As we inch closer to the first midterms since President Donald Trump’s shocking election, an increasing number of Democrats and political pundits have forecasted a massive, rolling tide referred to as the “Blue Wave” coming from the left that is expected to crash on congressional shores. As inevitable as this shift in political power may seem to those on the left, especially those who identify as party absolutists, Republicans may have enough on their side to impede the attempt since at a minimum all they need to do is allow Democrats to shoot themselves in the foot.
There seems to be a certain air floating around and seeping through cracks in the minds of left leaning voters that has them convinced that they may just have a shot at turning the congress blue in this year’s midterm elections. This could be a result of over-sensationalizing new, unproven candidates and the process of ascribing a certain vision to them in order to gather unfettered support.
Even though midterms experience significantly less voter turnout than presidential elections, including historically low numbers in recent years due to a multitude of reasons, Democrats still have out of the gate confidence to possibly lasso in voters to their side. This is partially attributed to the democratically manufactured and incessantly supported high-profile candidates like New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Texas’ Beto O’Rourke showing up to contest House and Senate seats, as well as to the demographic diversity across all national congressional seats.
One of the more highly touted congressional candidates of the past year was Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez representing New York’s 14th Congressional District. Her historic defeat of the 10-term incumbent, Democrat Joe Crowley by a margin of 15 percentage points seemed to hint towards a new era in congressional races, and potentially giving way to more radically left and socialistic ideas.
Yet this was completely minimized and inverted by her fundamental ignorance of political inner workings and economic knowledge. Ocasio-Cortez has frequently spouted extravagant and unrealistic socialist ideas like Medicare-for-all and abolishment of student debt while simultaneously being unable to answer how she will fund these programs. This unintended, or willfully ignorant rhetorical juxtaposition is the kind of thing that opposing views gain ground on. Those who are able to see past these grandiose and unrealistic ideas can see that she is just grandstanding.
A similar race for a senate spot is happening in the heavily red lone star state. Texas’ incumbent senator and 2016 presidential candidate, Republican Ted Cruz, is facing off against the states’ 16th Congressional District Representative, Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who won over 60 percent of his party’s nomination.
O’Rourke has ushered in a different, and less standard type of opposition than the majority red state of Texas is used to. The former punk rocker has been rallying with celebrities like country star Willie Nelson, in hopes of gaining popularity through famous connections. This effort by the democratic senate candidate will more than likely be futile simply because Texas has seen a state government trifecta spanning the last 15 years, and a majority republican state government since 1997. This may however set a precedent in the deeply red state where democratic turnout was the highest in a decade and give hope to future democratic candidates looking to challenge republicans.
Government races do not only shape politics in the United States. National scandals reaching as far as the supreme court have rocked the essence of our democracy, pitting left leaning Americans against their right leaning counterparts.
United States Supreme Court nominee and U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the D.C Circuit Brett Kavanaugh has found himself in the midst of sexual assault allegations. Three women have come forward and accused the nominee of sexual assault, some dating back nearly forty years. Those that lean left see this as instant disqualification, even if all of the allegations are uncorroborated and lack any sort of proof.
This sort of absolutism and complete disregard of due process that is constitutionally afforded to American citizens is enough to sway those who believe in the presumption of innocence. Democratic pundits and current congressional members have pushed away anyone who might have been riding the partisan fence with this sort of action and rhetoric.
Although not a direct result of the sexual allegations, some congressional candidates have seen real world effects for showing opposition to candidates. Nowhere is this more apparent than the senate race in Missouri. Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is running for re-election against Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. McCaskill has been openly against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s judicial beliefs. This has proven damaging to her potential bid for re-election. A recent survey conducted by the Remington Research Group on behalf of the Missouri Scout found that nearly 50 percent of Missourians were more likely to vote for candidate Hawley, compared to 42 percent in favor of the incumbent in regard to the Kavanaugh nomination.
Although a lot of shifting and change is occurring within the Democratic Party, with potential to take root and achieve victory in future congressional races, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of convincing points in favor of this year’s upcoming midterms. If taken at face value it would be hard to argue against the blue wave, but once you dig past the partisan fandom that plagues the Democratic party, you may just be able to see the light on the other side of the tunnel.