The “Red Wave” Was More Of A Meme Opportunity Than Any Big Political Swing

The force of the red wave became more of a meme than a descriptor for how the midterms went.

To commemorate Election Day, conservatives took to Elon Musk’s disintegrating platform to project the end of Democratic representation. “This election must be, for the Democrats, an EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT,” conservative commentator Monica Crowley tweeted.

#RedWaveComing trended Tuesday afternoon as pro-MAGA tweeters used Donald Trump’s adored “red wave” phrase for Republican candidates attempting to clinch crucial seats. One meme was shared widely — a self-explanatory image of a big crimson wave coursing through a neon blue sky.

The red wave didn't materialize for Republican Mayra Flores in her reelection bid for Texas's 34th Congressional District — she ultimately lost to Democratic challenger Vicente Gonzalez. Flores had tweeted the red wave meme early on Election Day with the caption “TODAY’S FORECAST.”

Twitter: @MayraFlores2022

One user edited Trump to be dressed as Bob Ross (identity fraud) while painting the red wave. One imagined the red wave spray-painted onto a sign (sure). Another showed the red wave as an eagle (confusing) about to crash down on a Democratic donkey (also unclear why the donkey was in the ocean).

Twitter: @VanGo1979

But by Wednesday morning, #RedTrickle was trending on Twitter. Even South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham acknowledged that it was “definitely not a Republican wave.”

“Looks like the red wave was actually just some mid-cycle spotting,” one viral tweet read.

Conservatives have long had iterations of rallying imagery for their political efforts. From the appropriation of Pepe the frog to Wojak (also known as the Feels Guy), memes have become a core part of right-wing ideology that disseminates one specific pillar of beliefs.

Twitter: @keithedwards

Looks like the red wave was actually just some mid-cycle spotting.

Twitter: @MissesDread
Twitter: @ProjectLincoln

Both parties are still attempting to close in on the coveted 218-seat majority to see who will control Congress.

The red wave meme had potential. It feels like an ideal format for non-Republicans to play around with and that got limited use, possibly due to the caution of progressives fearful of democracy unraveling.

But may we propose that this meme format also works to highlight anything that is overhyped or doesn’t deliver as promised? And while we wait to see all the eventual winners, here are a few red wave memes we made ourselves to get us all started.

the meme image of Jason Derulo falling down the steps of the Met Gala inside a red wave
Lea Michele inside a red wave
Rotisserie chicken guy in a red wave