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.