Republican Party Wins Senate, Poised To Add To New Majority

2014 was not supposed to be a wave election, but it clearly qualifies as one.

Capitol at night - AP Photo Ron Edmonds - banner

In what can only be called a sharp and stunning rebuke of President Obama and the Democratic Party akin to the results seen in elections such as those in 1994, 2006, and 2010, the Republican Party has taken control of the Senate even though the outcome of several races, and therefore the final balance of power, remains up in the hair:

Republicans wrested back control of the Senate on Tuesday by adding at least seven seats to their ranks, riding discontent and resentment about President Obama and his policies and consolidating Republican power on Capitol Hill.

Republicans picked up the sixth seat they needed with a win in North Carolina, as Thom Tillis, the State House speaker, defeated the incumbent, Kay Hagan, a Democrat, according to projections by The Associated Press. In Iowa, the Republican Joni Ernst, a state senator, defeated Representative Bruce Braley to win the seat vacated by longtime Senator Tom Harkin, who is retiring at the end of this year.

Voters in Arkansas and Colorado also ousted the Democratic incumbents Mark Pryor and Mark Udall, and elected Republicans in West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota.

With several contests still too close to call late Tuesday, unofficial results showed Republicans emerging as winners in enough states to claim victory. The party’s leaders in Washington will now control both chambers in Congress as Mr. Obama struggles to fashion an agenda in the remaining two years in his term.

Six years ago, Mr. Obama swept into office, carrying Democrats with him and using majorities in both chambers to push through health care and economic stimulus legislation. But two years later, a Tea Party revolt gave Republicans control of the House and made Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio the House speaker. Mr. Obama returned the favor in 2012, winning re-election and claiming a new mandate for his agenda.

On Tuesday, Republicans completed a congressional takeover that will most likely elevate Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to become the chamber’s majority leader, deposing Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada.

The outcome is a blow to Democrats, who struggled in vain to defend incumbent senators in deeply conservative states where anger and frustration at Mr. Obama made him unpopular. The president was largely unwelcome in almost all of the Senate contests, where Democrats sought to distance themselves from Washington and the president’s accomplishments.

In Colorado, Representative Cory Gardner knocked off Mr. Udall in a state that President Obama had won twice and where Democrats had pointed to a strong ground game that they said would hold off the Republican challenge.

In Arkansas, Representative Tom Cotton, the Republican candidate, defeated Mr. Pryor after hammering the Democrat’s ties to Mr. Obama in a state where the president is deeply unpopular. Mr. Cotton, an Iraq combat veteran and a first-term congressman, won despite feverish campaigning by former President Bill Clinton on behalf of Mr. Pryor, according to projections by The Associated Press.

In West Virginia, Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, easily defeated her Democratic opponent to replace Senator Jay Rockefeller, who is retiring after 30 years in the Senate.

Mike Rounds, a former Republican governor of South Dakota, won the third pickup to add to the Republican gains, according to projections by The A.P. And in Montana, Representative Steve Daines, a Republican, won a seat that had been in Democratic hands for decades.

In an outcome that diminished the chances of the Democrats’ clinging to the majority, the Republican businessman David Perdue defeated Michelle Nunn, a Democrat, and avoided a runoff in Georgia’s Senate race, The A.P. reported. Democrats had hoped that Ms. Nunn, the daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, could grab a Republican seat.

And the Democrats lost their opportunity to pick up a Republican-held seat in Kansas when Senator Pat Roberts, the longtime incumbent, was projected by the news networks to be the victor over Greg Orman, a businessman who ran as an independent.

In New Hampshire, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat and former governor, beat back a challenge from Scott Brown, a former Republican senator from Massachusetts, The A.P. projected

Mr. McConnell of Kentucky handily won re-election, giving the Republicans the first victory.

 The Washington Post, meanwhile pointed to exit polls that seemed to lay responsibility for the loss directly at the feet of President Obama:

The rapid-fire victories represented a repudiation of the president, who rode into office on a mantle of change in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012 but whose second term has bogged down in a problems ranging from crises abroad to the arrival of Ebola in the United States. Throughout the hard-fought the campaign, Obama was a target of Republican candidates and in the end was reduced to campaigning only in secure Democratic bastions.

