Paul Ryan spent part of Thursday whining about the "bizarre" California elections that saw Republicans get kicked out of seven (seven!) House seats in just that one state. This whining is part of a pattern of Republicans all across the country calling into question the legitimacy of the results of the midterms (but somehow not the results that left them in control of the Senate. How curious).
But now that the final national midterm election has been called and Democrats have picked up their 40th House seat, we can take a look at the vote totals and do a bit of math. Just how good was the turnout for the Democratic Party and how bad will that be for the GOP going forward?
Short answer? Very good and very bad. Long answer? Barring an unforeseen seismic shift in the political landscape in favor of Republicans, they are completely and utterly screwed for the next two years.
60 million plus votes. In a midterm. For Democrats. And if you're not already aware of it, Democrats don't vote in midterms which is why Republicans tend to win them.
Still, let's put that 60 million and change in context.
- In 2016 Trump "won" with 62,979,636 votes
- In 2014 83.2 million voted in total
- In 2012 Romney lost with 60,933,504 votes
- In 2010 90.9 million voted in total
- In 2008 McCain lost with 59,948,323 votes
In other words, we just saw the left vote at almost presidential election level numbers. The right had a boost in numbers, too, reaching over 50 million votes but that's not even close to the increase in turnout on the left. Trump has been claiming that he wasn't on the ballot so Republicans didn't do as well but he spent months telling his base that he was, in fact, on the ballot. And in reality, he very much was. That is a huge problem for the GOP.
It's a general rule of elections that Democrats turn out for presidential races. This is why Republicans haven't had a legitimate president since Bush 41. Next time, Trump will be on the ballot and every person that he's offended, attacked, belittled, hurt, or threatened will be champing at the bit to send him a giant "Fuck you!" And while Republicans will have been whipped into a frenzy of rage and fear by whatever new crisis Trump and Fox News invent (possibly two refugee caravans! With rabid sharks hiding among them!), the midterms have shown us that there simply are not enough of them.
This, more than anything else, is why Republicans have put so much effort into disenfranchising millions of Democratic voters as well as convincing the public that voting is a waste of time. They see the math and the number do not lie: Republican voters are a minority and a shrinking one at that. They gerrymandered huge swaths of the country and even with the highest turnout in 70 years, they couldn't keep us from stomping them into the ground. All they're left with is pretending they were somehow robbed and the forlorn hope they can hold on to power.
But, as mentioned before, unless something dramatically changes, the blue wave that just swept over three hundred Republicans out of office across the country will finish the job come November 2020. And they can thank Trump for it.