The Red Wave That Never Happened *Updated December 2022*

Jenna Saltzman

With the midterm election results in, it is evident that the immensely advertised red wave that was supposed to occur never did. In the end, with Democrats barely winning the majority in the senate and Republicans barely winning the house, there was no red wave and Democrats pulled through with the strongest voter turnout they’ve had in years. 

Republicans had actually won by 9 points in the 50 to 64-year-olds age range and 12 points among people over the age of 65. However, nearly canceling out the older age groups predominantly Republican votes, exit voting polls found that one in eight midterm voters were under 30, and 61% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 voted for Democrats. 

“We would have had a red wave, actually, if not for younger people” (NPR News). As a response to this influx in young people voting Democrat, many Republicans including Fox News pundits Jesse Watters and Laura Ingram suggested increasing the legal voting age to 21. 

Along with the majority of Gen Z voting Democrat, young women, especially, prevented a red wave with the exit polls showing that 72% of women aged 18-29 voted for Democrat candidates. 

While a variety of things could have influenced this overwhelmingly Democrat voter turnout amongst young women, one of the strongest incentives to get them out to vote was the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe V Wade. 

Along with that, only making it worse for Republicans, was the bill introduced September 13th by Lindsay Graham on a nationwide ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.  This bill according to Lindsay Grahm set America’s abortion policy at a level that is “fairly consistent with the rest of the world.” 

As a result of Democrats holding a very slim majority in both the House and Senate at the time of the bill being introduced, there was no way it could be passed but if the majority in the house and senate shifted to Republicans, the bill would likely be passed. 

According to Pew Research Center, 62% of woman believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases with many considering it one of their most important issues when coming out and voting in this midterm election. 

In a New York Times interview with Urica Carver, a single mother of six children from Miami Beach who is a registered Republican, she declared that in this election she voted all blue stating that the right to an abortion was her main, core issue. “If they didn’t support that right, regardless of who they were, they were not getting my vote.”

One of most surprising election results was in Georgia which many believed would remain red in the senate. With neither Republican candidate Herschel Walker or Democrat candidate Raphael Warnock winning over 50% in the original election, a runoff was called to happen. While it originally appeared that Herschel Walker would win by a landslide, on December 6th, Raphael Warnock ended up pulling through winning 51.4% of the votes becoming Georgia’s 117th senator.

With all of this in mind, unless Republicans make a change to how they appeal to young people, it’s unlikely a red wave will be occurring anytime soon and as time goes on, the population of young voters can only increase and old voters decrease.