“We are heading to Washington…and we are going to make ’em squeal!” a jubilant state Sen. Joni Ernst told cheering supporters in Iowa, where she defeated Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in the seventh GOP pickup of a Democratic-held seat.

As polls closed in Arkansas, where Rep. Tom Cotton (R) captured incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor’s Senate seat, Sen. John Boozman said the results were more a “referendum” on the president than a statement about the Republican Party and its agenda.

“Our party did better with its operation and it had better candidates, but this election was about what was occurring in the country and the world,” Boozman, the state’s incumbent Republican senator said in an interview. “People are concerned about the Middle East, they’re worried about what’s happening at home. That created this atmosphere for Republicans.”

The Republican-controlled Senate, which will take office in January, is expected to complicate Obama’s agenda in ways large and small. Not only will his nominees face tougher Senate scrutiny, his push for a sweeping international climate change agreement will face resistence. Republicans are expected to demand approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and to push to dismantle key pieces of the Affordable Care Act.

(…)

About three-quarters of voters who had turned out are white — compared with 77 percent in 2010 and 72 percent in 2012. The split between Democrats and Republicans was an even 35 percent each in 2010, but early exit polls this year showed a narrow tilt toward Democrats.

The first voting stations opened at 6 a.m. on the East Coast and the final polls are set to close in the Aleutian Islands in the Pacific 19 hours later. Even then, the final determination of who will control the upper chamber might not be known, as a potential runoff in Louisiana and the counting of votes in other states could leave the outcome in doubt for weeks longer.

As things stand right now, the new Senate would have 52 Republicans, 43 Democrats, 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats and a Virginia Senate race that remains up in the air, however as I write this it seems likely that the GOP will add to its majority in the coming month. First of all, the results from Alaska have yet to come in at this late hour but if that state follows the national trend then Senator Mark Begich seems likely to go down along with his six colleagues in Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas. Additionally, Mary Landrieu may have survived to take her bid for re-election to a Runoff Election on December 6th, but it seems clear that the trend there will likely lead to her losing to Congressman Bill Cassidy in the end. If the GOP picks up those seats, then the Republican majority would be 54 Republicans, 43 Democrats, 2 Independents and the Virginia race in a recount. A Warner win in the recount, which seems probable based on recent Virginia history with statewide recounts, would make it 44 Democrats, and a win in the recount in the recount would make it 55 Republicans. Leaving aside Virginia for the moment, another state that suddenly seems up in the air is Maine, where Angus King, who decided to caucus with the Democrats two years ago is likely going to be looked at as a potential party switcher this November when time comes for Senate leadership elections. Republicans are likely to make at least some effort to try to get him to switch votes this time around, something which he has at least hinted that he might be willing to do under the right circumstances. That means a potential GOP majority as high as 55 or 56 seats when the smoke clears. Not only would this give Mitch McConnell a lot of breathing room when he is pushing legislation through the Senate, it would also put the GOP in a much more comfortable position in 2016 when it comes to defending their majority.

There will be much written over the coming days and weeks over what all of this means, and what happens next in Washington, and there will be people on both sides of the political aisle trying to spin their own version of narratives that are meant as much to advance the interests of whatever faction that they happen to represent. As a preliminary matter, though, it seems hard to reject the idea that much of what happened in these races can be placed firmly on President Obama. As I’ve noted throughout 2014, the President’s job approval numbers across the board were exceedingly low, and nothing that he did seemed able to bring those numbers out of the doldrums. Even international crisis such as the conflict in Ukraine, the war in Gaza, and the ISIS war, or a more domestic crisis situation like the Ebola scare that we are still dealing with failed to do much of anything to raise public opinion about the President and the job that he has been doing. For example, polling seems to indicate that the public is indeed concerned about things like ISIS and Ebola, but rather than seeing the kind of rally bump in the polls that a President usually gets in such situations, polling showed that the public had no confidence in the President or those under him to deal with these crises. That, in turn, placed yet more downward pressure on his job approval numbers, which ended up harming Democrats notwithstanding the fact that most of them were doing their best to distance themselves from him to the point that they didn’t even want to acknowledge voting for him just two years ago. That’s a classic rejected of a President like the ones we saw in years like 1986, 1994, 2006, and 2010, with the inevitable result that even Republican candidates running in Democratic states — such as Senators-Elect Cory Gardner in Colorado and Joni Ernst in Iowa — were able to overcome traditional Democratic advantages to win their elections. In other words, this was nothing less than a complete repudiation of the President and his party. The second time that has happened to this President in four years, and it happened notwithstanding the fact that, just two years ago, he stood victorious in his bid for re-election. That’s historic in a way that seems unique to this President in that there are very few American Presidents who can say that they fell victim to two wave elections in the  course of their Presidencies, and make no doubt about it this was a wave election.

