Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

A Government We Deserve? The Meaning of Tuesday’s Elections

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Tuesday's elections are widely seen as a referendum on President Obama and his policies.

Repudiation. Denial. Shellacking. These words have resounded throughout the media echo chamber following Tuesday’s elections, which have dramatically altered the American political landscape.

Now that most of the results are in, and most of the celebrations and lamentations are on the wane, two key questions have emerged: 1) Who were the big winners and losers? 2) How will the results shape our country’s future?

The first is largely straightforward, with a few caveats. The Republicans gained 60 seats in the House, as expected, and the Democrats managed to hang on to the Senate with a 53-47 majority. Although some governor races remain too close to call, including that of my native CT, the GOP has clearly made huge gains on the state level, picking up at least nine executive seats. Some other major developments:

  • Wealthy, self-financed candidates lost in spectacular fashion. Standout examples include Meg Whitman, who spent $142 million in her bid to become California’s next governor, and Linda McMahon in Connecticut, who paid about $103 per vote for a total of over $50 million during her failed senatorial campaign. Republican Rick Scott was the most prominent exception; he spent $73 million of his own money to win Florida’s gubernatorial race.
  • Harry Reid (D-NV) clung to his Senate seat despite a nasty race against Sharon Angle, whom he trailed in the polls for most of the fall. He will remain Senate Majority Leader.
  • Tea Party-backed candidates had mixed results. On the one hand, they enjoyed some serious victories, such as toppling liberal icon Russ Feingold in Wisconsin and electing Marco Rubio in Florida. However, their successes seemed to stop at the borders of densely populated areas, including New York and California. Other high-profile candidates like Christine O’Donnell, who once claimed to have dabbled in witchcraft, endured a drubbing at the voting booths.
  • Democrats were destroyed in many regions they carried in 2008, especially in the Midwest. They lost ten house seats between Pennsylvania and Ohio alone, and they lost governorships and control of both state legislative houses in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
  • Crucial California ballot measures…. Prop 19, which would have legalized and taxed marijuana, lost by about an 8% margin. Voters also rejected Prop 23, which would have repealed many of California’s environmental laws. Other measures include Prop 20, which tasks a non-partisan commission with re-drawing congressional district lines, and Prop 25, which requires only a simple majority to pass a state budget. For more information on propositions, click here.

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