During the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, there was much talk of a supposed “blue wave” that liberals said would hit the House and Senate. But much to the dismay of pundits like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the “wave” barely materialized as an average tide in the House and proved virtually nonexistent in the Senate.
Still, in an attempt to prove that the nonexistent “blue wave” actually did sweep the nation, Maddow recently cited a nonsensical metric known as the “House popular vote” — the total number of votes cast for House candidates nationwide — to show how Democrats in 2018 gained more total votes than Republicans did with their wave election in 2010.
Yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds.
There’s one glaring problem with Maddow’s assertion: there is no such thing as a “House popular vote.”
The House is determined by completely separate elections in the 435 separate congressional districts across the nation, and the “popular vote” for any of those candidates is utterly irrelevant outside of their own district.
Still, Maddow tweeted on Friday:
“As of this morning, the Democratic lead in the US House popular vote is up to 7.3%, from 7.2% yesterday. For comparison purposes, note that in 2010 – which was widely seen as a GOP “wave” cycle – Republicans won the US House popular vote by 6.6%.”https://t.co/p6HxY6iDwo
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) November 16, 2018
Nonsensical and useless metric
In essence, all Maddow was doing was highlighting how more votes had been cast for Democratic House candidates in total this cycle compared to the total votes cast nationwide for Republican House candidates in 2010.
But even in making use of the nonexistent metric to gauge Democratic success, Maddow was still being duplicitous with her followers, as she focused in on the vote total percentages and not the actual number of House seats that were won — which is an actual metric used to measure electoral success.
Indeed, while Democrats may have garnered a 7.3 percentage point lead in total votes cast for House candidates, they only netted between 30-40 seats in the House. Comparatively, while Republicans may have only led Democrats by 6.6 percent in total votes cast in 2010, they managed to snag 63 House seats away from Democrats.
Not the only one
The Daily Caller also noted that Maddow was not alone in her attempt to polish the 2018 Democratic House efforts with the nonsensical metric.
Numerous other pundits and pollsters on the left had also cited the non-existent “House popular vote” total — as well as the even more useless “Senate popular vote” — to try and argue that Democrats had actually done better in the elections than the seat totals would suggest.
In reality, the purported “blue wave” of Democratic voters was little more than an average rising tide of opposition voters that historically have granted control of the House to the party opposite the president in that president’s first midterm election — and even this historical swell of support was less than in previous cycles.
In truth, the “blue wave” came up against and was virtually canceled out by a near equal “red wave” of determined Republican support that kept House losses to an acceptable margin and actually gained seats for the GOP in the Senate — and those seats are really all that matter, regardless of how many people nationwide voted for their respective Democrat or Republican candidates.