Where we go from here will depend a lot on what Republicans choose to do with the power they will have coming to them in January, but for now they are reveling in their victory, and it seems hard to deny that they deserve to claim that victory. Because very few people, myself included, saw it coming in the scope that it has occurred.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2014, Campaign 2016, Congress, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Todd says:

    In other words, this was nothing less than a complete repudiation of the President and his party.

    Hogwash.

    All this election showed is that Republicans are much more skilled at getting their voters angry (often about stuff that’s not even true) … and we all know that angry voters are more likely to get to the polls.

    On a personal level, what this election result means to me is that I need to make sure my savings account is shored up, since the probability of another government shutdown and/or another furlough sometime in the next two years just increased.

  2. Todd says:

    Oh, it does also show that Democrats seem to be pretty good at selecting mediocre candidates who then run ineffective campaigns.

    Whoever has been advising southern Democrats the past two elections that trying to appeal to non-democrats, and pretending they don’t even know the President, might be an effective strategy for holding onto their seats should never be hired again.

  3. Dave D says:

    Not only would this give Mitch McConnell a lot of breathing room when he is pushing legislation through the Senate, it would also put the GOP in a much more comfortable position in 2016 when it comes to defending their majority.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA If you think McConnell can control the people who shut down the government against his wishes and tried to force an expected default on our debt, you’re more delusional than the Dems who thought they could keep the senate.

    In other words, this was nothing less than a complete repudiation of the President and his party.

    Yes just like the Republicans gaining seats in Congress in 2012 despite losing the popular vote by over 1 million votes. But that wasn’t a repudiation of policy just a demographic issue. Thank GAWD ( one of those gods) this election which had a lesser differential for votes finally repudiates the democratic party. Because the President finally needed to be put in his place (snark). That said the people that voted out people actually concerned with governance, are continuing the failed experiment that is Kansas.

  4. Gustopher says:

    In what can only be called a sharp and stunning rebuke of President Obama and the Democratic Party

    Oh, nonsense.We’re not seeing a lot a high numbers coming out of the Republicans who are unseating Democrats. They’re winning NC with 49%, CO with 50.2%, GA 52.9%, AR 56.5% (that’s a lot)…

    This isn’t a rebuke of the Democrats, this is things breaking slightly in the Republicans favor for a bunch of races.

  5. Dave D says:

    @Todd: Watch that line of candidate questioning, because you may end up sounding a lot like the con that says that there are never any real conservatives that run for office. I mean no offense by that since you actually provide a unique perspective here.

  6. Gustopher says:

    Republicans are expected to demand approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and to push to dismantle key pieces of the Affordable Care Act.

    Obama has a veto pen. He will likely get the opportunity to use it.

    55 votes in the Senate does mean than there will be fewer filibusters, because the Democrats aren’t a united block. Of course, there are lots of opportunities to deny unanimous consent…

  7. Dave D says:

    @Gustopher: You don’t understand Republican demographics. Losing by over 1 million votes = demographics to them. Winning by much less than 1 million votes =

    a sharp and stunning rebuke of President Obama and the Democratic Party

  8. Todd says:

    @Dave D: I’m not at all implying that a “liberal” could win in the south. Heck, it’s possible that the way things are, there’s nothing these Democrats could have done to win this year. But going back to the last cycle, it was no great shock that people like Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson lost. Then this time, with Allison Lundergan Grimes refusing to say whether she even voted for the President … Chuck Todd was right in his “slip up” … she deserved to lose. Democrats (especially the southern ones) didn’t actually run on anything positive. They simply assumed that painting their opponents as “too radical” was a winning strategy. It’s not. The Republicans are much better at “scare campaigning”.

