Everybody agrees that Republicans will win the midterm elections and stand a better-than-ever chance of controlling the Senate. For months, a debate has raged over why. One analysis is structural. Democrats rely heavily on minorities and the young, who tend to skip midterm elections, making the electorate more Republican than the one that shows up at the polls every four years. Additionally, the Senate races this year force Democrats to defend far more seats, many of which are held in Republican territory.
The competing analysis is that the election represents a “wave.” Wave-theory advocates don’t deny that structural forces favor the GOP, but they tend to emphasize a backlash by the voters against President Obama and his policies. This way of thinking has particular appeal to conservatives, like Michael Barone (“That should settle the ongoing argument in psephological circles about whether this is a “wave” year”), Jennifer Rubin (“The intensely anti-Obama wave will lift many, but not all, Republican boats”), and Josh Kraushaar. Wave advocates see the midterms as America’s righteous punishment against liberal overreach.