Dissecting the Election
By: Craig Chamberlain
Here it is, the day after the massacre of 2010. This is the third wave election in a row, and one of the most remarkable turnarounds in American history. The average amount of time that a party controls Congress is ten to twelve years, the Democrats managed to lose the house in just four years. This is the first time since 1946 that the Democrats will have fewer than 200 members in the House of Representatives. Democratic stalwarts like Congressmen Spratt, Olberstrart, Kanjorski, Taylor, Marshall, and Skelton went down to defeat.
Predictably, the Democrats retained control of the Senate. And as irritating as it is Harry Reid is still the majority leader of the United States Senate. The left can try to gloat that they retained control of the Senate, and therefore the GOP “lost.” Yet it should be remembered that no one besides Dick Morris ever claimed that the Senate would be taken over by the Republicans. Still the GOP made gains, winning seats in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and North Dakota, with the races in Washington and Colorado being too close to call.
The GOP won governors races in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, and likely victories in Florida, Oregon, Maine, and Illinois. There were losses in California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The GOP also swept state legislature races across the country. In Florida the GOP expanded their leads to have veto proof majorities. North Carolina went GOP for the first time since reconstruction, Maine went GOP for the first time since 1930, Michigan went GOP and Pennsylvania and Ohio expanded their majorities. This wasn’t just a wave on the federal level, but on the state level as well. This wasn’t an anti incumbent wave, but an anti Democratic wave. The Democratic party lost in places that they traditionally control, such as Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
So what else can we take away from this election. We know that the GOP wave was deep and extended into areas into that are traditionally held by Democrats but there are several other points that we can learn. 1) The tea party made mistakes. While they were able to dominate the primary process there success rate in the general election was mixed. The Republicans of Nevada managed to nominate the one person in Nevada with a bigger disapproval rating than Harry Reid. Joe Miller looks like he will lose the Senate race in Alaska, Christine O’Donnell, while the winner of the GOP primary had no chance of winning the general election. The successful candidates were the ones who were supported by both the tea party movement and the state Republican party such as Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, and Marco Rubio in Florida.
2) The Obama agenda is now dead. The Democrats might control the senate, but their majority is not an operational one. With the GOP in control of the house, and at least 47 seats in the Senate, the Democrats can no longer advance their agenda. Cap and Trade won’t get through the Senate. Immigration amnesty won’t happen. The flip side of this is that the GOP agenda of repeal won’t go anywhere either. Despite all the cheery words of bipartisanship and cooperation there is little evidence that the partisan swamp is going to be drained. The GOP house might try to extend the Bush tax cut, repeal Obamacare, and cut spending, but the likely outcome is that all of those measures is that they will either die in the Senate or be vetoed by the President.
3) Conservatism is not dead. Just two years ago the media, and the progressive movement, were proclaiming the emergence of a new permanent center left country. Demographics were on their side, economics was on their side, voting trends were on their side. The Republican party was supposed to have been reduced to a regional rump party representing only the old white people of the deep south. Now just four years after the Democrats swept into Washington promising to clean up the place, they have been swept out along with their philosophy of big government. The vote was not an embrace of the GOP, but a total rejection of the Democrats and everything they stand for. This is not now, nor has it ever been, a leftist nation. When Democrats govern from the left they lose. The Congressional Democrats join the ranks of Johnson, Carter and Clinton Democrats who have felt the sting of the voters anger.
4) California is doomed. The golden state had the opportunity to change course. They could have elected Meg Whitman as Governor, and Carly Fiorina to the Senate. Instead the voters decided to keep their state a progressives paradise by sending governor moonbeam back to Sacramento, and sending Barbara Boxer back to the Senate. If this election shows anything it shows that California can’t be saved, the unions, the Democratic party, and left wing voters are determined to take the state right over the proverbial cliff. One of the first things the GOP house should promise is that California will not be bailed out when it collapses, and it will collapse.
The vote is a rebuke of Obama, but the GOP needs to stay focused, stay principled, and stay alert. If the claim a mandate and overplay their hand they could suffer the fate of the Democrats this year. But for right now the American people have sent a message that they don’t want the Obama vision of America.