    I firmly believe that Democrats are better at governing (if for no other reason than that they’re more willing to compromise). But I’m just as convinced that Republicans are significantly better at campaigning. And since we currently live in a country, where the “game” of politics is more important than what is supposed to the “prize” of getting to govern, results like this really shouldn’t be terribly surprising. Depressing yes, surprising no.

  9. Gustopher says:

    @Todd:

    Oh, it does also show that Democrats seem to be pretty good at selecting mediocre candidates who then run ineffective campaigns.

    I’m hoping Martha Coakley goes off and serves her country in some other way, rather than running for statewide office again. And, let us not forget that we borrowed a mediocre candidate in Charlie Crist, because we just couldn’t find one mediocre enough.

    The Republicans had their share of mediocre candidates as well, running ineffective campaigns. Their mediocre candidates edged out our mediocre candidates in a number of races.

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Dave D:

    You don’t understand Republican demographics.

    But, I was quoting our fine host Mr. Mataconis, who will remind us time and time again that he is not a Republican…

  11. Todd says:

    One other “sure thing” prediction … as of January 3rd 2015, the supposedly liberally biased media will go back to referring to Senate filibusters as “obstruction”.

  12. Todd says:

    @Gustopher: Up until this year, I was a Florida resident. I think that Alex Sink would have had a better chance against Rick Scott this time … in 2010 I think many of those who were excited to vote for Marco Rubio were who put Scott over the top. Charlie Crist is a perfect example of Democrats problems. My mom is a very enthusiastic Florida Democrat, who was not at all enthusiastic about Charlie Crist … and I expect that was a quite common feeling down there.

  13. Gustopher says:

    @Todd: Congratulations on escaping?

  14. Todd says:

    BTW, this is one of the reasons I’m an Independent, and not a Democrat. I’m much more likely to agree with Democrats than Republicans, but I have absolutely no respect for Democrats … especially their political “strategists”.

  15. Todd says:

    @Gustopher: No real choice, I had to come here to Arizona for a Job. I haven’t lived in Florida for years, but that was still my State of residence while I was active duty military. As for “escaping”, that will happen next summer when I move my family here from Texas. 😉

  16. Dave D says:

    @Todd: But the Republicans were the out party and only had to run against Obama and his policies.There is no governance as a prize and the next two years will be a depressing reminder of that.

    @Gustopher: I understood that I was just trying to temper expectations, because Dems win by a huge margin = demographics. Repubs barely win MANDATE. Also every time I read any libertarian anything, they claim to care about social issues or anything else, they almost always vote with republicans because a few bucks saved on their taxes at the end of the year is worth more than the suffering of any repressed group. Yet they hate the party and the radicals controlling the party because social issues. At the end of the day libertarians are republicans that claim to have values but are willing to sacrifice them for a few bucks back at tax season.

  17. Todd says:

    @Dave D: Oh, the Republicans did a really good job of doing exactly what they had to do. I think that once it became obvious that Republicans were going to be effective in their strategy of making the election about President Obama, keeping him away from these races was a big mistake. I guarantee you, nobody who’s primary motivation for voting was “strong dislike of the President”, pulled the lever for one of the Democrats because they pretended they didn’t even know him. But it’s not at all inconceivable that some of the people who didn’t vote in some of those States today, might have been a little more motivated had the President (or heck even the Senate candidates themselves) been there to defend his policies which were being relentlessly attacked.

  18. Todd says:

    @Dave D:

    At the end of the day libertarians are republicans that claim to have values but are willing to sacrifice them for a few bucks back at tax season.

    I would agree with that.

    I have “libertarian” friends who are against gay marriage, are strong proponents of “securing the border” (including supporting the ridiculous checkpoints along the major roads and interstates here in the southwest), “voter ID” laws, and even idea of Ebola quarantines and travel bans.

    … but since they also wish we’d audit the Fed and go back to the gold standard, in their minds they are Libertarians.

  19. Todd says:

    … these friends are also the kind of people who see no contradiction in including both The Bible and Atlas Shrugged on the same list of their favorite books.

  20. Todd says:

    p.s. Since this is Doug’s post, I will say that I believe he is a real, and fairly consistent Libertarian.

  21. Guarneri says:

    A little raw are we? Let the scapegoating beginning.

