DON’T TAKE THE BLUE WAVE FOR GRANTED

Did you hear? It’s 2018.

That’s right! 2016, 2017, those terrible harbingers of nothing good—they’re over! All that despair and injustice that has dominated headlines and the lives of those (lets be real about our readership) less fortunate than you? Gone.

And 2018 is our year. This is when we — lefties-to-reasonable moderates everywheres– take the power back. It’s the turning ripple of the tide that will turn the arc of history back towards justice. It’s honestly, all but a given.

Yay 2018! This means that, practically speaking, Democrats will take back the House of Representatives, the Senate, and riding that unspeakable three-year-bender of good feelings, the White House. Which is a good goal. Very important not just for America, but also, plausibly, for life on this planet.

Why the blue wave will happen

The inevitable blue wave narrative has these elements:

  1. In midterms post election, results tend to swing towards the minority party. Largely true. Many times the party that wins the presidency loses some seats.
  2. Democrats have momentum right now. This seems to be true. There’s definitely evidence in Pennsylvania and Alabama and people are making hardcore, near suicidal attempts to unseat established Repubs in red strongholds.
  3. People hate Donald Trump so much that Dems are automatically gonna win everything they possibly can.
  4. A whole new generation and changing demographics and seriously, everyone is gonna vote Democrat COME ON YOU GUYS.

Why there might not be a blue wave

So here’s my deal.

I’ve not come to bury the idea of a Blue Wave. I’ve come here to praise it! But I’m getting bugged out about how people are talking about it like it’s inevitable. Like this isn’t the result of individual humans getting out to vote, but rather part of some social force, and Donald Trump is just the negative blip we endure for progress.

That’d be great. But it’s simply not the case. You have to vote, you have to organize, and you have to encourage your friends to vote.

A good example is Washington State’s 8th District, a spot that (IMHO) should have been winnable for Dems for a long time, but has been occupied by Dave Reichert forever. For some reason, there hasn’t been the money or enthusiasm to take the seat. Weird.

Let’s say this: There’s a good chance you can vote—or know someone who can vote—in that district. It needs to go Democrat. The House is winnable, and Dave Reichert, a Republican scumbag who paints himself as a moderate, is retiring. This means that both Republicans and Democrats are vying for his seat. This is a race to pay attention to.

Likewise, east of the mountains, Lisa Brown has a chance to defeat her smooth talking, Trump-backing opponent. There’s real momentum there, but many people in Seattle, Bellingham and [insert the town you’re so smart to move to here] still talk trash about the Eastside, east of the mountains, during breaks in their busy schedule of drum circles, yoga, and kombucha drinking.

How to make sure a blue wave happens

So what can you do?

Funny you should ask! Because this bleu wave I’m so skeptical of? It could happen! I could be that horrible Seattle Hipster you prove wrong. HOW WRONG COULD I BE? I dunno.

You gotta vote, donate, and encourage. Repeat those words to yourself. Out loud. [Ed. note: GOTV or GTFO]

Pretend you’ve got a sadistic real estate agent who won’t EVEN let you look at that 1,000,000,004.07 condo rental unless you say:

“Yes. I WILL PAY ATTENTION TO THE DISTRICT I’M IN. I WILL VOTE IN IT. I WILL DONATE TO WASHINGTON STATE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGNS IF I HAVE THE MONEY AFTER THIS RIDICULOUS INVESTMENT I MADE TO BE VAGUELY ADJACENT TO A LAKE.”

I know. That hurt a bit. But you liked it.

So look at District 8. Because taking back the House won’t be as “easy” as people say. Because even maintaining the Senate is a rough chuckle. Because both of those are gonna be crucial to maintaining the fragile structure that classical conservatives claim to respect. Because this is not a time for a protest vote, because this is important. Really.

In the future (by which I mean the last twenty years), I think Dems could have, and should have, been launching more long shot campaigns. I think the Dems could, and should have been doing more persuasive campaigning. That seems to have gone by the wayside because internet.

I’m excited to see Dems running in places they haven’t for a while; you don’t win if you don’t run, and the longer you don’t run, the longer you don’t win. I also don’t believe the values of taking care of each other—workers rights, taking care of the world we live in, equality, fairness, and (to get noble about it) the dignity of the common man—these aren’t “big city values.”

They’re values of kind and righteous people everywhere. So Dems would be better off to run more candidates in places they’ll lose, just to remind people that Republicans don’t have monopoly on decency. In fact, they gave up any claim for it when they nominated Trump.

I’m glad to see the work people have done and are doing. But I don’t want to hear that it’s an existential inevitability.

After all, that was what 2016 was supposed to be.


Also published on Medium.