So Much for a ‘Blue Wave’—4 of the Biggest Midterm Takeaways

midterm-democrats-betoIt wasn’t the blockbuster night Democrats were hoping for.

The blue wave fell far short of some of the major wave elections of the past decade.

In Tuesday’s midterms, Democrats claimed a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years—but their electoral gains were muted by significant Republican gains in the Senate.

“This is not a blue wave,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said while watching early election results come in. What transpired looked more like a blue ripple.

In the Senate, Republicans solidified their thin majority, with Sen. Ted Cruz  of Texas defending his seat in a high-profile race against Beyoncé-endorsed Rep. Beto O’Rourke. Florida Gov. Rick Scott defeated Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in one of the most important swing states in the nation, and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley ousted two-term Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, thanks to what many consider the “Kavanaugh effect.”

Historic voting trends suggested Republicans would lose the House. According to Gallup, the president’s party “almost always suffers a net loss” in the House during an off-year election.

While those lost seats will be consequential—producing gridlock and new oversight investigations—historically speaking, the night could have been far worse for the incumbent party in power.

For instance, the first midterm election under President Barack Obama in 2010 was a major electoral defeat for Democrats. Republicans gained 63 seats in the House of Representatives and six seats in the Senate while making significant gains in state houses and gubernatorial elections.

The balance of power shifted Tuesday night, but not as drastically as Democrats had hoped.

1. Historic Campaign Cash Couldn’t Turn Texas Blue

There are some things money can’t buy. The Senate, it appears, is still one of them. Republican Ted Cruz held onto his Senate seat in his hotly contested race against Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who raised a historic amount of campaign cash.

The Center for Responsive Politics estimated the 2018 midterm elections in sum cost a record-breaking $5 billion. Leading in the bank was O’Rourke, who raised an astonishing $70 million. Of that, $53 million came from ActBlue, a nonprofit that enables Democrats to raise money via crowdsourcing.

Overall, the Senate race in Texas cost over $100 million, with Cruz raising another $40 million. Cruz successfully defended his seat, but the race was a nail-biter. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, Cruz had just over 51 percent of the vote, while O’Rourke had 48 percent. That is unusually close for Texas.

While both sides would likely agree that money still matters in midterm elections, it was not the decisive factor in Texas.

2. The Kavanaugh Effect

It was a rough night for red state Senate Democrats who voted against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was the only Senate Democrat who voted to confirm Kavanaugh. He narrowly defeated his opponent, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, in a state that President Donald Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016.

But a significant number of Senate Democrats up for election from states that Trump won in 2016 went down in defeat.

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., all lost to Republican challengers.

Lindsey Graham


One of the reasons we are winning big in the Senate tonight is because of the way Democrats treated Brett Kavanaugh.

Ed O’Keefe


KAVANAUGH MATTERED: Four of the “Big 5” vulnerable Senate Democrats lose or losing tonight: Donnelly, Heitkamp, McCaskill, Nelson. All four voted against Kavanaugh. The one that did vote for Kavanaugh, Joe Manchin, prevails.

According to the Associated Press, the Kavanaugh issue had a particularly big impact in North Dakota.

“[I]n North Dakota, where Republicans picked up a seat that helped them hold onto control of the Senate, voters concerned about Kavanaugh broke toward the GOP by about 2 to 1,” according to AP VoteCast, which is a national survey of the electorate.

3. A Bad Night for Prominent Progressive Candidates

A number of young, progressive stars went down in defeat despite receiving significant national attention.

O’Rourke of Texas was the most prominent defeat, but there were others.

Andrew Gillum, who gained notoriety for his stridently progressive views, lost to Rep. Ron Desantis in the Florida governor’s race.

And Stacey Abrams, who received an endorsement from Oprah, trailed Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, in the governor’s race, though she vowed to keep pushing for victory in a runoff election.

With Democrats now taking the House for the first time in nearly a decade, staking their fortunes on resistance to Trump, it is now an open question who will become the face of the next generation of progressive leaders.

4. Celebrity Endorsements Didn’t Matter

Pop star Taylor Swift endorsed former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, for the Senate. He lost. Rihanna endorsed Democrat Andrew Gillum for the Florida governorship. He lost. Oprah, Rihanna, and Sean “Diddy” Combs all endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams for the Georgia governorship. She lost. Beyoncé endorsed Beto O’Rourke in the Texas race for the Senate. He lost.

Suffice it to say, celebrity endorsements were one of the biggest losers of the midterms.

It appears Americans like Hollywood’s music, movies, and TV shows, but not their politics. Celebrity endorsements didn’t push candidates over the finish line. If anything, they may have done the opposite—urged the “forgotten” people to show up.

Reprinted with permission from The Daily Signal - Kelsey Harkness, Jarrett Stepman

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3 years ago

Do you know the best thing about Donald Trump?.. he loves this country! He didn’t go on a worldwide apology tour, and his wife didn’t proclaim that for the first time in her adult life she was proud to be an American!
After obamas second term I for the first time in eight years was proud of our president again.
Obama Created so much hatred and division in this country it is unbelievable.
The thugs assaulting others better watch out because there are citizens that will step in and there will not be a safe space to hide.
What we permit we promote!!!

3 years ago

Nice attempt at putting a positive spin on an unnecessary loss of the House. Say thank you to Paul Ryan for going on a couple of mainstream Sunday talk shows in the last two weeks and trashing both Trump and his agenda for helping to boost Democrat morale and turnout ahead of the vote. Nothing gins up rabid Democrats more than a Congressional leader of the Republican party bad mouthing a President of his own party ahead of important Congressional mid-terms. Again, thanks Paul Ryan for showing your open distain for a President that has done more in 21 months in office than most have done in 8 years in office. That in spite of your best efforts to undermine his agenda every step of the way. From sabotaging the repeal of Obamacare in 2017, with your own ridiculous Obamacare-lite version to refusing to use the original Trump tax cut plan, developed by Laffer, Kudlow and Moore, as the basis for the legislation. If you had simply adopted the Trump tax cut plan, you wouldn’t have provided the Democrats with the SALT deduction ammunition in blue states and still would have gotten everything you wanted for the C corps. Now please do the rest of us a favor Paul Ryan and get the he** out!!!