    Know that acceptance follows denial.

  22. Eric Florack says:

    @Guarneri:
    as I believe I noted the other day,the scapegoating began days ago.the fact is the Democrats saw this coming, and realize they were going to have to scramble to make sure that the losses they were about to be handed were not blamed on Obama and on democrat policies.

    anything, anything at all but blaming the failures on democrat policies.
    anything, anything at all but admit that this is a rejection of such. No, this is all about a bunch of pissed off Republicans.

    but look closer at the numbers.the devil, you see, is in the details. The kind of wave that came up against the Democrat Party last night, cannot be explained away by Republicans unless you’re willing to admit that Republicans have a majority of votes in the country.given the wrong number is the only thing that one can conclude is that a large number of Democrats are also very much annoyed with their own party.

  23. Eric Florack says:

    sorry for the editing error on that one

  24. Ben Wolf says:

    @Todd: There’s a teeny-weeny possibility that voters don’t like the Democrats’ priorities and policies. Although that idea usually gets zero consideration; the problem must be that Republicans are bad or Democrats are incompetent.

  25. The other Jack says:

    I thought Pat Roberts from Kansas was supposed to loose. polls had it within one point. He won by 10. It wasn’t even close. I love the spin by many Dems that if they only embraced Obama they would have won. what total BS. they would lost even more and by larger margins.

  26. Ben Wolf says:

    . . .exit poll data shows a growing perception that the U.S. economic system is unfair. Sixty-three percent of voters said they believe that it generally favors the wealthy, compared to 32 percent who say it is fair to most Americans.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/exit-polls-americas-voters-bleak-mood-n241191

    That’s a significant worsening of opinion on this since 2012 but Democrats chose to ignore it, focusing on GDP fetishism and stock indexes as proof they had “fixed the economy” (which in and of itself is an utterly meaningless phrase). For the vast majority things are getting worse.

  27. edmondo says:

    Oh those wily Republicans! They managed to reapportion the Senate too.

    (What other reason could there be for the Democrats to have lost control of that chamber too?)

  28. Gustopher says:

    Democrats have always had poor turnout in midterm elections, relative to Presidential years.

    If the Republicans can only barely squeak by with barely 50% in the contested races in a mid year election, in an unpopular presidents second term… That doesn’t really bode well long term, even if they manage to barely squeak by in a bunch of races.

    I’m telling you, we’re heading towards a single party state, just like Superdestroyer always says.

    Well, either that or things are going to lurch back and forth for a while until there is some kind of realignment.

  29. Just Me says:

    I think this was a repudiation of Obama. I think Obama got hit with a lot of bad crap and his inability to lead hit him these issues. Others like ISIS probably don’t and didn’t come with a great fix.
    I also think the Democrats ran some really bad candidates.
    I think the country and especially women have grown tired of the “war on women” rhetoric-I think this is one reason Udall won-he played all his chips on the formula that worked in 2012 and that formula was stale.
    I am interested to see how things go with a GOP controlled house and senate-Obama will have to start vetoing things.

  30. superdestroyer says:

    The most interesting post-election analysis will be in determining which quant was the closest to the actual result. How many of the modelers determined that Hogan would win in Maryland? Or maybe predicting election results is just much easier during a presidential election than during an off-year election.

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    In 2006, when the Democrats won both Houses of Congress, we were told that it was a stunning rejection of the president and his policies, and he would have to learn to work with the opposing party in Congress.

    Funny how that’s not the message this time. And let me make a counter-prediction to Todd: Democratic attempts at filibusters and Obama’s (anticipated) heavy use of his veto pen will NOT be labeled as “obstructionist.” That term is No Longer Operative.

  32. Rick DeMent says:

    I look forward to the blizzard of bills from congress that will directly address the stagnant wage situation. Ah ha ha ha ha !!!!!!

  33. george says:

    Its almost traditional for the parties of Incumbent presidents in their second term to do poorly in the last midterm election. The results of this one remind me of 2006, when the Democrats ran successfully against Bush.

    Pretty much business as normal I’d say.

  34. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: “If the Republicans can only barely squeak by with barely 50% in the contested races in a mid year election, in an unpopular presidents second term… That doesn’t really bode well long term, even if they manage to barely squeak by in a bunch of races.” Even Joe Scarborough, who’s a GOP partisan and dumber than furniture, said that a couple days ago.

