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‘Blue wave hurricane’ picks up national momentum

Judge Rebecca Dallet (center) defeated Michael Screnock on Tuesday for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, shrinking the court's conservative majority and giving Democrats energy heading into the fall election. | (Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

Since their November 2016 electoral debacle, Democrats have been gleefully chortling about a massive “blue wave” that would sweep away Republican majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.

Yet there was a red-state Republican, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, citing the blue wave Tuesday after his party’s dismal showing in a key race:

Democratic candidate Rebecca Dallet won, 56 percent to 44 percent, over conservative opponent Michael Screnock, earning her a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

“Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in Wisconsin. The far-left is driven by anger & hatred,” he tweeted late Tuesday.

“We must counter it with optimism & organization. Let’s share our positive story with voters & win in November.”

Dallet’s victory marks the first time in 23 years that a liberal candidate who wasn’t an incumbent was elected to Wisconsin’s high court, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Nationally, the blue wave has been building since November, when Virginia Democrats won the governor’s office and nearly took over the state’s legislature, a longtime GOP bastion.

In December, Doug Jones snatched a U.S. Senate seat away from the GOP in Alabama, beating Roy Moore in a special election. Jones was the first Democrat to do so in 25 years.

Last month, Democrat Conor Lamb won a congressional race in western Pennsylvania, deep-red coal country.

Walker’s is not the only jittery voice in the nervous GOP.

The same day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested the blue wave could reach hurricane force.

“This is going to be a challenging election year,” McConnell told Kentucky Today, his home state newspaper. “We know the wind is going to be in our face. We don’t know whether it’s going to be a Category 3, 4 or 5.”

I’ve spent some time in hurricane-prone Florida. Even a “3” is no joke.

The Democratic Party is gleefully eyeing the signs on the ground, including the ongoing unpopularity of President Donald J. Trump among moderate Republicans and independents; reinvigorated labor unions; and surging grassroots movements like #METoo, Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives.

Here in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam may be ordering hurricane shutters ahead of his reelection battle.

The Wheaton Republican is facing a stiff wind from opponent Sean Casten, who won the Democratic nomination in a seven-way race. In November 2016, Hillary Clinton prevailed over Trump by 7 points.

Roskam, who won his seat in 2006, knows tides can change.

It’s not unusual for the dominant party to suffer major electoral losses in a midterm election.

But a handful of special elections do not make for a November wipeout.

For example, in the aforementioned Alabama contest, Jones beat Moore by less than 2 percent.

Moore had faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, including assaults on teenage girls. He denied the charges. On Election Day, Moore rode to his polling place on a horse. Alabama is still Alabama.

Democrats, let the GOP angst. You’ll need a lot more strategic organizing and spadework to take the House in November, much less the Senate.

You may be feeling the zeitgeist. Just don’t put the cart before the horse.