By now we're all familiar with the fact that Republican victories on Election Day led to massive gains in Congress. Of course this puts the GOP in a much stronger position to advance its agenda - or at least thwart the Obama agenda for the next two years. Both are crucially important to be sure, but as most of us spend the weekend exchanging gifts, we should stop and consider a few of the other 2010 election "gifts" that are just as important for the long term.
Conservatives are more excited
The election validated over a year's worth of polls suggesting that conservatives were much more excited about casting their ballots than liberals or even independents were. The result was not only an overwhelming victory for Republicans, but an eight percent increase in voter turnout over the last midterm election in 2006.
This excitement demonstrated itself not only in results and turnout, but also in the candidates that were on the ballot to begin with. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were 6,115 state legislative seats up for grabs, and over 11,000 candidates running. Of those, Republicans ran 822 more than in 2008, while Democrats ran 50 less. In other words, excited conservatives translated into more Republican candidates.
The State House Revolutions
Despite all of the national attention that was focused on the battle for control of Congress, another (and perhaps more important) battle was playing out down the ballot all across the country. Specifically, the battle to control state legislatures. The result was the biggest win for Republicans since 1928. read more »
Now that the 2010 mid-term elections are over and (most of) the ballots have been counted, it’s worth a look to see what issues played the greatest role in the election and what that may tell us about 2012.
Of course there are a lot of issues, but from a conservative Republican standpoint, the most important ones to identify are those which played the greatest role in motivating voters to support massive Republican gains at all levels of governance – and what might do so again the next time they head to the polls.
For good or ill, the economy is always an issue in any election. And when it’s bad, it hurts the party in power. The further we’ve come since the 2008 election, the more the economy is seen as being the responsibility of Democrats. The fact that unemployment has steadily increased for the two years they’ve been in power, (and after passage of their signature “stimulus” bills), puts them on the wrong side of public opinion.
Growth of government
Since taking power, Democrats have been on a steady quest (as usual) to increase the power and scope of government. From proposals to nationalize private enterprises to increased regulation and diminishment of consumer choices, people see the government getting bigger (faster) and their own control over their lives and their country getting smaller.
Of course the signature item in this category is ObamaCare. It is the prototypical liberal program: it’s massive, expensive and takes power away from individuals and state governments, in addition to being so large as to be completely opaque before it becomes law (and even well after). The result was a massive and sustained public rejection. Given that its size and scope ensures that it will have a personal impact on each and every American, it was taken as a personal assault to their control over their own lives and pocket-books. On Election Day, they reacted accordingly. read more »
The following map of US congressional districts, (via the NY Times), shows which district were "held" by Repubilcans (red), and which were "won" by Republicans, (red/black stripes). Dems are in Blue.
Keep in mind that there are still over a dozen races yet to be determined, (the ones shown in gray), more than half of which will likely fall the Republicans.
A few things really stand out when you see if this graphically:
1) The Democrats really are a largely "coastal" political party.
2) Despite being told that we had to back off of that "border control stuff", you'll notice that Republican challengers WON several districts along the US/Mexican border. I guess border control and a strong stance on immigration even sells in areas with a lot of - gasp! - immigrants!
3) The evolution of rural seats in the deep south towards the GOP is pretty much complete, (with the most of the exceptions being the majority black districts. These are districts that are conservative, but were held by long time Democrat incumbents. After next year's redistricting, they should remain in Republican hands for a long time.
4) New England has Republicans again. Joe Scarborough and other RINO's have complained that we didn't have any because we wouldn't let moderates get nominated. Looks like we're more successful when we nominate conservatives, huh? read more »
The 2010 election is (finally) upon us, which means it’s time to engage in that favorite of political pastimes – prognostication. After all, what good is an election without predictions?
For pretty much every election for the past twenty years I’ve kept my own predictions and have done fairly well, (but I did miss that Al Gore and the popular vote thing in 2000…and thought Hillary would be the nominee in 2008). But it seems like it would be more interesting to put it in a column for everyone to see and comment on. Plus, given the multitude of pollsters (and even online markets such as Intrade), there is so much information out there that everyone can now get in on the act.
With that in mind, I decided to put together an online survey that everyone can use to make their own “official” predictions. The entrant who comes closest will get a free download of the “Grassroots 101: Fundamentals of Grassroots Politics” series".
On to the predictions…
The US House of Representatives
Republicans will win control of the House of Representatives by making a net gain of at least sixty-five seats. Yes, I know that’s a little past the high end of the “smart money”, but I think the frustration (and excitement) among conservatives and Republicans is tremendous and liberals are deflated. I also think Obama’s messaging has been awful (and poorly targeted), and pollsters have been intentionally underselling what they’re seeing in the numbers, simply because they find it historically hard to believe and don’t want to look foolish. read more »
Some general thoughts and observations on the 2010 Republican primaries:
Conservative Republican primary voters are angry. OK, that’s obvious, but it’s who and what they’re angry at that is important. For now, they are angry at anyone who even looks like they’re part of the "establishment", the result being a long overdue house cleaning. For their part, most in the Republican establishment don’t seem to really have a gut level grasp of why. Conservatives are not just angry and looking to take it out on someone, they are upset with having the GOP run by people who patronize them and then set about undermining their goals, or at least fail to effectively advocate them.
“Establishment” candidates have gone down hard. The NRSC's endorsed candidates have now lost eight primaries to DeMint/Palin endorsed, Tea Party supported candidates. They caused the problem by picking candidates that didn't represent the views (or ardor) of Republican primary voters in those states. This is not a geographic phenomenon, it is national; as losers from coast to coast can attest. However, some have decided to forgo the Republican label and run as Independents in November, (such as Florida’s Charlie Crist and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski). This has only confirmed what many conservatives believed about them to begin with, that being that their primary concern was power itself, rather than conservative principles. read more »
...the conservatives are coming, the conservatives are coming!
Some general thoughts and observations about the Republican primaries so far...
* Conservative Republican primary voters are angry. And for now, they're taking their anger out on anyone who looks "establishment". The result is a long overdue house cleaning. The establishment doesn't really grasp what's going on here at the gut level. People are not just "angry" and looking to take it out on someone. We're upset with having our party run by people who patronize us, then set about undermining our goals, or at least not effectively advocating them.
* The NRSC's endorsed candidates have now lost EIGHT primaries to DeMint/Palin endorsed, Tea Party supported candidates. They caused the problem by picking candidates that didn't represent the views (or ardor) of Republican primary voters in those states.
* The "establishment" has only made things worse (for itself). By openly attacking candidates supported by the Tea Party movement they have enflamed the grassroots with new passion. Lesson: don't shoot a hornet's nest with a garden hose.
* We don't need the Senate. Not right now anyway. If the GOP takes the Senate (along with the House), it becomes easier for Obama to demonize Congress in his 2012 re-election bid. Better not to have complete "control" of Congress when he's running for re-election. Until we have a Republican President, it really doesn't matter as much. There's no appreciable difference between having 49 Republicans in the Senate or 51, other than committee chairmanships. So long as Obama is President and has veto power, a majority in the Senate doesn't really matter. read more »