Having just gotten back from Europe (thus mildly jet-lagged) and picking up a cold from my kids, I have nowhere near the stamina necessary to stay up for all of the returns. Here’s what we seem to know thus far.
(1) The Republicans will take the House and Nancy Pelosi will not be the Speaker. News organizations are solidifying around mid-50s to 60 seat swing. Intrade is settling at just over 60 seats. This is a big swing. If it holds up, it’s bigger than the 1994 Newt Gingrich revolution. In 94 the House was split 258-176 before the election and 204-230 after, a 54 seat swing. This year, it looks like it will be roughly 255-178 before (w/ vacancies) and 195-240 after. A near flip of the distribution.
(2) It appears as though the streak will end. Over the past 100 years, the 7 times the House changed hands the Senate also changed hands to the new party in power. That appears to be in severe doubt tonight. The Republicans faced major structural difficulties in the Senate race. 2004 was a good year for Republicans, but 2006 and 2008 were not. Thus, Republicans had to play catch-up, needing to win 10 additional seats, with what was already a class full of Republican incumbents. Very hard to do. If they can manage 48 or even 49 seats it’s still a huge win. They’ll have significant structural advantages in 2012 and 2014.
(3) On 4th down inside the red-zone (20 yard line), most teams will elect to kick a field goal. Suppose the field goal is successful, but there’s a roughing-the-kicker penalty on the defense. What do you do, as the coach? Obviously it depends on the game situation. Do you take the 3 points and play defense, or do you take 3 points off the board and try to go for 7? If you’re down by a lot, the answer is simple – you go for the touchdown. America is down by a lot right now. We have liberal-progressive Democrats usurping ever more authority over our lives. When in power, we have progressive Republicans who are more interested in maintaining their ties to business interests and lobbyists than defending freedom. What to do? In such a climate, I say you challenge the progressive Republicans in the primary, even if they have a better chance of winning the general election. Take the 3 points off the board and go for the touchdown. Sometimes you will get burned. We threw off establishment candidates for Tea Party candidates in Florida, Kentucky, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, and I think one more. We’ve won in Florida and Kentucky, lost in Delaware. The rest are too close to call. Still, I think it was the right call to go for the touchdown.
(4) Tomorrow I may post about the new permanent Republican majority. It will be tongue-in-cheek of course. In 2008 James Carville (Democratic strategist) railed about the new permanent Democratic majority – only to be undone in the House 2 years later, and likely in the Senate in 2012. Claims of a new permanent Republican majority are also fraudulent. What is worth note is that Republicans are picking up quite a few governorships this time. The new governors in 2011 will have a big hand in re-gerrymandering … err … redistricting after the Census. No doubt that is a net gain of seats by the GOP. How many? I don’t really know. But it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if 10 seats, on average, were in GOP hands versus Democratic hands over the next decade due to gerrymandering advantages after this election.
(5) Finally, I’m glad the elections are over. Yes, there are still races to decide – and I really want Sharon Angle and Joe Miller to win. But I’m not an electoral politics wonk. I much prefer talking about issues, policies, the role of government, and the way thing sought to be – instead of elections.