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.
21 thoughts on “My Election Conclusions”
Who are the remaining “moderate” Democrats? I know of Colin Peterson in Minnesota. Who is left?
The Republican “establishment” thinks they can co-opt the tea parties but they are wrong. Trent Lott, the classic Republican fool, said just this the other day. There is an example of a clueless career politician and I thought so at the time he was in office. He has never held a real job. These people will be eased out. If they resist too vigorously, they will have primary opponents.
I thought the Democrats were heading off the cliff during Bush’s presidency but Rahm Emmanuel did a great job of recruiting candidates in 2006 and 2008. The weakness of that strategy was illustrated when the leadership demanded all these moderate Democrats walk the plank of cap and trade and health care.
This morning Amanpour kept trying to get the Republican to say that taxes need to be raised. She even brought up the ridiculous concept of cutting two dollars in spending for each dollar of taxes. That goes back to TEFRA and Bob Dole. It is an example of the old scam in which you give the grifter your money and he gives you his. When you learn that his is shredded newspaper, he is long gone. Reagan bought the scam, after all Dole was his own party, and spending never even slowed down. The answer to that question is related to the answer on illegal immigration. Let’s cut spending to 2008 levels and build the fence. Then we will talk about taxes and amnesty.
Actually, we need to cut spending to 2000 levels and reform Medicare and SS.
Democrats in Congress moved left because their moderates lost their seats, but we have yet to see what if any impact there is on the Democratic Party as an institution and as a voting bloc.
In 1968 the Democratic Party formed the McGovern Commission to reform the delegate selectrion procedures and partyu governance. The Left instigated and used this to take over the party.
After 1984, some Dems formed the DLC which produced Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 campaign, but lacked staying power in the face of Soros’s money and influence and the general insanity of BDS.
We’ll see what happens next in term sof Democratic Party governance. I’m sure Howard Dean is looking to pick up the pieces from the Left, but he’ll have competition. If there are any centrists with cojones, (Webb?) we’ll find out in the next few months.
If you want to know what’s going to happen with this “Green” party look at what is happening in Australia.
At the last election they got 10-15% of the vote (in some areas at least, I’m not sure about nationally), most of which came from the mainstream left-wing party. But enough came from the mainstream-right wing party to cost them to election. (Well, not really, they actually got one more vote but due to some independents acting against the will of their constituencies, the left-wing part was able to form a minority government, despite their dysfunction in their last term in office.)
Unfortunately the average “greens” voter knows nothing about the part other than that the name has the word “green” in it.. When I asked one person who voted for them why they would vote for a party which is in favour of re-instating the Estate Tax and raise other taxes (such as income tax), they were shocked and said they had no idea. However these are all publically stated goals of that party. The (state-run) media, of course, does an excellent job of not asking such questions and just generally cheer-leading for them.
I can’t speak for Australia but can say with high confidence that 90%+ of the “green” voters in the states are stone democrats. I am not talking about voters who care about environmental causes but voters who are dedicated enough to vote “green” as a single issue.
1) The Republicans were able to absorb the “Tea Party” without substantially disrupting the party, and the energy they brought was immense
In the very short term, perhaps yes. But the very short term is probably over as of 1900 hrs. local on November 2.
On the Pro-Patriot side there are the factors that a) indeed, all the energy in the Republican Party comes from the TEA Party. I mean, to the Institutional Republicans, Mitt Romney is edgy and exciting. b) while not yet a majority by any means, TEA Party activists have been moving into party leadership positions at the County level. IF the rules are followed, it will be awful hard for the Institutional Republicans to return to their old grafting and collaborationist ways with impunity.
On the Republican Party side, they have the factors of a) they still have the institutional power, especially at the state and national levels. b) they have no compunction about breaking any rules and playing pure power politics …. against their own base and the TEA Party. c) they have been actively attacking the TEA Party, frequently in deliberate conjunction with the Democrats, all during the campaign season. They have created a meme where that is the norm. It will take time, once again, for TEA Party people to shake that off and fight back.
In the short to medium term, expect to see open conflict between the two. I suspect that by the end of January, it will be openly apparent; because the Republicans want to remain part of the old Political Class and really do not like the “riff-raff” and “rabble” that have led them to victory against their own will.
Medium to long term, say from January 2012 on, the future is in doubt as to who will win.
I will be interested to see if Tea Party backed congresscritters in the House and Senate actually act like Tea Partiers or if they get immediately co-opted by the establishment Republicans. In particular, I plan on following Rand Paul’s actions and votes as he is pretty much the face of the Tea Party.
