The idea that this was a wave of some sort is clearly not true; this was a typical realignment of the Congress in a mid-term election. It is also clearly not true that the Republicans have repudiated the tea-partiers and put the adults back in charge; as Charles Pierce writes,
Let us dispense with some conventional wisdom before it petrifies. First of all, the president's basic unpopularity was unquestionably a factor, but not anywhere near as much of a factor as was the reluctance of the Democratic party -- from the president on down -- to embrace the actual successes that the administration has achieved. The economy is, in fact, improving. It is the responsibility of the president and his party that we have the paradoxical polling that indicates that the elements of the Affordable Care Act are popular, while "Obamacare" is not.....The senatorial candidates who lost were senators who ran away from the administration....
Second, it was a great night for voter-suppression, which has been central to the Republican response to the fact that the president has been elected twice....It's going to take days to sort out the overall effect of these laws on the general electorate, even if anyone cares to do so, which I've come to doubt, because the Supreme Court created a new normal when John Roberts gutted the Voting Rights Act and declared the day of jubilee, and the people in the country who are not those inconvenienced by these laws, and who are not those against whose franchise these laws were directly aimed, seem perfectly content with this situation.
Last, and I hate to break this to Tom Brokaw, and to Kasie Hunt, who talked about how the Republicans know they have to "govern," but this election couldn't have been less of a repudiation of the Tea Party. As the cable shows signed off last night, it was dawning even on the most conventional pundits that the Republicans had not elected an escadrille of Republican archangels to descend upon Capitol Hill. It was more like a murder of angry crows. .....Several of these people -- most notably, Sasse and Ernst -- won Republican primaries specifically as Tea Partiers, defeating establishment candidates. The Republicans did not defeat the Tea Party. The Tea Party's ideas animated what happened on Tuesday night. What the Republicans managed to do was to teach the Tea Party to wear shoes, mind its language, and use the proper knife while amputating the social safety net. They did nothing except send the Tea Party to finishing school.The really depressing thing is that it's not clear how any of this will change in 2016. And it is also clear that the Dems seem out of ideas, unable to compelling speak a compelling vision. And Hilary sure as heck doesn't have one--because a vision requires a debate and discussion, not a coronation of someone representing the Corporate Wing of the Democratic party.
It's going to be a long few years.