After Tuesday’s election, the fresh new faces of the Democratic Party are … Harry Reid and Jerry Brown! (Who had the worst election night? Chuck Schumer, who’s been waiting in the wings to replace Reid as Senate majority leader. Who had the second worst election night? The people who live below Barney Frank’s apartment.)
With the addition of new Republican senators Ron Johnson (Wisconsin), Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Marco Rubio (Florida)—among others—the average IQ of Senate Republicans has just increased by about 20 points. Also, liberals won’t have Sharron Angle to kick around anymore. Now that Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina are gone, Keith Olbermann is indefinitely suspending his “Worst Persons of the World” segment.
Republicans added two magnificent new black faces to the Congress with Allen West in Florida, who beat sore loser Ron Klein 54.3 percent to 45.7 percent (with 97 percent counted, Klein wouldn’t concede), and Tim Scott in South Carolina, who crushed Democrat Ben Frasier, 65-29.
Republicans also launched two new Hispanic stars this election: Sen.-elect Marco Rubio from Florida and the new governor of New Mexico, Susanna Martinez. And we got a bonus Sikh—Nikki Haley, the new governor of South Carolina. MSNBC is still searching for the “Republicans are racist” angle in all of this.
The most important outcome of this week’s election is that Republicans clobbered the Democrats in the state gubernatorial and legislative races. Next year, state lawmakers draw new congressional districts, determining the congressional map for the next decade. In the past, Democrats have had a 2-1 advantage in congressional redistricting. Not anymore.
Tuesday night, Republicans won governorships in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Alabama, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina—pause, deep breath—New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, Maine, Iowa and Florida. They also swept the state legislatures.
Meanwhile, the Democrats won governor’s races in California, New York, Massachusetts, Arkansas and Maryland.
Not only are all the Democrats’ states losing population, which isn’t as important for redistricting, but the Democrats’ biggest plum, California—losing congressional seats for the first time since the ‘50s—also approved a ballot measure that will take redistricting out of the hands of the California legislators and turn it over to a Citizens Redistricting Commission.
So the Democrats got nothing out of this election. Worst of all, now they’re stuck with Harry Reid.
Democrats’ congressional redistricting dreams weren’t the only thing that died Tuesday night. A slew of election myths died—though I’m sure they’ll have to be killed off again in every future election:
(1) All but the broadest election predictions are an enormous waste of everyone’s time.
We may as well listen to people on TV give us their guesses on how many jellybeans are in the 10-gallon jar. The only prediction that came true was my prediction that most predictions were worthless.
Last week, Charles Krauthammer predicted a pickup of 55 House seats and eight Senate seats—which, weirdly, was the exact polling average given by Real Clear Politics. For months now, Dick Morris has been assuring Fox News viewers that Republicans were going to take both houses.
If only some of that precious airtime had been spent interviewing the great Bill Brady, he would not now be locked in a tight election recount for governor in Illinois—Obama’s home state and the sixth most populous state in the nation.
(2) A “wave” election would give the victory to Republicans in all close Senate races.
We had a wave. We had an enormous wave, a tidal wave, a wave that produced more than 60 seats in the House in the biggest party turnover since 1948. But Democrats still won all Senate races that were tied in the polls. The fact that the close races were all in solidly Democratic states had more to do with the outcome than the “wave.” Demographics matter, not “waves.”
(3) Newt Gingrich engineered the 1994 Republican sweep of Congress.
All Newt did was avoid standing in front of a runaway freight train in 1994, when Republicans picked up a comparatively paltry 54 seats. We would have done that if Pee-wee Herman had been the face of the Republican Party. This year, with absolutely no Republican or Tea Party leader, Republicans picked up 60-plus House seats.
Republican landslides are apparently inevitable whenever Democrats try to turn our health care over to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
(4) Tea Party candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell were bad for the Republican Party.
Au contraire! Every Republican who won a tightly contested election should be sending a thank-you note to Angle and O’Donnell for taking all the fire from the mainstream media and keeping the heat off of them.
Republicans never had a chance to take the Senate, and anyone who knows the difference between California and Tennessee knew that. Most of the Senate seats up this year happened to be in very, very “blue” states. Short of a Republican invasion of the body snatchers, Republicans weren’t going to be electing senators from California, New York and Oregon.
Acting as if O’Donnell’s primary victory dashed Republican dreams of taking the Senate was always absurd—particularly coming from the people who supported a World Wrestling Entertainment impresario in Connecticut and did nothing to help a Republican who could have won that race.
(5) The Republican landslide in the House will lead to a bitterly divided Congress with unimaginable gridlock.
The fact that this year’s crop of Senate elections was bad for the Republicans means the Senate elections two years from now, and then again four years from now, are going to be fantastic for Republicans.
Do you think Claire McCaskill, Jim Webb, Sherrod Brown and Jon Tester of Montana—all of whom will be facing the voters in two years—noticed that popular, long-serving Democrat Russ Feingold just lost an election in a much more liberal state than their own?
Even Lindsey Graham is going to start voting with the Republicans!
(6) Connecticut voters wouldn’t mind a World Wrestling Entertainment impresario.
Connecticut isn’t Minnesota. Anyone with the slightest familiarity with Connecticut knew WWE owner Linda McMahon never had a chance even against Dick Blumenthal, a Democrat so repulsive even The New York Times attacked him.
Republicans had the ideal Connecticut candidate in Rob Simmons, who lost the primary to McMahon. He had won in liberal districts before, was a graduate of Haverford College and Harvard University, was an Army colonel who served in Vietnam and teaches at Yale. He also never kicked a man in the groin for entertainment. But Simmons didn’t have McMahon’s money, so Republicans went with McMahon.
If, instead of listening to pundits guess how many jellybeans are in the jar, the conservative media had showcased Simmons, he would have won the primary, and today conservatives and liberals would be united in joy over the defeat of Dick Blumenthal.