In all the detritus following the election results, commenters and authors focus on the nuances of the little races, or they jump to sweeping conclusions. Here is my take on the key items:
1) The Republicans were able to absorb the “Tea Party” without substantially disrupting the party, and the energy they brought was immense – many talk about how the Republicans might have won the senate if they’d have dropped some of the more loony Tea Party candidates, like the famous one in Delaware, and that is technically true. But the old 2008 Republicans, demoralized and defeated, wouldn’t have been able to get up and get in a position to win so many races without the energy and enthusiasm of the Tea Party members in the first place
2) The Democrats face new party challengers, not the Republicans – the “Green” parties are making a dent in the left, and they pretty much 100% represent lost Democratic voters – These Green parties aren’t going anywhere, and they are single-issue voters that confuse the electorate on the left. With my own ears I have heard Democrats (remember, I live in Chicago where I am about the only Republican) talk about how when they don’t like a candidate they strongly consider voting for the Green candidate, instead. The risk on the other side for Republicans are the libertarians, which represent lots of people I know (and lots of Chicago Boyz type writers), but as long as the Tea Party and the like are going to keep the Republicans honest and not just Democrats 1 inch to the right (like Illinois George Ryan, for example) then the libertarians are going to find a happy home with the Republicans, or at least happy enough not to defect
3) Money is now going the Republicans way – only through jerry-rigging the rules to support the favored institutions like unions were the Dems able to stay close on money – and now the Republicans are going to just blow them away. The 2008 elections were about the only ones where the Democrats were able to keep up or get an edge, and maybe that election was just a fluke because of this fund raising advantage. It is only going to get worse for the Democrats from here on out
4) The Democrats Just Moved Sharply to the Left – the “Blue Dog” Democrats or moderate Democrats were heavily blown out in the election returns, and now the “Progressives” are entrenched. My friends were astonished that Nancy Pelosi was going to run again as minority leader after the drubbing she led her party to but in fact it is just simple math – everyone who doesn’t think like Nancy Pelosi was turfed from office, and this is pretty much what the Democrats have now, a very left wing party that has a unified, far-left message. Nancy Pelosi is the logical candidate to lead this rump party
5) The Democrats Proved Themselves to Be All Big Government, Debt and Anti-Business – for years the Republicans told America that if the Democrats took power they’d shove government down our throats and stack debt to the sky. Bill Clinton, to his credit, learned and moved away from this after his electoral debacle, but now the Republicans have a “pure” example of how the Democrats would shamelessly leverage every element of their power to do something like health care “reform” without a single Republican vote or even by explaining what it was to the average American, knowing that it would bust our budget and be difficult to repeal. This example will buy them years and years of action on the campaign trail.
I usually never read many blogs besides this one and the others that I contribute to; I have to read mainstream papers in order to keep up with my career since this is what the other executives read and I only have so many hours in the day; but I do sneak an occasional read to a Democratic blog just to see the delusion with how they are misreading the election returns. It is quite satisfying, but I limit it because we need to look forward to our solutions not backwards at the mistakes of our enemies.