Nancy Pelosi needs a reality check.
The House of Representatives Democratic leader says the Republican sweep in the midterm election didn’t constitute a “wave.” She said voters weren’t endorsing GOP policies and its agenda.
“There was no wave of approval for the Republicans. I wish them congratulations, they won the election, but there was no wave of approval for anybody. There was an ebbing, an ebb tide, for us,” she said.
As much as I hate to disagree with the minority leader, she’s wrong, mistaken, misguided, or just plain ignorant. OK, I doubt the “ignorant” part.
What happened Nov. 4 was a wave.
The GOP needed to flip six seats to gain control of the Senate; it got eight and is poised to win a ninth seat if the Louisiana runoff in December ends up in Republicans’ favor. Republicans also won 12 additional House seats, cementing their control of the lower chamber. The GOP also gained governorships across the nation.
That’s a wave, Mme. Leader.
All is not lost for Democrats. They have a decent chance in 2016 of getting the Senate back — but only if a couple of things happen.
First, the turnout has to improve dramatically from the dismal midterm turnout, which figured to work in Republicans’ favor. We’ll be electing a new president in two years and the turnout for these elections always dwarfs the previous election. That means more of the Democratic base — namely minorities and lower-income Americans — will be motivated to vote.
What’s more, a large number of Republican Senate seats will be on the line, giving Democrats a legitimate chance of picking off a few incumbents, or capturing seats that Republican incumbents will surrender through retirement.
Second, the Republican majority in both congressional chambers stands a fair chance of bungling this opportunity to actually govern. If they shut down the government later this month, or if they actually launch impeachment proceedings against the president over his use of executive authority, well, the blowback could be fearsome.
However, that does not diminish the importance of what happened just a few days ago.
Democrats got swept out of power in a political wave.