Call it a blue wave or a purple puddle. There are certain tides in politics. But good candidates can ride or resist them much better than others.
The GOP House field reflected a disoriented and disorganized House at war with itself and incapable of fastening its own pants. Meanwhile the GOP Senate field, not entirely, but partially, reflected more competent Senate GOP leadership.
The Republicans lost winnable House races because they put forward terrible candidates. The Democrats repeatedly built races around their candidates. And many Republicans struggled to do the same. A combination of moribund incumbents, out to sea in the new GOP, and terrible new candidates lacking basic campaign skills cost the Republicans the House.
This showed up most markedly in some of the suburban races.
Contrast that with John James' incredible performance in Michigan.
Great candidates create their own energy. Bad candidates have to be carried by party infrastructure. Good candidates need some of both. This time around, the GOP had too many bad candidates and bad timing for the party infrastructure.