Midterm Elections

Live By the Movement, Die By the Movement
November 09, 2010

More than candidates are defeated in elections. So are ideas. The Democrats’ heavy losses in the midterm elections may now force a reassessment and overhaul of the Barack Obama political experiment. Whether the president has the dexterity and fortitude to navigate through the harsher Washington political environment of the next two years will determine his survival. Clearly, the hopes and dreams that propelled Obama to the White House are in disarray.

Job Loss and Liberal Apathy
November 05, 2010

Why did the Democrats decisively lose this election? It’s not really a mystery. The 2010 midterms were shaped by three fundamental factors: the poor state of the economy, the abnormally conservative composition of the midterm electorate, and the large number of vulnerable seats in conservative-leaning areas. These trends cost the Democrats their House majority but were not strong enough to sweep them out in the Senate. What’s interesting is who voted for the Republicans and why.

Election By Numbers
November 05, 2010

The election is over, which means it’s time for pundits to cram the outcomes into a narrative. But why let the talking heads have all the fun? Below are some of the highlights from the election—told by the numbers. Did the Blue Dogs lose big? Did Sarah Palin’s chosen candidates sweep their races? And how did incumbents fare in the most anti-incumbent election … possibly ever? Election results are as reported by The New York Times on Wednesday afternoon. Palin endorsement data comes from The Washington Post’s Palin Tracker.

Was It Worth It? Cont'd
November 04, 2010

Did President Obama and the Democrats do too much? Was health care reform, in particular, a mistake? Lots of people are making that argument right now. Among them is Evan Bayh, the retiring Democratic senator from Indiana, who in a New York Times op-ed on Wednesday concluded that "Democrats over-interpreted our mandate." As I’ve argued previously, I think the evidence of over-reach is a great deal more shaky than it seems. The structural realities of a midterm election, particularly given Obama's reliance on young and minority voters, made large Democratic losses inevitable.

It's the Ideology, Stupid
November 04, 2010

No doubt we’ll be talking about the 2010 election for a long time, and dueling explanations for the Democrats’ defeat will abound. Although I plan to make my own contribution to this explanatory surfeit, my topic right now is more modest—to trace the contours of what actually happened on November 2. Let’s begin with the basics. In the midterm election of 2006, Democrats received 52.0 percent of the popular vote cast for House candidates, while Republicans received 45.6 percent.

'Write-In' Wins the Alaska Senate Race ... But Will Lisa Murkowski?
November 03, 2010

While it has yet to be determined whether Alaskans can spell, they certainly can fill in the oval. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski seems to have held onto her seat through her insurgent campaign, with write-ins making up 41 percent of the vote. Tea Party candidate and official GOP nominee Joe Miller received 34 percent, with Democrat Scott McAdams bringing in 24 percent. Now begins the actual counting of the write-in, absentee, and questioned ballots, and—potentially—legal challenges from the Miller camp. It’ll be three weeks before there’s an official result.

Was It Worth It?
November 03, 2010

Ross Douthat assumes that health care reform played a key role in the debacle, and asks: Was the 111th Congress’s flurry of legislative activity worth the backlash it helped create? Were the health care bill and the stimulus worth handing John Boehner the gavel in the House of the Representatives? Did it make sense to push and push and then keep on pushing, even after the polls and town halls and special-election outcomes made it clear the voters were going to push back? I don't think that the decision to pursue health care reform was a bad one. Obama ran on health care reform.

Regrets, I've Had A Few
November 03, 2010

Last week I wrote that economic conditions plus the swollen Democratic majority would predict a 45 seat Democratic loss. So, I concluded, before we even have the "what did Democrats do wrong" conversation, we need to first establish that they did anything wrong at all, with "wrong" being defined as a loss in excess of 50 seats or so.

Check Out John B. Judis's Take on Tuesday's Big Losses
November 03, 2010

In TNR's big election post-mortem, senior editor John B. Judis says Obama deserved to lose the election--but the country doesn't deserve bearing the consequences: Republicans might say it’s the re-emergence of a conservative Republican majority, but that’s not really what happened.

How the Republicans Did It
November 03, 2010

Last night's returns contained a few surprises, but for the most part, were only surprising to people who hadn't been paying much attention, and to those conservative commentators who had been predicting a Republican takeover of the Senate and House gains in the neighborhood of 80-100 seats.