Since election night on November 6, the media has been coming up with narratives about how the midterm results are negative for Democrats. With the vote counting now essentially complete, it is clear these narratives keep proving false.
A few weeks ago, election night began with the story that the Blue Wave™ failed to materialize. While that storyline was reversed relatively early, some high-profile defeats helped that sense of Democratic underachievement to linger.
It turns out that the expected dramatic crashing wave of Democratic victories was actually more of a tsunami — a relentless flow of victories that has brought Democrats into power in the House, and beyond. Democrats picked up 39 seats in the House, needing 23 to gain control of the chamber.
Beyond the number of seats, Democrats saw one of their biggest victories in the House since Watergate, with vote totals giving them a 53% to 45% edge over Republicans, representing an 8.6 million vote margin with a presidential-election year type of turnout.
A telling example of the wave is in Orange County California, the heart of Reagan country, where all seven of the Representatives are now Democrats.
The Democratic wave was not limited to Washington, D.C., either. They flipped seven governorships, control 13 states now compared to seven, and broke Republican supermajorities in three states. These wins will be important moving into a census year to fight against Republican gerrymandering efforts, as well as thwart voter suppression activities in those states.
Perhaps one of the bigger fake news stories to emerge from the midterms was how the Democrats continued to lose rural America. The first piece to debunk this came from Daniel Block at Washington Monthly just a few days after the election. Using election data, Block looked at how rural votes impacted races in Kansas, Wisconsin, and Montana.
“On the whole, Democrats performed better in rural areas during these midterms than in 2016, which helped the party win some of its most consequential victories,” he wrote.
In The New York Times, pollster Stanley Greenberg also picked up on the false rural voter narrative. Greenberg notes that the biggest increase in Democratic votes came not in the suburbs (which saw a substantial increase that brought a number of House victories), but in rural areas. “That was the shocker,” he said.
“Democrats cut the Republicans’ margin in rural areas by 13 points, according to the Edison exit poll and by seven points in one by Catalist. Democrats still lost rural America by somewhere between 14 and 18 points so that left Democrats in a pickle there. That had implications for the Senate, but it shouldn’t conceal the fact that Democrats actually made progress in rural areas.”
As more and more analysis of the 2018 midterm elections is done, those early narratives of doom for Democrats is proving to be just so much fake news. Like Mark Twain, reports of Democrats’ death are greatly exaggerated.
As you savor the the Blue Wave — despite the reports — you can also savor an Obituary Cocktail.
From Robert Simonson’s excellent book 3-Ingredient Cocktails, the Obituary Cocktail is:
2 oz gin
.25 oz dry vermouth
.25 oz absinthe
Stir over ice for 30 seconds, strain into a chilled coupe, garnish with a lemon twist