Were the 2010 midterms a wave election? Were the 2018 midterms? Compare and contrast

In 2010, the GOP victory, such as it was, was covered as a “shellacking,” to use the President’s term at the time.

Obama admitted that the Republicans had given his party a severe beating – or as he termed it, a “shellacking” – and said it had given him a late and uncomfortable night. “Some election nights are more fun than others,” he said. “Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling.”

At a White House press conference, he portrayed himself as contrite after the election results, which saw the Republicans make gains across the country, capturing control of the House of Representatives with a majority of more than 60 and just failing to win the Senate.

He admitted he may have been out of touch with the mood in the US, saying that was a consequence of being in the White House “bubble”, and maybe he had got the message wrong during campaigning.

“The election . . . underscores for me that I’ve got to do a better job, just like everybody else in Washington does.”


The New York Times covered the 2010 midterms as a “resurgence” for the GOP:

The outcome on Tuesday was nothing short of a remarkable comeback for Republicans two years after they suffered a crushing defeat in the White House and four years after Democrats swept control of the House and Senate.


I remember around hannity.com, we had four years of people using the phrase “the people’s House,” following John Boehner’s exhortation:

“While our new majority will serve as your voice in the people’s House, we must remember it is the president who sets the agenda for our government. The American people have sent an unmistakable message to him tonight, and that message is: Change course.”

How do you compare the broad outlines of 2010 with 2018?

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Give my thread some love, you mugs.

I am trying to procrastinate here on a Friday, so don’t **** it all up!


Republicans picked up seats in the senate, lost seats in the house. Call it a wash. By Obama’s definition of job performance, the people want Trump to keep being Trump.

A “wash”? Why did the GOP winning the House (but not the Senate) mean more in 2010 than the Democrats winning it in 2016? Seems that if winning the House was a big deal in 2010, it would be a big deal in 2018.

They picked up seats in both in 2010, prompting Obama to make that statement.

But this is parsing: the House is what mattered. If the GOP had actually won the Senate back in 2010, I’d see your point. As it is, it seems a thin reed of special pleading to use for the purpose of implying 2010 was a “wave election,” but 2018 was not.

How was the economy doing in 2010 versus 2018?

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Ding Ding Ding.

how bout your definition. How did trump help the 21 house incumbents who lost?

I guarantee you Leonard Lance (and I am sure some of the others rues the day of Trumps election.

Quite a few of them would still have nice cozy house seats instead of the unemployment line come january. Trump being trump sure didnt help them.


I think in that context, and with a president proclaiming this is “the best economy ever”, losing the house that badly, losing governorships, and 2/3 of your endorsments rejected is a clear wave. It was a tough year for the dems in the senate with 42 secure republicans seats, but their pickup of a couple seats could be the one slight negative the GOP could point to.

I like the bizarre, incoherent glide from the GOP loses the House (as Boehner said, “the people’s House”) directly to “the people want Trump to keep being Trump.” Yeah, that makes sense.

To me, the thing about 2010 was the number. 63 seats is a lot of seats. More than double what the dems picked up in 2018. The only way a president would lose that many seats, is if the populace is really angry with him. I think that was the case in 2010. Remarks like “Elections have consequences” really turn out the opposing side. Say what you want about GW Bush, but he had humility. Obama had condescension, a big difference. What Trump has you can fill out for yourself.

Oh good point. In 2010, the GDP had just rebound

Slight fact correction. The dems are on their way to approx +37, so thats about 70% more than the republicans picked up in 2018.

70% is a lot but not 100% or more.


No, the house and senate are what mattered in 2010 as dems lost seats in both, hence the shellacking. The overall swing then was 19% to the right, compared to 10% to the left this round. Since Republicans not only retained the senate but picked up seats, I’d call it a wash at this point. We’ll have to wait until 2020 to see if the needle moves more in the lefts favor or the right in my estimation.

I don’t know about nationally, but here in Michigan, the Democrats won the Gov, Sec of State, AG, Senator, gained on SC, gained two US house seats, won all university boards, and would have gained the state houses if not for horrendous gerrymandering. All three ballot proposals passed to make it easier to vote and toke, and remove redistricting from the legislature.

So, regionally at least, I think it was a wave election.

Regionally would be called a ripple election. Like dropping a rock in a pond.

or seat depending on the Florida recount and arizona mail count turn out.

so would you still consider a gain of 1 or 2 senate a wash.

compared to +37 in the house for the dems


7 governorships is a regional ripple?


Considering there are only 100 senate seats, yes. Percentage wise, I’d call advantage republicans.

So just to clarify re: the OP: you see 2010 as a genuine GOP wave election, but the 2018 as not a wave election for the Democrats.