My hypothesis is that humans are primed by whatever they’ve already seen.
So if they’ve seen a pattern, they’ve already fallen into it. And one of the patterns Republicans enjoyed in 2016 was having the other side be surprised. And they really enjoyed it — I’m talking about the kind of joy you can talk about over the course of your lifetime.
And the Republican personality — I realize this is a gross generalization — is that it’s not always about the talk, it’s about the showing up.
Republicans are going to show up.
And they’re driven by all the things people are talking about, but you cannot underestimate the fun, either. I’ll tell you this: if the Republicans pull out the House [win] — I’m still thinking it’s unlikely, only because other people say so and I don’t know any different — it’s because there’s a shitload of Republicans who are saying to themselves, “They’re gonna be surprised.”
It’s predictable from the fact that they have felt that pattern and that payoff before. They see the same thing happening again, and are reminded of it.