The Dick Morris Award for Pre-Election Hype

I know I have zero influence over the rhetoric deployed by Reince Priebus, but still, I’d like to start a backlash against this particular formulation by the RNC chairman:

The way Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus sees it, 2014 won’t be an average election for the party out of power. It’ll be a “tsunami” wave election.

At a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast on Tuesday Priebus said Republicans would see massive gains in the 2014 election, especially in the Senate.

“I think we’re in for a tsunami election,” Preibus said. “Especially at the Senate level.”

“Wave elections” are big-trending events beyond normal electoral expectations. We have two recent examples in 2006 and 2010. “Tsunami” elections, if the term means anything at all, means really big wave elections. 1974 and 1994 are pretty good examples; 2010, at least at the state level, might qualify as well.

It will be normal, not a “wave,” for Republicans to make sizable gains in the Senate this November, if only because of inherently pro-Republican midterm turnout patterns, the tendency of the party holding the White House to lose seats in midterms (especially second-term midterms), and an insanely pro-Republican landscape of seats that happen to be up. If Republicans pick up eight or nine Senate seats, that might represent a “wave.” They’d have to exceed that significantly before we can talk about any sort of “tsunami.”

So cut out the crap, Reince. Pre-spinning elections is even more obnoxious than spinning the results, unless you are angling for the Dick Morris Award for pre-election hype.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.