The final votes are being counted from the 2018 election. They confirm that the Democrats crushed Republicans.
Let’s start in the seat count. Republican Rep. David Valadao of California’s 21st District conceded on Thursday to Democrat T.J. Cox.
Cox’s victory combined with other election results means that Democrats have picked up a net gain of 40 seats.
As has oft been repeated, this is the largest Democratic House gain since 1974. It’s a larger gain than Democrats had in the wave elections of both 1982 and 2006.
We can go back even further and see how unusual it is that Democrats picked up this many seats. If you go back all the way to first election of the post-World War II era (1946), there have only been three elections in which Democrats net gained more seats than they did in 2018. Put another way, this was the fourth best performance for Democrats in the 37 general House elections since President Donald Trump was born.
Another way to judge an election is by how many votes each side wins. Democrats’ position in the national House popular vote is now reaching historical proportions.
According to the vote count from the Cook Political Report, Democrats now have a 8.6 point lead. For a party that started in the minority, this is incredibly strong. Minority parties often struggle because even an unpopular majority party is protected partially by the fact that incumbents receive a boost compared to other candidates.
This year’s 8.6 point House popular vote win for the Democrats is the greatest on record for a minority party heading into an election. This dates all the way back to 1942, when the Clerk of the House started listing the House popular vote in its after-election statistics document. That is, the Democratic performance this year was better than the minority party’s in the previous 38 elections.
The Democrats won by a wider margin this year than Democrats did in 2006 or Republicans did in 1994 or 2010. They beat the previous record of 8.5 points Republicans won by in 1946. (Note: I’m assigning the Democrats and Republicans the votes for their candidates on other lines via electoral fusion.)
Importantly, Democrats didn’t just win because Republicans turnout was low. This year had the highest turnout for any midterm election at 50.1% in the last 100 years. Turnout was about 35 million more people than it was four years ago, when Republicans expanded their House majority.
The 2018 large turnout allowed House Democrats to win about 10 million more votes than House Republicans. That’s the largest raw vote margin in a House midterm election ever.
This wasn’t just a blue wave in the House. It was a tsunami.