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54,543 Voters

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

54,543 people.

Less than 2 hundredths of one percent of the U.S. population.

That's the extent of the "blue wave" which occurred on November 6th.

True, that isn't what you've heard on MSNBC, who crowed that 8,805,130 more voters voted for Democratic House candidates than voted for Republicans -- a record.


That figure isn't wrong. Just irrelevant.

The 8,800,000 wasted votes in places like California, New York, and Boston that piled up massive "blue" supermajorities in "super-blue" urban districts and states isn't a good thing for the Democrats; it's their central problem.

The fact is that control of the House was determined in 17 congressional districts. And in those 17 districts, Republicans would still control the House if they had been able to flip a total of 54,543 votes.

Remember the polls showing that Americans favored Democratic control of Congress by a margin of 10%? As a result of those polls, 40 Republican House incumbents fled from office. But, like the 8,805,130 figure, those polls were weighted down by "super-blue" districts. And it turned out that the 40 GOP departures gratuitously threw control of the House into the air because they believed numbers which, if not fraudulent, were fraudulently used.

In marquee races, the inaccuracies continued to the end. On October 31, Fox predicted that Donnelly would win by 7% in Indiana. On November 1, NBC/Marist projected that McCaskill would prevail in Missouri by 3%. Harris thought Tester would be reelected by 8%, rather than winning in a squeaker.


But the Senate races were too big to give away. And, when the GOP persisted, they proved the pollsters wrong.

The bottom line is that, as in 2012, it was the GOP reaction to misleading polls -- not the accuracy of the polls themselves -- that turned their predictions into reality.

So, looking forward to 2020, where are we?

Well, you remember that Democrats spooked Republicans by talking about the unique dynamics of non-presidential elections -- and particularly the first "off-year election" of a new presidency. They cited 1994, 2006, and 2010 for the inevitability of historic Republican losses.

Now, having won an election which was marketed as atypically favorable to the them, Democrats are holding up those results as "the new paradigm."

It isn't.

In 2018, Republicans were tarred to Donald Trump, with all his merits and demerits. Democrats running in "red" districts simply lied -- and swore that they wouldn't vote for Pelosi for speaker.

In 2020, the Democrats will have "face" which they can't disavow. And that "face" is likely to have a lot of flaws. That's why every president in my long lifetime has won reelection -- except for two. And those two had to work very hard at destroying their presidencies.


So remember:


- despite the fact that the lion's share of the $5.2 billion spent on campaigns this year was spent on behalf of Democrats;

- despite the billions of dollars of additional support for Democratic candidates provided by the media;

- despite campaigns by multi-billionaires like Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg -- with Bloomberg apparently giving most of his $110 million at the last minute, in order to evade campaign reporting laws.

Despite all this, in the end, they only bought 54,543 votes.

And guess what? Steyer and Bloomberg will have their own candidacies to spend money on in 2020.

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