Midterm Elections

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.

How Many Americans Favor Repeal?
November 03, 2010

Just now, at the White House press conference, a journalist asked President Obama about the one in two voters who say they favor repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Obama noted that one in two don't want repeal, which is true. But Obama actually understated the case. The proportion that oppose repeal is actually larger than one in two. A lot larger. For the last few weeks, polls have consistently shown that between 40 and 50 percent of Americans answer "yes" when pollsters ask about repeal.

Women Deserted The Dems
November 03, 2010

[Guest post by James Downie] Jonathan pointed out last night that young voters deserted Obama, but, whereas the young simply didn't show up, there was another key constituency that deserted the Democrats for the Republicans: women. According to the exit polls, the Democrats won female voters by only one point, a double-digit decline from 2006 and 2008. (In the 1994 debacle, Democrats won women by eight points.) Indeed, the one point victory is the Democrats' worst margin with female voters since 1984.

How Bad Is the Democratic Brand?
November 03, 2010

From a Miami Herald dispatch on Rick Scott's narrow win over Alex Sink, to become Florida's next governor: "I wouldn't have voted for him if I had another Republican to choose from,'' said Frank Paruas, a 38-year-old Kendall Republican. "I think Alex Sink isn't a bad person. But I just couldn't vote for anyone in the Democratic party right now.'' It's just one quote. But it seems typical of how a lot of voters felt yesterday.  

Interpreting the Election? Think About Who Showed Up.
November 03, 2010

Older voters still tend to vote in midterm elections. Younger voters don't, at least not to the same extent. And while I'm still sorting through the historical comparisons, there's no question that pattern held in this election. Here, via Matt Yglesias, is a graph showing the proportion of the electorate each group made up in this election and the last one: As Yglesias properly note, this makes it more difficult to argue that the national mood has shifted in the last two years. If turnout had more closely matched what it was in 2008, Democrats would have done a lot better.

Why Tea Party Candidates Are Such Bad Orators (With Marco Rubio Being the Glaring, Terrifying Exception)
November 03, 2010

If there is one thing that remains untarnished in the Obama legacy thus far, it is that the man has raised the bar for public speaking in American political culture. Until a couple of years ago, this was a country where the last time anyone had made a speech worthy of anthologizing was Mario Cuomo in his “City on a Hill” speech way back in 1984.

It Was a Brutal Night
November 03, 2010

How bad a night was it for the Democrats? Worse than it seemed on television, I think. Early in the evening, Democrats were surprisingly competitive in a bunch of key races--for house seats in Kentucky and Indiana, Senate seats in Illinois and Pennsylvania, and governorships in Florida and Ohio. Although they would go on to lose all of them, pending final numbers in Florida, they held onto their Senate majority. And that complicated the media narrative. The symbolic importance of Harry Reid's victory, in particular, made it difficult for pundits to call the night a Republican rout.

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