    13 years ago this summer Cincinnati was flooded with cicadas. This year we’re getting a small wave of 13 year cicadas. In four years we’ll get a large wave of 17 year cicadas. That’s just the way it is. In US politics there’s a 2 year House cycle, 4 year prez cycle and six year senate cycle. This year is largely just the combination of low mid-term turnout and a rebound from the Dem gains in ’08. Next time around will be higher turnout and a rebound from GOP gains in ’10.

    Both parties will be trying to break out of this cycle. Dems, I fear, will sit on their arses waiting for demographics. GOPs will be putting a lot of effort into figuring out how to attract Latinos, Asians, and at least a few Blacks; and to how to avoid repelling young women. They’ll attack it as a marketing problem, not a policy problem, and they’ll likely succeed.

  35. Tyrell says:

    In order for the Democratic party to take back the southern states the national party will have to change and move back to the center and away from the extreme policies that have taken place the last several years. Clinton did not get elected and re-elected by being on the left. Hillary will have to run from the center right to get elected. You can not get elected without the south.
    The Democrat party remains strong at the local levels in most southern states. Around here a Republican hasn’t been elected to anything, including street sweeper, since Reconstruction.
    The Democrats’ leadership wrote the south off long ago, and it keeps costing them.

  36. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I believe that WONKETTE sums it up best:

    Republicans Take The Senate, Which You’d Know But You’re Already Drunk

    by Kaili Joy Gray

    It has not been the best of nights for the Blue Team. It’s basically a Fox News dream come true: Republicans have won just about all the things (except New Hampshire Senate — SUCK IT, Scott Brown).

    So the bad news is that Republicans now have control of the House and the Senate. The good news is … hold on … there’s got to be some kind of good news … we’re thinking … we’re thinking …

    Oh. Right. Now that the GOP has all that delicious legislative power, we can count on them to a) totally overplay their hand and piss off the whole country just in time for the next election, and 2) go into full-blown civil war with each other, with the far rightwing wing of the party trying to defend itself from the extremist bugcrap crazy far far SO FAR rightwing wing of the party.

    Mitch McConnell might have plans to be Senate Majority Leader, but certain other Republicans with certain presidential aspirations (cough Ted Cruz cough cough) might want someone a tad more to the right leading the party off the cliff.

    So, yeah. We can expect some more investigations, some more furious fists of fury, maybe some of those House Republicans who’ve been calling for the impeachment of President Obama to start calling for it a little bit louder. After all, that darned obstructionist Democratic Party won’t be in control of the Senate anymore, so what’s to stop them from going all in and all out on the Usurper-in-Chief?

    At least we can look forward to watching the Republican Party eat itself alive. And don’t forget, the GOP Presidential Primary Clown Show Extraordinaire starts, that’s right, tomorrow. Gulp. And get your popcorn ready.

    http://wonkette.com/565502/republicans-take-the-senate-which-youd-know-but-youre-already-drunk

  37. C. Clavin says:

    At this point I’m just anxious to see the makeup of the vote. A win is a win and a majority is a majority…but a bunch of white rural people voting in a mid-term election slate that favored Republicans from the start doesn’t say anything…absolutely nothing….about this country as a whole.
    Republicans have succeeded in their efforts to both hold-back the economy and make people afraid…and then blame Obama for both.
    Democrats have failed to sell, and defend, their myriad successes.
    Republicans are probably going to have to govern now…something they have been completely un-interested in doing for the last 6 years. Only time will tell how that goes.
    Congratulations Republicans…you finally caught up to the car…now what are you going to do?

  38. Guarneri says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Woo. Strong words, there. You were chiding me about my prediction the other day, Swami?

  39. Guarneri says:

    I just don’t get it. Reynolds, Clavin, Stoney and so forth have been telling me how great the economy is yet the voters…..

    Off to re-education camps with them.

  40. stonetools says:

    In other words, this was nothing less than a complete repudiation of the President and his party.

    ER, nope.

