Free Markets, Free People

Election Reflections

I have a few random thoughts about the midterm election results.

You never run the table.  You always lose a race or two where you th ought you were strong. But what was odd about last night is how the Republican wave simply crashed against the Pacific time  zone. After turning over the Senate seats in Pennsylvania, and especially in the blue states of Wisconsin and Michigan, it’s hard to believe that the Democrats kept Colorado, Washington, and Nevada intact.  There was every indication that two of those states were going to go Republican.  That they didn’t is just puzzling.

There hasn’t been a mid-term House turnover this sweeping since 1938, when a Republican tide essentially ended the New Deal. The 65-seat gain for Republicans means that the Democrats lost more house seats than the Republicans did in 2006 and 2008 combined.

CNN is projecting the final Republican House seat tally will be 243.  I predicted 247 (+/-3).  So, I missed it by one seat.  This means that, of the 43 toss-up seats, more than half broke for the Democrats.  This is the reverse of historical trend, which is that about 55% of toss-up seats break for the majority party. Again, you never run the table.

The less-reported results from last night is that Republicans really swept up at the state level. As Erick Erickson wraps it up:

There will be 18 states subject to reapportionment. The Republicans will control a majority of those — at least ten and maybe a dozen or more. More significantly, a minimum of seventeen state legislative houses have flipped to the Republican Party.

The North Carolina Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1870. Yes, that is Eighteen Seventy.

The Alabama Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1876.

For those saying this is nothing because it is the South, consider these:

The entire Wisconsin and New Hampshire legislatures have flipped to the GOP by wide margins.

The State Houses in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Montana, and Colorado flipped to the GOP.

The Maine and Minnesota Senates flipped to the GOP.

The Texas and Tennessee Houses went from virtually tied to massive Republican gains. The gains in Texas were so big that the Republicans no longer need the Democrats to get state constitutional amendments out of the state legislature.

These gains go all the way down to the municipal level across the nation. That did not happen even in 1994.

That really is a massive change at the state level, and even traditionally blue states were swept up in it.  Since the next legislative session in many of these states will address reapportionment, that has further implications for the next election cycle, when House seats get shuffled.

Lots of new Republican governors in what have been blue states means that the 2012 Republican nominee now has access to pre-existing ground organizations in those states, which did not exist for the last three presidential election cycles.  That means that the nominee will have to spend less in those states to create a ground game from scratch.  That’s not necessarily an election-winning advantage, but it’s and advantage that hasn’t existed in those states for quite a while.

Democrats, including the president, are just impervious to any suggestion that their policies contributed to these losses.  They are saying is was all about jobs and the economy, as if their policies had nothing to do with either.  It’s really a willful blindness.

The California electorate is just…wacky. Take a look at the proposition results. They voted to refuse an $18 vehicle registration surcharge. They refused to allow the state to take local transportation and other funds, and voted to require a 2/3 majority for “fee” increases by reclassifying them–properly–as taxes.  They then elected to allow the legislature to pass a budget by simple majority vote, which will, in many cases, effectively invalidate the other propositions through the budget process.  Republican senators and assemblymen now have essentially no reason to attend the legislative sessions in Sacramento.

Jerry Brown will now teach another generation of Californians what the term “Governor Moonbeam” means. In his victory speech, he sounded quite mad. Now that he has a majority budget vote in the legislature, I have no confidence that the result will be anything other than a financial meltdown in California. The Democrats in California are addicted to spending–mainly in the form of generous benefits to teachers, firefighters, cops, and other government workers.  with a $19 billion deficit, such spending can only be financed by either massive borrowing or massive taxation.  Neither choice can possibly end in a positive economic outcome for the state.  It will, however, teach the country an instructive lesson about what happens when you turn the government over to aging hippies.

California has greatly increased the chance that it will require a massive rescue from the Federal government, at the very same time that the general electorate has chosen a Congress that will be much less likely to approve such a rescue.  So, aging hippies will now be taught an instructive lesson about the nature of reality versus ideology.

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16 Responses to Election Reflections

  • <i>But what was odd about last night is how the Republican wave simply crashed against the Pacific time  zone.</i>

    Well put. A pity that California is such an important economy and, once upon a time at least, drove so much technological progress.

    • It can still do so. If you are a highly paid software engineer, or a designer of hardware who outsources production to China, you can still exist in California. Just make sure to hire Google’s tax lawyers to ensure the company’s profits are made in Ireland or wherever.
      These laws really screw over the little guy who isn’t selling his software to the entire globe, but wants a job on an oil rig, or at a factory, or plants almonds.

  • I’d hate to see CA go off the rails for all sorts of reasons but if it conveys a valuable lesson to those who need it, okay then.

  • While I agree with your general comments regarding the lack of – shall we say – common sense here in the PRC, I will go out on a limb and defend CA wrt our budget problems.  CA’s run-away spending (both current and future obligations) not withstanding, CA is a huge net payer of funds to the federal government while other states, such as Texas, are net recipients of federal funds.  If this were not the case, CA would not be in the massive whole that it is in now.  CA would eventually be in the same mess in the future not doubt (the pension math is simply leading inexorably to that place within a decade of so no matter what).
    On the flip side, all these limousine liberals are always prattling on about redistribution of wealth, so there is a certain poetic justice to the situation.

    • What you are saying is that Californians pay via income taxes, and recieve fewer funds back. I am surprised that TX would get back more than it pays–it has a good, productive economy.

      High wage earners in CA are leaving, and are being replaced by illegals. I’d expect that CA will invert its federal/state economic situation shortly.

    • Recently Convenient argument – and how long has this been fact?  How many years?
      Natural disaster wise, California usually exceeds Texas – fires, floods, landslides, earthquakes.  Gaia seems so much more angry with California as a rule.

