If you’re a Democrat, lost in a restoration fantasy of taking over the Congress next year, now is the time to dream big. Reality, with its talent for smashing the fanciful, will arrive soon enough.
Democratic pundits, trying to cheer up a home team that needs a lot of cheering up, have begun talking up “the wave,” a mysterious gathering storm of public opinion that sweeps everything before it into the Sea of Oblivion. Waves don’t happen often; the last one swept dozens of Democratic incumbents and others out to sea in 2010, when the Republicans gained a stunning 63 seats.
Nevertheless, impressionable pundits have already counted the votes for next year and say the wave is on the horizon. Salon, a web magazine, says the Republicans “may” face a massive wave. The word “may” is the favorite verb of pundits because it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s like putting the chances of something happening at “50-50.” Everything is a 50-50 proposition — either it happens, or it doesn’t. It’s a mouthful of cotton candy.
New York magazine sees beyond a wave and discerns a “tsunami.” Tsunamis are greatly beloved of pundits — but like unicorns, rarely seen. Barely a generation ago in our hemisphere no one had ever heard of one, and now pundits see them all the time.
Nevertheless, prospecting for fools’ gold is fun in Washington, where politics is on the menu at every meal, always the work of a Chinese chef, who satisfies for only 15 minutes. Donald Trump won a wave presidential election last year, carrying a Republican Congress into Washington with him, and already the great Republican wave has receded like the taste of bean sprouts in a plate of Szechuan chicken.