farcical.
  • Please to be citing examples of Democratic candidates focusing on Trump’s tax evasion.
  • LOL at the idea that taxes are a winning issue for Republicans in 2018. If this was true, why was the Republican closing argument “A CARAVAN OF MIDDLE EASTERN TERRORISTS IS COMING TO KILL YOUR FAMILY AND TAKE YOUR BEACH HOUSE” with their latest giveaway to the upper class notably absent?

But hard to get someone to let facts interfere with the narrative when their salary depends on not doing that.

…as Murc says in comments, K-Drum is very good on this point:

Unemployment is at 3.7 percent, a level so low we’ve reached it only once before in my entire lifetime. GDP is growing 3 percent per year. Wages are rising nicely. Inflation is tooling along at a very modest 2 percent. Manufacturers’ shipments are healthy. Consumer spending is strong and household debt is low. Aside from the dotcom boom, consumer confidence is at a 40-year high.

And yet, Republicans are going to lose three dozen seats in the House and cede control to the Democrats. Has any party ever done so badly in the middle of such strong economic performance?

I guess there was LBJ in 1966, after passing the Civil Rights Act and losing the South forever. But that’s about it.

And those House numbers don’t even take the extraordinary gerrymandering of the House into account!


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