June 13th seems like a few years back, not merely a few months, however it stuck out for me because that day’s show had Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough go into a rant promising a “massive Democratic wave this fall.” Joe even held up a newspaper to confirm the date, just like a hostage video; which in some ways describes Morning Joe fairly well.
As I had posted at the time: Challenge accepted.
In service to keeping Joe honest on his prediction, I watched the entire three hours of his show this morning.
Please thank me for my service.
As I suspected, Joe did not mention his June prediction once, although he did show a clip from the show made on the same day, one of Mark Sanford pouting after he lost his primary race, but reminding everyone of his big “massive democratic wave?” No chance.
Of course I had made my own predictions about how the mid-term races were going to play out; the Republicans would maintain control of the House and the Senate. So how did I do? Well I only got that half right. The Democrats took the House, gaining 34 seats, while the Republicans maintained control, and gained seats, in the Senate.
As a point of comparison to other recent mid-term elections:
President Obama (D):
2014: 13 Democratic House seats were lost, from 201 to 188
2012: 62 Democratic House seats were lost, from 256 to 193
President Bush (R):
2006: 30 Republican House seats were lost, from 232 to 202
2002: 8 Republican House seats were gained, from 221 to 229
President Clinton (D):
1998: 5 Democratic House seats gained, from 206 to 211
1994: 54 Democratic House seats lost, from 258 to 204
So based on recent history, it’s pretty obvious that there was an opposition party “wave” in 2012 and 1994 for the Republicans. Democrats have made up for that in Presidential year elections, but even in bad years for Republicans, the Democrats have not been able to reproduce a mid-term wave. But a 34+ gain for Democrats this year is fairly equivalent to the damage Republicans took in 2006.
In other words, it was a fairly normal mid-term election. It seems that normalcy was the biggest surprise of all.