I came across a couple of columns on the Internet that explain what happened last night. One is from Hot Air and the other is from the American Issues project.

They both say things so well that I really cannot think of much to add to them. In the interest of fair use, I cannot post them in their entirety but I STRONGLY urge everyone to follow the links and read them for themselves.

But just to wet your appetites, here are excerpts:From Hot Air:

In 2004, Bush beat John Kerry by winning 62.04 million votes. In 2008, Obama won 62.443 million, a gain of only 400,000. In 2004, Kerry garnered 59.028 million votes; John McCain only got 55.386 million. That means this election saw 3.24 million fewer votes than four years ago. Far from being more energized, the nation appeared to be more apathetic.

Using these numbers, we can see that Barack Obama succeeded in turning out his base much more effectively than McCain did his. How do we know that it’s a base turnout rather than a tsunami of opinion to Democrats? For one thing, Dems didn’t pick up a boatload of new seats in the House, and they may underperform expectations yet in the Senate. They did gain some strength with independents, but only gaining between 11-20 seats in the House tells us that they found votes in districts they already control, more than finding converts.

There’s nothing wrong with that; George Bush won two elections doing the same thing. He only gained 3 million votes over John Kerry’s 2004 performance. It does reflect a certain brittleness about Obama’s support that may not be evident in the flush of his Electoral College victory. That doesn’t mean he can’t broaden his appeal after winning office, but it does mean that he primarily won among friendlies and not through appeals to bipartisanship.

And from the American Issues project:

Washington, DC – The decisive defeat Republicans suffered in Tuesday’s election came because conservative voters decided the party had lost its way, not because the electorate has shifted to the left, according to Issue Autopsy ’08, a survey of swing state voters in Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia commissioned by the American Issues Project, the group that accounted for the largest outside expenditures made to advocate conservative issues during this election cycle.

“Tuesday’s elections were a shellacking that revealed the Republican brand is diluted to the point where the American people do not really know what the GOP stands for anymore,” said Ed Martin, the organization’s president. “The clear lesson from the American Issues Project survey is that while the United States remains a center-right country, voters no longer trust the Republican Party to represent those interests in Washington.”

The survey found that approximately 72 percent of those voters agreed that: “The Republican Party used to stand for keeping government spending under control, but not anymore.” More than 75 percent of likely voters agreed with the statement: “When the Republican Party took control of Congress in 1994, they promised to reform government and clean up corruption in Washington, but they failed to live up to that promise.”

I, for one, found them both very interesting and informative reads.