Twitter is alive with a debate about whether or not 2018 constituted a wave election. I came down of the side of it not being a wave. I interpret a wave election as one that washes people into office, electing people in what were generally considered non-competitive districts and affects races up and down the ballot and across the map.
That didn’t happen last week. Democrats won a whole lot of races, but they fought for almost all of them. There weren’t a whole lot of surprises other than Democrats winning the vast majority of toss up seats in Congress.
It’s a pretty stupid argument about semantics, really. Republicans took a shellacking in the midterm and Democrats showed that they can both out organized the GOP and outspend them. We’ll see if they can repeat the formula in 2020.
According to Cook Political Report analyst, Dave Wasserman, the only states that will matter in the presidential contest in two years are Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Get ready for an onslaught of media coverage and political ads. Senator Thom Tillis is up for re-election, Roy Cooper will try to hold onto the Governor’s Mansion, Democrats will push to expand their legislative gains to give themselves a hand in redistricting, we’ll probably have new Congressional districts and, of course, Donald Trump will accept the GOP nomination for president in Charlotte.
I suspect the election cycle will start in earnest pretty soon after the votes are officially counted in North Carolina. It will begin with speculation about who challenges Tillis on the Democratic side and whether or not somebody challenges Lt. Governor Dan Forrest for the GOP nomination for governor. New Congressional districts will fall on the heels of those stories.
If ever an election showed that gerrymandering could protect a majority, this one did. Democrats fielded strong candidates, raised substantial money, ran aggressive campaigns and Republicans won 77% of the seats, but only 50% of the vote. Nobody even contested Walter Jones in NC-03. Had his district been challenged, Republicans would likely have had less than half the statewide vote and still won 10 of 13 seats. That’s what you call rigged.
We won’t get a break from politics in North Carolina. We’re a battleground and the next battles are already shaping up. With the next legislature drawing the new legislative and Congressional maps, the stakes are sky high again. If you like politics, this is the place to be.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >