Full disclosure: this is all going to be as-I-think-of-it-opinion, I have no interest in interrupting the narrative flow by looking for links, and so I freely admit that it would be fair to discount or dismiss the results accordingly.
The Democrats are in for a bad election cycle, to the point where people are actually talking about the Democrats losing the House – and starting to hint that maybe, just maybe, it’s not entirely bizarre to suggest that the Senate might be technically in a position where the Republicans could take control of it. Long since past time that this happened to this party, to be sure: but why?
I think that it’s for a pretty simple reason: the American people subscribe to a pretty simple political mathematics. They divide our political class into Those Idiots Running Things and Those Idiots Out Of Power. Then they modify it with (I Hate Those Guys). Typically speaking, election cycles depend on which party gets the modifier. For example:
- 2002 (post-9/11): Normally a time for Those Idiots Out Of Power to win seats, but being at actual war meant that (I Hate Those Guys) continued to apply to the Democrats.
- 2004: This is where (I Hate Those Guys) began to shift away from Those Idiots Out Of Power. As I recall, House gains were largely from redistricting; if Those Idiots Out Of Power had put up somebody better than Kerry, the race would have been a heck of a lot closer.
- 2006: At this point, Those Idiots Running Things had officially gotten the (I Hate Those Guys) designation. And we got shellacked in Congress.
- 2008: Interesting case, here: the holding of the Presidency by the GOP meant that we got to be still treated as Those Idiots Running Things (I Hate Those Guys), instead of Those Idiots Out Of Power (I Hate Those Guys). The more I think of it, the more I think that maybe that saved us seats.
So now it’s 2010, and the Democrats are finally being seen as both Those Idiots Running Things and getting the (I Hate Those Guys) modifier. As witness to that latter, look at the two gubernatorial elections last year and this year’s Senatorial election. But don’t look at the win, per se: look at what the Democrats tried to do to our candidates.
- In Virginia, Bob McDonnell was subjected to a full-court smear attempt over language in a twenty year old thesis – one that was enthusiastically supported by one of the top five newspapers in the country.
- In New Jersey, no Democrat ever referred to Chris Christie in a sentence without also referring to George W Bush.
- In Massachusetts, they tried… everything, really… to torpedo Scott Brown. Massive amounts of money, smear campaigns, personal appeals by the President, allegations of prejudice on Brown’s part, you name it, it was there in concentrated form.
All of these things were done because in 2006 and 2008 they worked. They worked fine, as a lot of former Congressmen and Senators could tell you. But they worked because American voters had decided that the Republicans deserved to be tagged with (I Hate Those Guys). That’s shifted… and it’ll be slow to shift back, because unless somebody waves a magic wand right now the economy and the mood of the country will still be rotten in November. And the Republicans will profit from it… for a time.
No permanent majorities, folks. Until one party learns how to stop having to take a turn at having to submit to being (I Hate Those Guys).
PS: Actually, yes, it is fair. The Democrats cheerfully took advantage of this situation when it was affecting the Republicans. So… karma. It’s what’s for dinner.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.