Yes, everything stated in the article is true, but we should not believe for second that last night’s mid-term results didn’t highlight some issues we need to address well before 2020. Specifically, the races in both Texas and Florida. The Senate and Governor races were far too close for comfort. In Florida. The margin of victory in both races was less than 100,000 in a state with a population of almost 16 million and at least 5,000,000 registered voters. That should be alarming for what are traditionally viewed as a solid red state (Texas) and a red-leaning purple state (Florida). That trend needs to be addressed ASAP.

It should also be noted that a number of Republicans running for House seats decided to distance themselves from Trump or flat out reject him and his policies. In short, they ran as so-called “moderate” or RINO Republicans in the same vein as McCain, Rubio and a few others. Well last night they all lost, which should not be surprising. They were essentially offering to be Democrat-lite to Democrats and some Independents that wanted the extreme socialist wing of the Democrat party to win. These same RINO’s were offering to be essentially be obstructionists to so-called ” moderate” independents and Never Trumpers (the Bush faction of the party) in the same vein as McCain had been. So they were playing to a very, very segment of the voting public at this point. Thus to fiscally or constitutionally conservative Republicans there wasn’t much appeal there either.

So here are the results of the election for you from my perspective:

1) With Democrats now controlling the House, no new spending legislation on the Trump agenda will go forward. That means no money for the wall or anything else related to the Trump agenda. Budget bills originating in the House will reflect the progressive Democrat values, not anything even remotely fiscally or constitutionally conservative in nature. Look to see a lot of extremely socialist legislation being generated in the House over the next two years. It will be up the Senate and the President to block it all.

2) The House committees will all be chaired by the likes of Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, etc., which of course means endless hearings and investigations on how to “Get Trump”. After all, that has been and will continue to be the all consuming focus of the Democrat party. So expect to see lots of mainstream media coverage of this nonsense, as the MSM is all in on that agenda. As they have been since the day Trump was sworn in.

3) President Trump can still get all his judicial nominees though the Senate, so that process should continue unabated. That is a very good thing.

4) Expect Jeff Sessions and possibly one or two others to be given their walking papers in the near term. The AG has been a hindrance long enough and has to go. Their replacements should NOT come from Congress, as we cannot continue the cannibalize our majority in the Senate to fill Cabinet positions. Someone from outside of D.C., who is a hard-nose, no nonsense law and order type should be brought in to fill the AG position. Not another lifer from the D.C. swamp.

5) President Trump can still do executive orders to get certain things done, but as we all know the next time a Democrat is in the WH all those executive orders will be gone Day One. So we have to understand the implication of losing the House and the ability to get legislation, which is far harder to repeal, done.

6) Finally, this election should serve as a wake up call to those of us that thought the Democrats were gone for good. You know who you are. The results of many of the elections show that the socialist ideology of the Democrats is gaining support. Especially with those under 50 and in states, like Texas and Florida, where one would have thought such toxic ideology wasn’t broadly embraced. The razor thin wins in both of those states by Republicans should serve as a big wake up call to the apathetic and complacent conservatives in those states. You better start trying to reach out and educate some of the younger generations there and elsewhere about what socialism will really mean for them or come 2020, we all might end up getting a big taste of it first hand. All it takes is either Texas or Florida swinging Democrat in 2020 to give the Democrats a lock on having enough Electoral College votes, coupled with California, New York and Illinois, to win the WH. Too many mid-term races in supposedly red states were won by very narrow margins. Some losses in certain other states assumed “relatively safe”, were also a sign where Progressives (Socialists) are gaining traction. So the problem has to be addressed starting now!

Just a thought.

3 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Good thoughts, PaulE. I, too, was struck by the large number of close calls. Charlotte now has a 9-member Democrat county council–not one Republican. The loaded budgets funding liberal causes will drive up taxes, which is why many people move to the Carolinas. If Texas and Florida fall to the dems, all will be lost. I agree with you, that we need to address the young (and immigrant/citizens, for when they get the vote), but that’s something the Reps have never been good at. It’s up to us!
Oh, and Cryin’ Ryan—let him find A Better Whey (in case you missed it a couple of months ago) outa D.C.!

3 years ago
Reply to  Kim

Yes, seniors have to stop behaving like ostriches and expecting someone else to address the stepped up brainwashing that has been done to vast majorities of the young over the last 40 years. There is no one else that is going to do it. Seriously.

The government isn’t going to do it, because the Department of Education was specifically create by Jimmy Carter to facilitate the progressive indoctrination of the young via our public education system.

The establishment Republican leadership has no interest in it, because for the most part they are only focused on very short-term things that benefit the major donors. Long-term issues, like the total mis-education of whole generations of American youth, isn’t apparently viewed as something worth their attention. Most of the establishment GOP leadership expects to be retired and out of office by the time the SHTF. So if we seniors don’t do it and start doing it right NOW in large numbers, Americans could be in for a very rude surprise in 2020.

Ivan Berry
3 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

And a good “thought,” PaulE.
Sorry not to engauge in the “Newsletter. It’s afternoon and it hasn’t appeared yet.
Take care, and enjoy your weekend.

3 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Enjoy the weekend. Not much of a newsletter this weekend anyway.

Dorothy Stabler
3 years ago

We don’t even like Hollywood movies that much. Look at recent box office numbers.

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