Friday, November 6, 2009

Lessons From Tuesday's Elections

1) Voters are in a sully mood.
2) The Republican Party is in the ascendancy. Contrary to the pundits of a year ago, the Republican Party was no deader than the Democratic Party in 1994. Politics are cyclical, with the cycles accelerating with modern technology. Either the winning parties, as with Republicans in 1994 and Democrats in 2008, misinterpret the extent of their mandate, or they remain in office so long as to become fossilized and corrupt.
3) Conservatives can win in liberal states, and liberals can win in conservative districts.
4) Independents are truly independents.
5) President Obama’s efforts on behalf of candidates were as successful as most presidential efforts in off year elections, in other words, fairly ineffectual. Once again the youth and minorities voted in low numbers. They vote when they have a reason to.
6) The Democrats won two open House seats, adding to their substantial majorities in Congress.
7) Republicans, both the conservative Republican, and the faux Republican, lost New York’s 23rd.
8) Sarah Palin was right, once again. Dede Scozzafava is not a Republican.
9) The Republicans are showing life in the affluent suburbs, which have been voting Democratic in recent years. The Republicans recaptured the executive Office in Westchester County after a 12 year hiatus, regained control of the Nassau County Legislative, and perhaps the Nassau County Chief executive office.
10) Republicans picked up six assembly seats in Virginia, one in New Jersey, and a open state Senate seat in Michigan, strengthening their control of those legislative bodies in Michigan and Virginia. Republicans also did well in judicial elections in Pennsylvania.
11) Republicans even increased their representation in the New York City Council 40%, from 3 to 5, but the Council has 52 members. 5 incumbents were defeated for reelection
12) Voters vote social issues in times of affluence, and economic issues when times are tough.
13) Taxes are toxic to voters who feel they are overtaxed. Incumbents in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are in trouble next year.
14) Some school and library tax increases passed, but many were defeated, including Washtenaw County, Michigan, home of progressive Ann Arbor, but also depressed blue collar Ypsilanti.
15) Governor Grandholm of Michigan pushed through a disastrous $1.6 billion tax hike two years ago. Her proposed $1.4 billion tax hike is dead.
16) Ohio is gambling on casinos. Don’t bet the House.
17) Money doesn’t always buy elections. Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey spent over $19 million of his own money in his unsuccessful reelection campaign, more than doubling the campaign funds of the successful challenger Chris Christie. Incumbent Mayor Bloomberg of New York barely eked out reelection after spending $100 million of his money on the election.
18) Grassroots campaigning still works.
19) Corruption issues will cost many incumbents reelection next year.
20) Losing candidates are accused of running poor campaigns.
21) Even when elections have national themes, local candidates, such as those running for Congress, need to emphasize local issues. Douglas Hoffman in New York did not.
22) Voters are not in favor of gay marriages (If not Maine, then where?), but will support civil unions and domestic partnerships (Washington).
23) I missed seeing the SEIU purple ocean standing behind the winning candidates.

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