Sunday, November 9, 2014
Reflections on Tuesday's Elections
The President broke bread in a two hour lunch yesterday with Congressional leaders. He did not eat crow, but may have chewed out the Vice President. The 2010 Midterm elections were a teachable moment. He did not learn from it. Last Tuesday’s election results are a teachable movement. He has not admitted a mistake because he makes no mistakes. Henry Reid and Nancy Pelosi failed him. He’s still President for the next two years with all the powers of the Presidency. President Obama offered us “Hope and Change” in 2008. The people voted for change six years later in 2014. Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi remain in control of the Washington Democrats. President Clinton lost big in 1994 with the Republicans winning the House. He is a master politician. He knew how to tack. President Obama is an ideological zealot. He lacks the will to tack. Senate majority Leader’s Harry Reid’s machinations (Kansas and Montana) and money did not buy victory. Neither did Tom’s Steyer’s $74 million. The Clintons campaigned heavily for Democratic candidates. Arkansas has turned from blue to red in two years. New York Mayor DeBlasio extensively campaigned for Democratic candidates for the New York State Senate, hoping to flip it to Democratic. The Republicans plastered his photo in ads, and won the Senate outright. Taxpayers won this year. They don’t like Governors or their parties who raise taxes (Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts) while Governors Malloy of Connecticut and Hickenlooper of Colorado barely survived. Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin reelected tax-cutting governors. South Carolina Republicans elected an African American, Tim Scott, to the United States Senate, the first African American Senator from the South since Reconstruction. Utah Republicans elected Mia Love, an African American woman, to Congress. The War Against Women was a losing issue this year – at least when Senator Mark Udall of Colorado ran it as a single issue campaign. His nickname became Mark Uterus. The Democrats centered their campaigns on Amnesty/immigration, the War on Women, the minimum wage, and their vaunted “get out the vote” campaign. 2/3 of the voters failed to vote. Students, the Millennials, stayed at home – often their parent’s houses, because they are unemployed or underemployed. Charlie Crist of Florida pulled a unique political trifecta. He lost as a Republican in 2008, an independent in 2010, and now as a Democrat in 2014. He could become this generation’s Harold Stassen. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley lost the election for Governor of Massachusetts, having previously lost the Senate race to succeed Ted Kennedy to Scott Brown. Republicans were smart this election cycle. They did not nominate candidates who uttered stupid rape remarks, insulted Hispanics, or claimed not to be a witch. Democrats acted stupid this year. Congressman Bruce Braley of Iowa derided his fellow Iowa Senator, Charles Grassley, as “a farmer who never went to law school.” The trial lawyer criticized a farmer in a farming state. Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky refused to answer the question of whether she voted for President Obama. She looked like a typical weasely politician. 2014 was the flip of 2006. Republicans ran away from President Bush in 2006. It didn’t save them on election day as the Democrats swept the House and Senate. Democrats ran away from President Obama in 2014, but it didn’t help them on election day. The Republicans swept. 60 Senators voted in 2009 for ObamaCare. 29 are now out of the senate with Mark Begich of Alaska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana soon to follow. Three died in office, and several retired from the Senate, but many fell at the ballot box. I predicted in Monday’s blog that the Senate count might be 55-45. It’s still 52-46, but Alaska and Louisiana will go Republican with Republicans ending up 54-46. It would be 55-45 if Scott Brown had prevailed in New Hampshire. He might have pulled it out if the revelations about Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s extensive involvement with the IRS’ suppression of the Tea Party had been revealed a week before the election instead of the day before. I further predicted Republicans gaining 12-14 House seats. It’s currently 14 (244 up from 232), but 7 seats are undecided with some leaning Republican. My forecast was that Governors Walker, Snyder, Scott, and Brownback would be reelected. The election was a wipeout for the Democrats at the local level. Republicans gained control of at least 69 of the 98 state legislative branches. Republicans now have legislative and gubernatorial control of 23 states while Democrats are down to seven. Republicans hold over 4,100 state legislative seats out of a total 7,383. Republicans gained control of the state senates in Colorado, Maine and Washington, state assemblies in Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, and West Virginia, as well as both houses in Nevada. Democrats are an endangered species in the South, which is once again becoming the Solid South, except that now’s its Republican. Coal Country democrats are on life support. Republicans won control of the West Virginia Assembly on Tuesday, but fell one seat short of taking control of the state Senate. That ended a day later when Senator Daniel Hall, a West Virginia Democratic Senator, reregistered as a Republican. Georgia Congressman John Barrow (D Ct) lost his bid for reelection. He was the last white Democratic Congressman in the Deep South. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett lost his bid for reelection. He lost when he forced Penn State to settle with the NCAA and threw Joe Paterno off the bus. Penn State fans are famously loyal. No one should treat Joe Pa as the Governor did. Lee Zeldin won an upset in New York, defeating the incumbent Democrat. He will also succeed Eric Cantor as the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives. Labor unions lost big in the election. Their candidates for Governor were defeated in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. They won a few though. They held on, barely to governorships in Connecticut and Colorado. Tom Torlakson, the incumbent Superintendent of Public Education in California and favorite of the teacher unions, won reelection by 52% to 48% over reform candidate Marshall Tuck. Sheila Kuehl, their candidate, won an open seat on the Los Angeles County Council Board of Supervisors, defeating Bobby Shriver of the Kennedy-Shriver family. Voters (Illinois), even in Red States, support a rise in the minimum wage (Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota). The free lunch theory of economics is still popular. Voters in Alaska, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia support marijuana and Florida voters savor medical marijuana. Sooner or later, Congress will legalize marijuana. San Franciscans wisely voted down a $.02/ounce tax on sugar sodas, but Berzerkley approved a one cent per ounce tax. Irvine, California voted the liberal Larry Agran off the City Council, where he had served as a council member or mayor for 28 of the 43 years of Irvine as a city. His latest reign involved blowing $200 million on The Great Park, which has a hot air balloon going straight up and down as an accomplishment. An audit will show large sums were spent on consultants, advisors and press relations. Pundits pronounced the GOP dead after the 2006 and 2008 elections. The last Republican Congressman, Chris Shays, was defeated for reelection, leaving Republicans with no Representatives in New England and three in New York. Democrats ended up with 257 House members compared to 178 for the Republicans. The media labeled the Republican brand “Dead.” The new Congress will have at least 244 republicans in the House, but probably more. They picked up seats in Maine and New Hampshire, and three in New York. The New York delegation is now 17D-9R, Illinois 10D-8R, and New jersey 6-6. President Obama proved them wrong. He revitalized the Republicans. Democrats have lost at least 13 Senate seats and 68 House seats since Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009. The reality is that the American people have been divided since 1994. No political party can lay claim to a Congressional chamber, such as the Democrats did for 40 years until 1994 in the House of Representatives. The Republican Landslide of 1994 ushered forth two decades of Congressional turnover.