    • CA is a huge net payer of funds to the federal government while other states, such as Texas, are net recipients of federal funds.

      Umm, Sacramento isn’t writing a check to the Feds.  Individual Californians are, but the feds aren’t demanding money from the state capitol, so how that net tax flow has anything to do with the state’s budget is a complete mystery to me.  California has a 19 billion dollar budget hole because the state spends nineteen billion dollars more than it takes in in taxes and other revenues.

      The federal net tax outlay is simply irrelevant.

  • RE: Your requested bailout
    Dear California,
    House Republicans

  • What happens if Washington refuses to bail CA out? I know it goes into “default”, but what does that look like? Has it happened before in the US?

  • Being the fair-minded person that I am, I note that comments are closed for, the topic Erb bookmarked for later reuse if he found it necessary to admit “You were right and I was wrong” on his prediction that the Dems would only lose 25 seats.

    • Word Press automatically closes comment threads after a certain number of days (30 I think). There’s nothing sacrosanct about that thread – he can pick one of the many about the election to tell us how wrong he was.

  • I live in Colorado – CO-CD04 to be more precise.  And while we got rid of SecInt Ken Salazar’s big brother, there is a heck of a lot more going on here that certainly meets the eye, and most certainly will reach the press these days.  The state GOP is, and has been in utter shambles for at least 4 years.  IMO, it was after the failed redistricting of 2000 (and billions of out-of-state contributions to anyone and anything ‘centrist’ to the fascist left) that the state acquiesced to a Colin Powell/Davids Frum and Brooks view of what the right should be.  Further, they relied on a hope that people like former[s] Gov. Bill Owens and Sen Wayne Allard would keep on popping up to save their bacon.  In other words, the state infrastructure sucked.
    And that sucky-ness certainly was on display when Dick Waddams (Party chair), early in 2009, seemingly hand picked Jane Norton and Scott McGinnis to lead the 2010 ticket.  Here is where most will misunderstand: neither were particularly bad (though Norton seemed more in the mold of a Collins or Snowe), but given the voters disgust at Washington in particular, and the governing class in general, we, the caucus participants and primary voters rejected, in a spit of anger, these candidates foisted upon us.  It was a rejection of the state elites as much as the coastal elites.  McGinnis lost a close primary race to Dan Maes, one in which Maes actively worked in conjunction with outside leftist money (and media) to sully McGinnis’ reputation with way overblown charges of intellectual impropriety – the false plagiarism charge.
    I was LMAO when he then turns around and whines that the press was misrepresenting him (admittedly, I voted for McGinnis in the primary).  But Maes, for what ever reason, especially when it became apparent that Tancredo would mount the best challange to Denver Mayor Hickenlooper, turned into the petulant schoolboy who owns the only ball available the the kids on the court that afternoon.  Adding Maes’ 11.1% to Tancredo’s 37.7% puts the later’s tally fairly close to Hickenlooper, but more importantly, had the state GOP done more to “redact” Maes from the race, might have made it winnable (irrespective of how all the talking heads and coastal elites love to marginalize then dismiss Tom Tancredo).
    Buck’s lost to Bennet is more a matter of a weak candidate faced with huge amounts of outside spending.  The local papers, TV, and even radio aired a slanderous Soros attacks – even sites such as Instapundit had “Ken Buck – too extreme for Colorado” banners blazing.  Yet the state party never gave us a good reason to work for the “national” candidate, and in an election that was much more about the ‘local’ representatives, center and center right voters (Colorado is one of the most ardently balanced libertarian states – in contrast to social libertarian Vermont) never got infectiously enthused about Buck’s bid.
    That being said, long ago, my dream for  November 2nd was a GOP house blow-out and wafer-thin Dem hold on the Senate.  In fact, I argued to a lib family member that intellectually I hoped Sen Reid would hold on.  (Of course, viscerally, I yearned for Harry to get smacked down big.)  The reason, I know how the left and their propaganda arm (the MSM) would blame any lack of recovery on Republican obstructionism – as they have done it for the past few years.  They will still try it, but their hold on the narrative is proving to be not only illusory, but ultimately counter-productive (GOP +60; Q.E.D).
    Certainly I would have liked to see both Boxer and Bennett defeated – they both are clueless lapdogs for leftist interests – but with the Congressional blow-out, the State House blow-out, and the state legislature blow-out, I spend today quite pleased with my fellow countrymen.    And if the Colorado GOP ever gets its act together, maybe we can add a couple of notes to the nations cheer in future elections.
    Remember, in order to reverse the legislative destruction wrought by Obama/Pelosi/Reid, the GOP has to have either a filibuster/veto proof majority in Congress… or the Presidency.  I think beating Obama will prove easer.

  • Two points regarding the Pacific coast.  First, do not discount how looned folks are out there.  They’re done.
    Second, do not discount the troops on the ground party machine.  Dems could not stop a rout.  But they could spend a ton of money on ads, and bus thousands of organizers and get-out-the-vote machine into Nevada and California to protect their leaders.  They were not about to lose Harry Reid, and Barbara Boxer.  It would have made them look like idiots.
    Especially in politics, execution can trump ideology.

  • But what was odd about last night

    Not so odd, when you consider how very badly the Republicans did last time they were in control, just a short while ago.
    Sure I would liked to have seen Harry go out in flames, but Republicans really have not earned the right to be in the majority again.  Not yet.  Perhaps by 2012, though I’m one who will always vote to keep balance.
    Vote gridlock has been my motto for quite some time.  Both parties seem incapable of governing reasonably when they own the entire playing field and have a weak or no opposition.   It seems to me there were at least a couple of times the last 2 years when Republicans did not have to be as weak an opposition as they were.

  • What I found particularly amusing was a small note in a local paper, that stated that Washington State voters rejected a request to implement an income tax.