    Way back over a year ago Nate Silver predicted that the Republicans were poised to take over the Senate. How could he possibly do that ? (He wasn’t the only one).
    Simple: he looked at the fundamentals.What this election proves is that while amatuers talk tactics,mandates, repudiations, etc, the professionals talk fundamentals.

    1. The map was very favorable to Republicans
    2.This was a sixth-year Presidential election. The Presidents party always does badly in six year elections
    3.It was a mid term election. Republicans do better in those elections.
    4. The President was unpopular. Even popular President Reagan lost 8 Senate seats in his sixth year election.
    3. The economy, although recovering slowly, is sluggish.

    Faced with that barrage of terrible fundamentals, a Republican surge was predictable. I hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as it was, but just about every pollster predicted a bad Democratic year, and it came to pass. This election does prove one thing: when the fundamentals are bad, the party bucking the fundamentals has do something extraordinary to stem the tide- and the Democrats couldn’t come up with anything. I would argue that they should have come up with a strong, unified national message- but frankly, I don’t KNOW that the Democrats would have done any better.
    As to the Presidents agenda-note that raising the mimimum wage, legalizing Marijuana , and gun control won everywhere they were put to the voters and personhood amendments failed. So no, not a repudiation of the Democratic agenda.

    Some historical context:

    Let’s check the record. Strictly interpreted, there have been only four six-year itch elections since the people (instead of state legislatures) began to choose senators in 1914. Those were: 1918, which was Woodrow Wilson’s sixth year in the White House; 1938, in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s sixth year; 1958, in Dwight Eisenhower’s sixth; and 1986, in Ronald Reagan’s.

    Wilson’s Democrats lost 19 seats in the House and six in the Senate in 1918. Roosevelt’s Democrats lost 71 seats in the House, six in the Senate in 1938. Eisenhower’s Republicans lost 47 House seats, 13 in the Senate in 1958. And Mr. Reagan’s Republicans lost five House seats, eight Senate seats, in 1986.

    Those four elections work out to an average loss by the president’s party of 35 House seats and eight Senate seats.

    Put in context, this election doesn’t look like anything extraordinary, does it? Obama did a lot a better than, say, Eisenhower. What does that say about Eisenhower’s agenda or his position in history? I’m pretty sure Doug would say, Nothing.

  41. george says:

    @C. Clavin:

    At this point I’m just anxious to see the makeup of the vote. A win is a win and a majority is a majority…but a bunch of white rural people voting in a mid-term election slate that favored Republicans from the start doesn’t say anything…absolutely nothing….about this country as a whole.

    Sure it does. It says that a sizable portion of other groups were so uninspired by the Democrats that they couldn’t be bothered voting for them.

    Though mainly it says the same thing that the strong Democrat win in 2006 says – people get tired of incumbent presidents. We go through this every time there’s a two term president; the opposition party does well in the final midterm, and there’s lots of talk of how one party is heading for obscurity, or how it’d be different if the incumbent’s voter block had showed up, or how if the losing party had just been more ideologically pure they’d have won. But it always seems to me extremely similar to what you see in parliamentary democracies – people get tired of the party in power, and in America most people identify that with the President rather than Congress.

  42. bandit says:

    Poor beat beta bitchez got the sadz – but keep up that cognitive dissonance and denial – just insist it didn’t happen – LOL

  43. stonetools says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    That’s a significant worsening of opinion on this since 2012 but Democrats chose to ignore it, focusing on GDP fetishism and stock indexes as proof they had “fixed the economy” (which in and of itself is an utterly meaningless phrase). For the vast majority things are getting worse.

    The problem here is that Republican policies, economists agree, won’t help these things at all. So, no, this doesn’t explain the Republican surge. I agree that a strong unified national message focused on economic recovery and blaming Republicans for preventing the recovery would have helped. I don’t know that it would have turned the tide.

  44. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:
    Apparently you have reading comprehension problems.
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/q3-gdp-growth/#comment-1982239

    I’d love the recovery to be stronger…but strong growth is not possible while also slashing the Public Sector.

  45. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin:

    At this point I’m just anxious to see the makeup of the vote.

    No need to wonder, the WaPo has the conclusive answer:

    “About three-quarters of voters who had turned out are white — compared with 77 percent in 2010 and 72 percent in 2012.”

    Why does anyone bother reading that paper?

