Tsunamis are surprising things. The earth may shake, alarms may ring and folks know they’re coming beforehand – they just don’t know how high, long, or powerful the wave. An earthquake out deep in the distance rocks and shifts the ocean bedrock, causing tsunami waves to resonate, pushing humongous, giant waves over the shores, changing life and landscapes – forever.
Tsunamis build slowly, getting larger and larger, and longer and longer, and keep coming and coming. Pushing aside everything in their wake, they roll over the top of valleys and hills, washing further inland until entire coastlines and plains are overcome.
Last week the 2018 election results rolled out slowly, then built and gained momentum until today, as of this writing, 37 Republican seats have flipped Democratic, with another two expected to fall. Count on 39 Republican seats, almost all having previously voted for Trump, flipping blue with a giant crashing tsunami of voter disgust at Trumpism and Trump the man. While the Democratic candidates fielded were strong, still – this election was a giant repudiation of Trumpism more than anything else. No little squeaker, electoral wipeouts of this enormity happen very rarely. American voters vomited up a tsunami of rejection of Trump.
Perhaps no greater a manifestation of such a turning tide was Southern California itself, with long-held “Reagan Country” Orange County completely inundated and flooded blue. “Reagan County” no more, Southern California, (and most all of California for that matter) now represents a unified blue wall against the blatant offenses and insults of the rogue Trump regime.
It’s said, “As California goes, so goes the nation.” Indeed, the entire West Coast is blue. And most of the East Coast. And higher-educated, higher-income counties and cities dotted throughout the entire country. Check out a map constructed by voter count rather than geography and America looks a very blue, progressive country.
But the progressive, accountable government tsunami doesn’t stop there. Seven governorships flipped. Nearly 600 state assembly and senatorial seats flipped blue. As an American today, chances are you live in a Democratically governed state, filled with Democratic state representatives, fielding a majority of Democrats to the House of Representatives, and likely with Democratic senators, too. And this tally would be even far more lopsided if sparsely populated red “flyover” states weren’t allotted two senators and one representative simply by being square largely empty rectangles on our national map.
This tsunami of “coming back to our senses” was a true wipeout. A sea change and rising tide that will again restore America as a beacon of freedom, hope, and democracy it long was – before Trumpism rose its nationalist head, shredding our values and civility.
With this election, vast majorities of Americans said, “We’re done with the self-inflicted wounds on our democracy.”
“We’re finished with the international gaffes and insults.”
“We’re over with the overt racism. Done with mean spiritedness.”
“It’s time to check and stop the nearly uncountable abuses of power present in the White House over these past two years.”
That’s what the voters said. And their voice changed the entire political landscape and direction of the country.
But the tsunami doesn’t end in 2018. It starts in 2018. This blowout didn’t happen because just a bunch of the regular blue voters all showed up for a one-and-out. Trumpism got crushed because repulsed Republicans defected from the party that abandoned them and voted blue. Repulsed women, tired of Trump’s misogynistic behavior and policy, voted en masse. And, they voted for women, for diverse women, for greater representation. And America’s minority groups – all those folks of all those colors – repulsed at Trump’s non-stop fear-baiting, race-baiting, and white nationalistic baiting – showed up in record numbers, voting their disgust with Trump and Trumpism.
Millions of folks who either rarely voted before or never voted before showed up, speaking their minds at the ballot box. And they learned a lesson they’ll never forget; one that will take them to the polls again and again.
They learned that together, they could win. Women learned that their votes matter. Hispanics, blacks, and others of color learned that their votes matter. Disgruntled Republicans, displaced by their very own party, learned that their votes again matter. And they’ll take this giant lesson learned with even greater numbers to the polls the next time around and the tsunami will grow greater still.
Most Americans want what Democrats represent, and are repelled and disgusted by Trumpism. Literally, they are disgusted. We don’t want to be what Trump says, “is great again.” We shed those white nationalist demons years and decades ago and don’t want to go back.
Having tasted a great victory in 2018, newly empowered voters will turn out in greater record numbers in 2020. Fair and accessible health care, fair taxation, good international relations, decency and civility – will again win the day.
The tide has turned: It’s the tsunami that Trump himself created, and it’s poised to sweep over the entire country in 2020, washing away Trump himself out into a deep blue sea.
Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared on Wednesdays in The Signal since 2006.