We know the basic story-line- Democrats lost big in the House, survived a Senate scare and Republicans took the statehouses and the Governor’s mansions. But here are the real losers from Tuesday’s election. Oh, and one political epiphany and one disturbing historical note.
Proposition 19 Supporters
They came up short but did manage to get 45% of the vote to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state of California. Regrettably, tens of thousands of prop-19 partisans showed up at the polls on Wednesday.
Charles Schumer/Dick Durbin
The two Senators, who room together in a Washington D.C. apartment, were in line for a battle royal to succeed Harry Reid as the next Senate majority leader. Except, somehow, Harry Reid managed to beat back Tea-party darling Sharon Angle. I can see them sitting on their apartment futon about 1am last night.
Republican House member, Joseph Cao
The poor guy was the only Republican incumbent to go down in defeat. The Louisiana lawmaker lost to Democratic state representative, Cedric Richmond by a 2 to 1 margin. How do you lose your seat by a landslide in a year that your colleagues were swept into office in one of the largest tidal waves in political history? Well, when he was elected two years ago, only a handful of voters turned out in an election delayed by hurricanes. And it helped he was running against incumbent William Jefferson who was- under indictment.
And the Epiphany
Popular West Virginia Governor, Joe Manchin, survived a strong challenge to win the Senate seat vacated by the late Robert Byrd. Interesting, though, was who came to campaign against and for him in the final 48 hours of the contest. Sarah Palin stumped for his opponent, Republican businessman, John Raese. And on her heels, or stilettos, as the case may be- weighing in on behalf of Manchin- none other than Bubba.
Bill Clinton is the Sarah Palin neutralizer! The guy who used to ride around Arkansas with astro turf in the bed of his pick-up truck appears to be the antidote to the gun-toting Momma Grizzly.
Remember all this in 2016. Impatient because the new House Republican majority failed to turn the economy around in 6 months, the voters, overwhelmingly lash back by re-electing Barack Obama in 2012. Four years later, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin duke it out and Bubba rides to Hillary’s rescue as the nation finally elects its first female President.
Final Historical Footnote
The last two occasions in American history that the U.S. Senate was controlled by Democrats and the House of Representatives was controlled by Republicans, the following happened; the American Civil War and the Great Depression. Go ahead, look it up.
The latest survey from CBS News and the New York Times explains what is about to happen as Americans go to the polls Tuesday. In a nutshell- people are desperate, they’re not sure what they want, but they are willing to take a risk on extreme or untried candidates.
As women, Catholics, independents and poor Americans abandon the President they voted for two years ago, here are the stats.
57 percent of registered voters said they were more inclined to gamble on a candidate with little experience this year, while a quarter said they could get behind a candidate whose views “seem extreme.”
Folks don’t seem to have a clue about what they actually want. 90% want cuts in federal spending, for example. But only 50% say they want fewer government services.
Did you get that? It bears repeating. 90% want spending cuts but only 50% want cuts in services.
And though they want spending cuts, when it comes to Social Security, they oppose raising the retirement age or cutting benefits, the only two meaningful ways to reign in social security spending.
Americans are almost equally divided on health care. 45% want to keep health care reform. 41% want to repeal it.
There will be surprises around the country when the votes are tallied next Tuesday. In a race here and a race there. But there is just too much pain and suffering to think there will not be a ton of incumbents shown the door and almost all of them will be Democrats.
When the dust settles, I don’t believe it will be the tsunami predicted in August because a lot of Democrats have come home. But the independents that helped elect Barack Obama are gone. And as the survey says-they are not put off by either extremism or novice politicians.
I think the electorate as a whole will throw out about 46 or 47 House Democrats and about a half a dozen Senators. My forecast is a Republican House majority of about 8 seats and a Democratic Senate majority of 52 to 48.
Bipartisanship heading into the two-year period prior to a Presidential election seems too much to hope for and that would be quite unfortunate. There are reasonable economic approaches on both sides of the aisle that considered- outside the heated world of partisan political rhetoric- could help put the country back to work and on the road to healing.
This would be a good time to pray for America and that its politicians act as real leaders.