Wouldn’t the huge turnover (apparently even larger and more dramatic than the national one) in state legislatures, etc. indicate that the tea party made the right choice to emphasize the local. Surely those city councilmen, state senators, etc. will owe more and feel a stronger kinship to the local tea party faces and priorities.
These state gpvernments will be petri dishes for innovative government, farm teams for state offices, and grass root organizations for the next national elections. Sure, they won’t agree – that’s good if it is because they have competing versions of fiscal responsibility, cleaning up elections, improving business climates. Competition and experimentation breathe life – not quiet. Few are going to agree with the Democratic establishment (unless the odd candidate like Manchin). And if some of the surprises aren’t pleasant (these people can be nuts, of course – we call can be), most won’t be.
How many outside New Jersey saw the potential in Chris Christie? Bill Kristol may have been beating the drum for Sarah Palin but in 2008 was anyone else? Would we know what could be done if we hadn’t seen Mitch Daniels do it? Meanwhile, Bobby Jindal puts the whole Katrina thing in a much more sensible perspective as we see what a rational LA governor can do.
And how much better is it to have Tea Party African American winners and Tea Party Hispanics – no one chose any of these candidates, they aren’t tokens. The Tea Party in general knows what is Kool-Aid and what isn’t, because they have perspectives the people who’ve spent their lives in politics don’t.
Please read this post carefully:
read the material at his links and check the data sources.
His thesis which I believe is well supported is that the 2010 election was not an anomaly. The real anomaly was 2006 & 2008. In those elections the Dems built up a majority that they could not sustain in inclement weather. His view is that there are about 235 districts that are majority Republican, 190 that are majority Democrat, and 10 that even. What we saw last week was reversion to type.
Charles Krauthammer, has similar take.
For all the turmoil, the spectacle, the churning – for all the old bulls slain and fuzzy-cheeked freshmen born – the great Republican wave of 2010 is simply a return to the norm. The tide had gone out; the tide came back. A center-right country restores the normal congressional map: a sea of interior red, bordered by blue coasts and dotted by blue islands of ethnic/urban density.
Or to put it numerically, the Republican wave of 2010 did little more than undo the two-stage Democratic wave of 2006-2008 in which the Democrats gained 54 House seats combined (precisely the size of the anti-Democratic wave of 1994). In 2010 the Democrats gave it all back, plus about an extra 10 seats or so for good – chastening – measure.
* * *
Our two most recent swing cycles were triggered by unusually jarring historical events. The 2006 Republican “thumpin'” (to quote George W. Bush) was largely a reflection of the disillusionment and near-despair of a wearying war that appeared to be lost. And 2008 occurred just weeks after the worst financial collapse in eight decades.
Similarly, the massive Republican swing of 2010 was a reaction to another rather unprecedented development – a ruling party spectacularly misjudging its mandate and taking an unwilling country through a two-year experiment in hyper-liberalism.
* * *
Tuesday was the electorate’s first opportunity to render a national verdict on this manner of governance. The rejection was stunning. As a result, President Obama’s agenda is dead. And not just now. No future Democratic president will try to revive it – and if he does, no Congress will follow him, in view of the carnage visited upon Democrats on Tuesday.
* * *
Nor should Republicans overinterpret their Tuesday mandate. They received none. They were merely rewarded for acting as the people’s proxy in saying no to Obama’s overreaching liberalism. As one wag put it, this wasn’t an election so much as a restraining order.
* * *
What should Republicans do? I am with Charles, do not over claim. Take care of business. And the business is getting the nation’s fiscal house in order. Departmental budget bills are the first order of the day. And they need to be pruned without mercy. Some of the worst sinkholes are federal state mandates lice Medicaid. Get the Feds out of the loop. and block grant an affordable sum to the states.
Make a deal on the tax rates ASAP. Settle for a short term renewal like 3 years, so that it will be an issue for the President elected in 2013. Fix the estate tax for 2010. I will settle for 35% and 5 million dollar exemption for 2010 and all subsequent years.
I think that Charles is right about the US being a center right country. But, even more than that, I think it is a small c conservative country. Americans want to solve problems not revolutionize society.
For instance Americans see Social Security as a workable institution that may need some adjustments, but not abolition or replacement. They don’t want to instantiate an ideal world designed by Hayek. They want to make sure that it is running smoothly.
I think what most normal Americans want is policy stability: moderate tax rates and levels of regulation that aren’t adjusted every few years. However, the political class wants the exact opposite: politically-driven policy instability that forces Americans to buy protection from politicians and regulators. Therefore, the Republicans, to succeed, do not need new programs. What they need instead is an overall program of shrinking govt and of making govt policies more stable and predictable.
