The Hope of a “Blue Wave” Is Dangerous to Democracy

Repeat after me: The “Blue Wave” is nonsense.

Increasingly, there’s a lot of buzz about an expected Democratic sweep in the midterms. It’s in the mainstream newspapers and cable news (not Fox, of course). There’s a #bluewave hashtag on Twitter, complete with a little tsunami emoji, to tie it all together.

History shows midterm elections generally do bring losses to the ruling party—18 of the past 20 cycles. It is, of course, the preferred outcome for liberals and progressives. Yet, it also, increasingly looks to have all of the inevitability of Hillary Clinton winning the presidency in mid-2016.

We’re in primary season now, and a close read of some key results suggests that Democrats can’t afford to get overconfident. A blue wave may be coming, but there’s a red wave also building. In today’s highly polarized political scene, not even a conclusion to the Mueller investigation that indicts the entire Trump family is likely to make liberals out of conservatives.

Primary results are depending less on messaging than on the parties’ ability to get their bases to vote, and that’s likely going to be the case in November, too.

This past week marked another round of primary elections in five states, and a few things are becoming clear.

One is that Republicans increasingly are the party of Trump. If you wondered why so many Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to criticize the president, even when he embarks on policies that previously have been anathema to conservatives (tariffs, surrendering world leadership to dictators, embracing North Korea), consider South Carolina.

This is where Rep. Mark Sanford, a conservative and former governor, lost his primary election after displaying a modicum of independence from and criticism of the president. Katie Arrington, the state representative who defeated him, took a more pro-Trump line. And Trump himselftweeted his opposition to Sanford three hours before the polls closed: “Mark Sanford has been very…

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