  46. Guarneri says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Taken together the latest two quarters are the strongest consecutive quarters of growth since the second half of 2003.

    has now exceeded 3% in four of the past five quarters

    Business investment increased at a solid 5.5% rate, though it slowed from the second quarter’s 9.7%. Equipment spending increased 7.2%.

    Federal government outlays surged 10%, including a 16% jump for defense, after falling 0.9% in the second quarter. “After being such a massive drag on the economy in recent years, the public sector is now a big positive,” economist Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics wrote in a note to clients.

    Selective recall, Clavin? Let me guess, your citations weren’t your views as well, just a public service announcement. It matters not. My assertion that the voter would tell,us how the economy was doing, not just some headline stats spewed without interpretation proved right in spades. I must admit, though, that Obama care was an additional issue that annoyed voters, despite nonsensical declarations of victory. And the people haven’t even seen the real costs.

  47. al-Ameda says:

    The House is already a Republican cesspool, and there is no reason why the Senate cannot become a Republican cesspool too.

    The keys to the government have been handed to a party that shut down government twice and threatened default to achieve it’s demands. Chalk one up to “wisdom of the people,” right?

  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    The Democrats’ leadership wrote the south off long ago, and it keeps costing them.

    Yes, non-Southern support by Democrats of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 cost Democrats in the South.

  49. Guarneri says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Boo-hoo. Have a Kleenex.

  50. superdestroyer says:

    @Gustopher:

    The results of the election are irrelevant when it comes to demographic trends in the U.S. Look at California when the Democrats did not have to break a sweat to win state wide offices and several of the elections were two liberal Democrats competing against each other for office.

    I suspect that the brain trust of the Democratic party will remain sane and keep thinking about the long term where everything is in their favor. Since the results of this elections will have almost no effect on long term policy or governance, there is no reason to get excited. When the Democrats decided to write off married white males and married white women, it would make sense that they were giving up some short term gains for some greater returns in the future.

  51. DrDaveT says:

    The Washington Post, meanwhile pointed to exit polls that seemed to lay responsibility for the loss directly at the feet of President Obama

    No, it didn’t. Or rather, no, they didn’t.

    The passage you quote has nothing at all about exit polls in it. If you click through to the original article, you find that the only reference to exit polling regarding Obama was:

    Nearly 6 in 10 voters said they were “dissatisfied” or “angry” at the Obama administration, with a similar proportion feeling the same about Republican leaders in Congress.

    If they’re no madder at Obama than they are at Republican Congressional leaders, it’s hard to claim that “mad at Obama” was the driving force behind electing a bunch of Republicans to Congress.

    Now, what you do find in that story, and every other story, is a lot of Republican politicians claiming that the results are a referendum on Obama’s policies and leadership. Which you can take with as much salt as you can stomach.

  52. Larry Guess says:

    @Todd: Even though the media made sure the house republicans were blamed for the last government shutdown, the fact is the house passed seven different bills that would have fully funded the government. All were tabled by Harry Reid and not allowed to come to a vote in the senate.

  53. Todd says:

    @Larry Guess: @Larry Guess: None of those bills would have been signed by the President. The House passed bills designed to please the Conservative base. They were never intended to become law. Being generous, probably 75% of every piece of legislation that Congress votes on is purely political. It’s not intended to become law, it’s intended to become fodder for commercials during the next election campaign.

    These next two year will be just like the last 4. Republicans will wait until the last possible minute to send a “must pass” bill to the Senate and possibly the President. It will be filled with a Conservative Christmas list of things they know the President won’t sign. The bill will be vetoed (or more likely filibustered in the Senate). We’ll get another government shutdown. Eventually when public opinion turns against Republicans (again … why Conservatives keep imagining “this time will be different” is baffling) they will eventually have to put forth a bill which can attract some Democratic votes before going the President for his signature.

    In the past 4 years, the truly bipartisan bills (of any consequence) that have come out of this Congress are pretty much all of the “compromises under duress” variety. A bill with nearly as many Democrats and Republican voting for it is “bipartisan”. Getting one or two conservative southern Democrats to vote yea does not make a bill “bipartisan”. Likewise, just because Republicans manage to convince all of their members to vote nay does not mean the bill that passes (for instance the ACA) is not a compromise.