“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”
Non-obvious to say the least. For this to be true an explanation is needed on how Democrat loons like Coons, Kucinich, etc. are electable with support of the national party but Republican loons like O’Donnell, Miller, Rossi, and Angle aren’t electable when attacked or ignored by the national party. In O’Donnell’s case I think the answer is clear: the majority of Delware voters prefer communists (and allegedly former communists) over Christians. The electorate is farther left than Obama himself.
The critical decisions for the GOP are being made right now in Boehner’s office. This article pretty much states the case. If Boehner lets the old time pols chair committees, the tea party will be going after the GOP in 2012. We cannot let nominal Republicans who support global warming boondoggles and such inanities as banning incandescent light bulbs be the face of the party.
The new Congress won’t be sworn in for a couple of months but its success or failure is being decided now.
November 8th, 2010 at 12:53 am
I think what most normal Americans want is policy stability: moderate tax rates and levels of regulation that aren’t adjusted every few years. However, the political class wants the exact opposite: politically-driven policy instability that forces Americans to buy protection from politicians and regulators.
You’re implying the government acts like the mafia.
They do act like the Mafia.
Michelle Malkin has a good take on the establishment post election.
One last point: The Rove machine and Beltway/Manhattan establishment continues to trash the conservative Tea Party candidates who lost their high-profile bids.
But notice how silent they are on the shellacking that McCain favorites Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina took in California. Fiorina pandered to Jesse Jackson and radical gender/racial politics. Whitman flip-flopped on immigration and fawned over Van Jones, before failing to manage her illegal alien maid problem properly. The pooh-bahs considered these liberal Republican women to be winning candidates who would appeal to the center and give the GOP a fighting chance in the basket case now dubbed the “Lindsay Lohan of states.”
Where is the introspection about these loser bids? Who takes responsibility for fielding two unlikeable candidates who reinforced the GOP stereotype of out-of-touch, condescending corporate magnates seeking to buy office and donning conservative clothing only when expedient, just like their chief GOP establishment advocate, John McCain?
I don’t totally agree about Whitman and Fiorina but they were not particularly strong candidates. Whitman, in particular, aside from admitting that she didn’t vote for 28 years, did flop around on immigration and global warming.
Michael: I think your 12:36 comment is a bit premature. In fact many of these decisions have not yet been made, and won’t be made until the Freshman class shows up and elects representation in a few weeks.
Jonathan: Your concept: “policy stability: moderate tax rates and levels of regulation that aren’t adjusted every few years.” is what I call small c conservatism.
My comments were about how the election went not what to do next.
Generally I just don’t want the Republicans to act just like Democrats and fight battles on the margin; I’d rather them fight the battles “full out” even if they lose.
We need to try to roll back the tax and regulatory measures that are killing our competitiveness.
We need to take on unions everywhere and especially the public sector unions. The way to do this is to show how out of whack their comp is relative to everyone else and the “full” cost of their benefits.
We can’t be afraid to try to go after sources of Democratic strength everywhere and take the battle to them.
If you look at England where they are trying to balance the budget that is what we ought to emulate – “go big or go home”.
I don’t want political tactics; I want to try to drive the agenda even if this results in tactical losses.
Good point on the California candidates. But I have to say that O’Donnell was a weak candidate in Delaware.
“We need to try to roll back the tax and regulatory measures that are killing our competitiveness.” If the 1099 rule in the health care bill isn’t killed I am going to get buried in 1099’s from every single one of my customers. I can’t imagine how a large business like GE would handle it.
“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.”
Hmmmm. Not sure how that squares with the facts. Health care, for example, was a near two-year process in which the Dems tried to engage the GOP on all fronts (for example, Baucus’ finance committee negotiations in which he capitulated greatly to GOP demands). Moreover, since the bill turned out to be a copy of Romney’s bill and bills offered by the GOP in the past (e.g., Dole), so, based on length of negotiation time and comparison to prior-GOP-approved measures, it’s hard to classify it as being shoved down throats. Plus, do you have a cite for the notion that it busts the budget? The CBO score has it reducing the deficit over 10 years (http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/118xx/doc11820/CrapoLtr.pdf).
Truth is, as HC reform is phased in, the popularity of the individual provisions that polled well (while the overall bill polled badly) will be realized, so it likely will lose “action” on the campaign trail as years go by.
Oh, and, Obama’s budget for FY2010 lowered the deficit from FY09 (and, of course, from the deficit run in Bush’s final year in office: see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704779704575553850474117846.html), and his big govt stimulus actually lowered taxes for 95% of the country (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jan/28/barack-obama/tax-cut-95-percent-stimulus-made-it-so/).
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