Republicans are going to have the largest House majority they’ve seen since 1946. They have won gubernatorial races, congressional races, and Senate races in blue territory. The GOP not only held Florida, Kansas, and Maine, races they were expected to lose, but they gained Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts. They picked up the State House in Minnesota. The GOP did very well in a wave. I was actually kind of wrong. I expected a wave at the state and local level, but did not think there would be one at the national level. There sure was.
In all of this, there are some lessons to learn from the day.
First, two years in a row many pollsters got it wrong. Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and more all saw polling deviate greatly from the actual returns. They simply over-corrected too much from 2012. We are entering territory where pollsters are going to be less and less useful.
Second, the Republican wave was too great to have been just their effort as opposed to a rejection of Democrats. Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida held on. Republicans picked up legislative houses in states like Minnesota. These were races that had not looked great for them. There is no issue the GOP rallied around other than being the anti-Obama party. It paid off. Voters, once they taste socialism, reject it in America. They have rejected it. More than 25 of the Senators who voted for Obamacare have now been thrown out by the voters since 2010. The GOP should remember that. They should also remember that the voters clearly believe government itself is the problem and not just Democrats in charge of it. If the GOP wants to lock in gains, they need to show the American people that freeing them from the shackles of government is a winner.
Third, the GOP needs to do to Senate Democrats what Senate Democrats did to them. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is trying to sound conciliatory now. After blocking the GOP and refusing to reach across the aisle or across to the other House, the GOP needs to shut down the Senate Democrats.
Fourth, it turns out social issues are not killers for the GOP after all. Abortion Barbie went down in Texas. Sandra Fluke went down to defeat in California. But the pro-life Amendment 1 won in Tennessee. The default against social issues among rich GOP donors is not the default among the public. Republicans do not need to run on social issues, but they sure as hell do not need to run away from them.
Fifth, Campaign 2014 is another textbook example of media bias. According to the national media, Kansas and Georgia were going to turn blue. Kansas because of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), but more importantly because Gov. Sam Brownback decided to force through “unpopular” tax cuts. For weeks, Chuck Todd has been gearing up to claim tax cuts are no longer a winning issue for the GOP. But Sam Brownback got re-elected, as did Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), and the Kansas Democrats lost seats in the state legislature. The media ignored so much in Kansas. In Georgia, the media bought into the Democrats’ narrative that the state was going blue. In fact, both Nathan Deal and David Perdue won without runoffs. Neither Jason Carter nor Michelle Nunn improved the Democrats’ position from 2010. In fact, in baseline races where there was no heavy partisan activity, Georgia Republicans averaged 58% of the vote. In Florida, Rick Scott beat Charlie Crist. Were you to believe the media for the past three months, there was no way Scott could get re-elected.
Likewise, the media spent months salivating over Democrats Allison Grimes, Wendy Davis, and Michelle Nunn. All three women lost. Meanwhile, the GOP is sending the first black female Republican to Congress with Mia Love. They’re sending conservative legend Barbara Comstock who won in Northern Virginia. And they’re sending veteran Joni Ernst from Iowa. Ernst, by the way, ran one of the best campaigns in America. But the media ignored the Republican women, focusing instead on the fashion choices of losing Democrats who stroked their world view.
By the way, not only did Wendy Davis lose the gubernatorial election in Texas, but her State Senate seat flipped to the GOP’s tea party candidate, Konni Burton.
Sixth, since the election of Richard Nixon in 1968, Democrats have proclaimed a pending demographic collapse for the GOP. They are at it again overnight. This year is alleged the best the GOP will ever do because of demographics. Demographics is not and never will be destiny, nor is there such a thing as a permanent political majority. But the Democrats and meida, but I repeat myself, will find comfort where they will.
Seventh, the Democrats have a real problem. It is clear now that the Democrats’ coalition is actually Barack Obama’s coalition. As I have said repeatedly, that coalition turns out for Barack Obama, but not for Democrats.
In the Washington Post, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)‘s Chief of Staff is on record lashing out at the White House. But in the New York Times, Barack Obama claims he has not been repudiated. In fact, liberals believe that the Democrats who did best are the ones who vocally defending Obamacare. They believe that! To win in 2016, Democrats must repudiate Barack Obama. But if they do, his base might not show up for them. If they don’t, the rest of America will reject them again.
Democrats already on the march claiming they’ll be just fine in 2016 might want to slow down. When a President is resentful his party did not stand with him, he is not likely to honestly recognize he has been repudiated. If he believes he is right, he is most likely to think he just needs a better class of voters. Should President Obama try to get that better class of voters with amnesty, he will only do more damage to the Democrats.
Democrats will now say 2016 will be fine. But history is against them. It is exceedingly rare for an incumbent party to win a third Presidential election. More troubling, Democrats in support of big government are going to have to make Barack Obama be the fall guy. They cannot distance themselves from big government.
More than twenty-five of the Senate Democrats who supported Obamacare have now been driven from office. Across the nation tonight, Democrats have seen massive political casualties. The war on women got trumped by the war on coal and deep anger toward Obamacare. But if the Democrats try to make this Barack Obama’s defeat, they will see what others are now forced to see. The Democrats’ coalition has always been Barack Obama’s.
Distancing themselves from Obama will just make their fight over his coalition nastier. Embracing Obama will make their 2016 outlook more difficult. 2016 is no sure thing for Hillary.
Eighth, the economy still matters. Jobs are a real issue in America and there is a deep pessimism about the future. If the GOP can show a path forward, they can win more.