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What Does A Blue Wave Look Like When It’s Forming Up Over A Year Before The General?

Big Wins In Pennsylvania And New Hampshire Yesterday

MAGA chaos is a key ingredient for the 2024 blue wave

There were two consequential special elections yesterday. We wrote about the one in Pennsylvania because it was substantively important. With a 101-101 tied state House, the winner in HD-21 (Allegheny County) would determine which party controlled the chamber. Democrat Lindsay Powell beat Republican Erin Autenreith, 65.3% to 34.7%. OK, good; that’s in line with what was predicted, although Powell won a little stronger than was expected. Last year popular incumbent Sara Innamorato was reelected with a nice healthy 63.6%. In 2016, Hillary won 57% of the district and Biden beat Trump with 60%. John Fetterman won it with 63%. Powell’s strong win-- better than any of them-- was a good sign in a solid blue district.

But the more surprising special election was in New Hampshire. Last April corrupt Republican Benjamin Bartlett resigned, claiming health problems but seeking to avoid an investigation. The district, Rockingham 1 in the southeast corner of the state (Northwood and Nottingham) is a basically red district. It has 3 seats and last year all three were won by Republicans. These New Hampshitre House districts are tiny— each of the 400 New Hampshire legislators representing around 3,300 people.

Hal Rafter was the only candidate in the August 1 Democratic primary. The GOP primary had 2 candidates. The winner, James Guzofski had 230 votes. Yesterday, when Rafter faced off against Guzofski, the result was an unexpected sold win for a Democrat in red territory. Trump won this district both times he ran. GOP alarm bells should be ringing-- and not just in New Hampshire. This is very much what a Trumpified MAGA Republican Party looks like at the polls.

Rafter's win doesn’t flip control of the House… but it’s getting close. The balance of power stood at 199 Republicans and 196 Democrats with 2 pro-marijuana independents, ex-Democrat Shaun Filiault and ex-Republican Dan Hynes. After yesterday it stands at 198 Republicans and 197 Democrats (with 2 independents). The next special coming up is in blue territory-- and that is expected to tie up the House, 198-198.

More important, this is just the latest example of Democrats over-performing in special elections— in a year when they would be expected to under-perform (which is normally what happens when a Democrat is in the White House, especially one as unpopular as Biden is). ABC News reported just how consistent this over-performance has been. Of 30 special elections since last January, 24 have exhibited Democratic over-performance and just 6 have shown Republicans over-performing, 4 of them in districts where the Democratic candidate won anyway. The other 2 districts where Republicans over-performed were in backward red rural MAGA districts in Georgia where Democrats have no chance to win under any circumstance.

The Pennsylvania and New Hampshire specials yesterday showed, respectively, a D+13 swing in a blue district and a D+18 swing in a red district. That’s what a blue wave forming looks like. Add to that the kind of chaos and dysfunction Trump is forcing Congress into for his own electoral calculations and we can see the Democrats not just holding their thin Senate majority (especially if Matt Rosendale is the Republican nominee in Montana) but ousting something like two dozen House Republicans next year— and not just in the districts that Biden won in 2020. For example, in 2020 Trump won Ken Calvert’s R+3 Southern California district with a 1.1 point plurality. There’s every reason in the world to predict that Biden will beat Trump in this district next year— and that Democrat Will Rollins will beat Calvert, having lost to him in the midterms last year by just 4.6 points. This ad started running in the district this morning. And similar ads started running against John James in Michigan and Juan Ciscomani in Arizona, two obvious targets for the Democrats.

The next big test will be the Virginia legislative elections next month. Please consider helping flip the Virginia House of Delegates and holding or expanding their thin majority the state Senate by contributing $5 to each of the Blue America-endorsed progressive candidates here. Bonus: if the Democrats do win back the House and hold the Senate, that will be the end of Glenn Youngkin's duplicitous political career.


Jesse Salisbury
Jesse Salisbury
Sep 21, 2023

these numbers are amazing - the contrast between reality and the narrative the media is pushing is very disheartening .


Sep 20, 2023

Does a blue wave, that looks like anything at all a year out, even mean anything?

There was 2008 (a consequence of Lehman going poof much moreso than anything obamanation campaigned on). What'd that get anyone? 2 years between nazi majorities?

There was 2022 when it lost the house, but by fewer than it should have... and the senate was also lost because 2 of your most worthless democraps HAD TO WIN SO YOU COULD HAVE A "majority".

Have your anti-red or blue wave. feel good about it. it's been done before and nothing happened. So do it again if your candidate can stay awake long enough and doesn't walk off the stage mid-sentence cuz he doesn't know where…

Sep 22, 2023
Replying to

Not fear. reality. It would seem that either denial or irrational optimism rules you.

Well, I'll grant you that your sky probably appears bluer to you. But the shithole is still where everyone except the rich have to live. And it keeps getting worser.

Your type had a kind of rude awakening in 1929 in Germany. You'll have another one quite soon here... because nobody is doing anything to prevent it.

We'll see.


I'd feel a little better about a potential Blue Wave if the lead surfer wasn't roughly the same age as the Beach Boys. I'd also feel better if we all didn't assume that our president will largely be a figurehead in the looming budget crisis.

There is SO much opportunity in this election. The GOP is openly showing its true colors about its alleged support for working stiffs in its response to the UAW strike:

Throughout much of the twentieth century, the advent of mass democracy and universal suffrage often compelled the Right to cloak its arguments in the language of fairness and equality. However fraudulent, the gesture was an implicit concession to the reality that democratically empowered citizens…

Sep 23, 2023
Replying to

seems like, I dunno, maybe you voters should be steering the ship rather than let the ship steer itself.

OR, I dunno, maybe y'all should just get on a different ship that you CAN steer. No, not the one flying the swastika. OH SHIT! I forgot. THERE ARE ONLY TWO SHIPS! my bad.

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