This article appeared online at on Thursday, November 18, 2021:  

In Columbia, South Carolina, the second-largest city in the state, a Republican won the mayor’s race on Tuesday — the first Republican to win in 30 years. The Democrat, Tameika Isaac Devine, should have won going away. After all, Richland County, where Columbia is located, went for Biden over Trump in 2020 by 38 percentage points. Barack won the county by 29 points in 2012 and 33 points in 2008.

The winner, Daniel Rickenmann, almost couldn’t believe he’d won:

I’m just overwhelmed by all the support from the business community, the citizens of Columbia, the young people and the old, a cross-section of people.


I’m just excited about the opportunity to serve them and get to work.

Devine lost by four percentage points despite the historical advantage. She even received endorsements for top Democrats, including and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who heads the GOP’s reelection committee, rejoiced: “Last night, Republican [Rickenmann] had a big win. The red wave is coming!”

Democrats are losing, said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who heads up the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, because “we’re not getting the job done on messaging. It starts with the president.” 

Biden needs to get out more, said Maloney, and “tell the people what [we’ve] done.” In response, Biden is out touring some swing states, hyping the victory over the infrastructure bill he just signed.


But, as the No. 1 rule in successful goes, “If you have a bad product, the more you advertise it the faster it is removed from the shelves.”

It’s increasingly likely that the “red wave” will be clearing a lot of Democratic shelves a year from now. Langer Research, a pollster, has declared that “the Democratic Party’s difficulties are deep; they include economic discontent, a president who’s fallen 12 percentage points under water in job approval, and a broad sense that the party is out of touch with the concerns of most Americans: 62 percent say so.”

That discontent is flowing out to the midterms. Said Langer:

58 percent of all adults [that they polled] are inclined to look around for someone new to vote for … [they] currently favor Republican over Democratic candidates by 20 points.

The pollster summed it up:

Republican congressional candidates [now] hold their largest lead in midterm election vote preferences [51% to 41%] … dating back 40 years.

Of course, with the Democrats holding such slim majorities in Congress, it won’t take a “red wave” for the Republicans to regain control. Costas Panagopoulos, a professor of political science at Northeastern University, put it well:

White House worries about a red wave in 2022 are certainly justified, but the is Republicans don’t need much given Democrats’ razor-thin majorities in both chambers of Congress.


A red ripple may be all the GOP needs to tip the partisan balance in its favor in 2022.

With another Republican win in a highly Democratic city, it’s looking like that “red wave” will be much more than just a “red ripple” next November.

Voters are getting the message.

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