A “tidal wave election” in the United States is when one political party wins a large amount of seats. The first “tidal wave election” was in 1874 and favored the Democrats. The term “tidal wave” was defined in an 1892 political dictionary, but “tidal wave” fell into disuse.
The term “wave election” has been frequently used in India since the 1970s and 1980s. “Wave election” (usually without the word “tidal") was popularized in the United States again in 2006, when the Democrats won many seats and took control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Charlie Cook of the National Journal helped popularize “wave election” for the 2006 election.
In 2010, the “tidal wave election” was called a “tsunami election” or a tea party-inspired “teanami.”
May 1875, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, pg. 853, col. 2:
Think of what we have had those past years — the horse distemper, the Boston fire, and the “tidal wave” election, all dispensations of what Mrs. Malaprop would call an unscrupulous Providence!
27 April 1876, Indiana (PA) Progress, pg. 4, col. 2:
The consequences of this system of frauds was that Mr. Seymour, the Democratic candidate for President, received a majority in New York city which was 40,000 in excess of any previous or honest majority, and 20,000 in excess of Tilden’s majority in the “tidal wave” election of 1874.
6 October 1880, Lancaster (PA) Daily Intelligencer, pg. 1, col. 4:
In the fall of 1874 he was tendered the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 25th district of Pennsylvania, against General Harry White. The district was heavily Republican, but his personal popularity and the tidal wave elected him to the 44th Congress.
A dictionary of American politics:
Comprising accounts of political parties, measures and men
By Everit Brown and Albert Strauss
New York, NY: A.L. Burt
Tidal Wave. In political parlance an election is said to be a “tidal wave” election when the majority of the winning party is, from any cause, unprecedentedly large. The comparison is obvious.
A short history of the American people
By Oliver Perry Chitwood, Frank Lawrence Owsley and H. C. Nixon
New York, NY: D. Van Nostrand Co.
Indeed, reconstruction was virtually ended and the Radicals had been swept from power by the “tidal wave” election of 1874 before the Supreme Judiciary felt that the time had come to reassert itself.
Republicans on the Potomac;
The new Republicans in action
By John Franklin Carter
New York, NY: McBride Co.
It was a tidal-wave election, which swept Eisenhower into the Presidency with a huge plurality of electoral and popular votes and which also insured Republican control of both branches of Congress.
Elections ‘77 and aftermath:
A political appraisal.
By Akhtar Rashid
Islamabad: P.R.A.A.S. Publishers and Printers
Bhutto’s initial reaction was to fight the storm and debunk the Opposition’s charge that his tidal wave election victory had been unabashedly rigged.
Caste, faction, and party in Indian politics
By Paul R. Brass
Delhi: Chanakya Publications, 1984-1985
A “wave” election may be described as one in which a clear tendency begins to develop in one direction or another towards a national party or its leader(s). It is based upon an issue or set of issues that transcend local calculations.
Understanding the developing world:
Thirty five years of area studies at the IDE
By Hiro’ichi Yamaguchi
Tokyo: Inst. of Developing Economies
Norio Kondo* (1993) has analyzed Indian elections by looking into the so-called “wave election” phenomenon. Kondo points to socioeconomic factors for this phenomenon.
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Subject: Why Vajpayee Won
If an inexperienced Rajiv Gandhi could lead the Congress to a 400-plus victory in ‘84 in the wake of his mother’s assassination (it was a wave election in which even Vajpayee lost), it was because he symbolised Indian people’s concern for national unity and security.
A Powerful Wind
By Charlie Cook
November 22, 2005
The first place to look for pickup opportunities is any district where a Republican is retiring. Even in a wave election, winning an open-seat contest is easier than ousting an incumbent
The Christian Science Monitor
Candidates want Bush’s cash, sans Bush
Republicans welcome the funds he can raise for their campaigns, but are wary of his low popularity.
By Linda Feldmann, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / March 28, 2006
But memories of 1994 are still fresh. Then, a wave of discontent over the Democrats’ decades of control, and a sense that the GOP was the party of ideas and reform, swept the country. Now Democrats are trying to create their own wave - and in a “wave” election, even some seemingly safe Republican seats could fall. So Bush may not even be welcome in some districts that seem likely to favor his party, analysts say.
5 issues redraw playing field for Election 2006
Updated 5/16/2006 11:53 AM ET
By Susan Page, USA TODAY
“I think of it as a ‘mood’ election or a ‘wave’ election,” says analyst Amy Walter of the non-partisan Cook Political Report.
That’s “wave” as in “tidal wave.” They happen about once a decade and are almost always bad news for the people in power.
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Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 19:56:37 -0700 (PDT)
Local: Wed, Aug 2 2006 9:56 pm
Subject: A Tidal Wave Election
Now, I want everyone to understand, the following is not my views or opinion, it is Charlie Cook’s.
Washington (DC) Post
How Many Wins Make Up a ‘Wave’?
Political Scientists Debate the Scope of Democrats’ Victory
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, November 13, 2006
There is no doubt that Democrats did well on Tuesday, capturing almost 30 seats in the House, six seats in the Senate and control of both chambers. But was it the Democratic “wave” that so many had believed was about to sweep the country?
The most common comparison to 2006 is 1994, the year of the last “wave” election, when the GOP picked up 55 House seats, nine Senate seats and control of both houses. But political scientists are divided on whether 2006 stacks up to 1994.
Time magazine - Swampland blog
Another Wave Election?
Posted by Jay Carney Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 3:31 pm
Not at the presidential level, where any sober analysis of the electoral map at this point suggests John McCain and Barack Obama are in a race that will be decided by one or two states. But the congressional map is something else altogether. The latest battleground poll and strategy memo from Democrats Stan Greenberg, Ana Iparraguirre and James Carville paints a grim picture for GOP House and Senate incumbents.
ABCNews.com - George Stephanopoulos’ Bottom Line
Charlie Cook: Political Landscape Should ‘Terrify’ Democrats
September 04, 2009 8:00 AM
No one knows Congressional elections better than Charlie, and he warns that 2010 could be a “wave” election. Here’s the money quote from National Journal:
“With 14 months to go before the 2010 midterm election, something could happen to change the outlook for Democrats. However, wave elections, more often than not, start just like this: The president’s ratings plummet; his party loses its advantage on the generic congressional ballot test; the intensity of opposition-party voters skyrockets; his own party’s voters become complacent or even depressed; and independent voters move lopsidedly away,” writes Cook. “These were the early-warning signs of past wave elections. Seeing them now should terrify Democrats.”
NYTimes.com - The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman
October 17, 2009, 10:25 am
A “wave” election next year?
Lots of buzz about the possibility that 2010 will be another 1994, with the triumphant conservative majority sweeping back into its rightful place of power. And of course, anything is possible.
But the signs really don’t point to that.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Friday, August 27, 2010 • Permalink