Three Takeaways from Yesterday’s Election Results
November 5, 2014
(Update, November 11th, 2014: Commemorative T-shirts now available!)
How badly did Democrats lose last night? So badly that NPR led one story this morning with the line “There is very little upside for Democrats in yesterday’s election results.” So badly that NPR headlined another story “Republican Candidates Swept; Democrats Wept”. So badly that NPR jokes that we need a new word to express how bad it was.
A few thoughts:
1: No Blue State Safe
Not only did a Republican win the governorship of deep-blue Illinois yesterday (as contemplated in this space three months ago); Republicans also won in Maryland (apparently only the third time in half a century) and Massachusetts, the paradigmatic New England state (Sean Trende remarked just a couple of weeks ago, “Polarization means that . . . it is more difficult for Republicans to win in New England, even in good years”).
Why? Well, Illinois is a mess, as National Review explored in a cover story three months ago (“Where the Sidewalk Ends: Danger and despair in Pat Quinn’s crumbling Illinois”), making the Democratic governor so unpopular that at some point he apparently even resorted to campaigning as a fiscal conservative. In Maryland, perhaps the loss had something to do with the spectacular failure of Obamacare and its state-run Obamacare exchange. In Massachusetts, Republican Charlie Baker “built an advantage on the question of who would better manage the government and improve the state’s economy, while Coakley saw her edge on issues like the economy and health care dwindle.”
In other words, when Democrats wreck a state badly enough, even blue-state voters are willing to consider electing a Republican who credibly offers reform.
2: Reformers Still Alive
Not unrelatedly, incumbent Republican governors who have been pursuing bold reforms, even ones that polls indicated might lose because of those reforms, were re-elected. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker tried to reform public-sector unions and succeeded. Ohio Governor John Kasich tried to reform public-sector unions and failed. Florida Governor Rick Scott simply tried to require that food-stamp recipients pass a drug test, leading to hyperventilating coverage in the Huffington Post and an ACLU lawsuit (federal judges overturned the requirement, reminding us why retaking the Senate is so important). Kansas Governor Sam Brownback reformed the state judiciary and cut taxes and pursued other reforms so aggressively that he was thought to be doomed (Nate Silver’s blog estimated an 80% chance he would lose).
All of them were re-elected, paving the way for other conservative governors to try creative reforms in their own states—doing so is not necessarily political suicide.
Update (November 6th): Arguably North Carolina offers another example. The governor there was not up for re-election this year, but Republican speaker of the house Thom Tillis defeated both Democrat incumbent Senator Kay Hagan and a libertarian spoiler candidate to become the next U. S. senator from North Carolina, after Mrs. Hagan tried to make the race a referendum on all the conservative reforms that North Carolina has enacted in recent years under Tillis’s leadership of the state house of representatives. (E.g., as the Charlotte Observer put it, Hagan “attacked Tillis’ leadership of the state House. The Republican-controlled legislature, enacting measures on voting rights, abortion rights and education, served as a foil that galvanized her party’s base.” As CBS tried to put it, “Hagan and her allies put a harsh spotlight on Tillis’ unpopular conservative record as state House speaker”—so unpopular that he won, oops!) (Update, November 7th, 2014: John Hood at National Review Online goes into more detail about what happened in North Carolina.)
Update (November 7th, 2014): Patrick Brennan at NRO reminds us that Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder (right to work) was also re-elected. Apparently Maine’s very interesting Governor Paul LePage reformed welfare and enacted “the largest tax cut in state history” and was also re-elected.
3: Democrats Shoot Selves in Foot in “War on Women” Wars: Or, the Double-standard Double Standard
In all of last night’s election results, you may have missed this news: More than one million people now have voted with their wallets, for Taylor Swift.
Let me take another stab at connecting the two. As America’s Watchtower, Bunkerville, and others noticed, Iowa’s outgoing Democratic senator Tom Harkin recently weighed in on the race to replace him, almost saying that voters should reject Republican candidate Joni Ernst because she’s “as good looking as Taylor Swift” but “votes like Michele Bachmann”. I think that sounds great (Ernst could have made it her campaign slogan!), but apparently Harkin didn’t mean it as a compliment, leading Ernst to respond,
I think it’s unfortunate that he and many of their party believe you can’t be a real woman if you’re conservative and you’re female[. ]I believe if my name had been John Ernst attached to my resume, Sen. Harkin would not have said those things.
Harkin isn’t the only prominent liberal who thinks he can have a double-standard double standard—that is, thinks liberals can get away with treating women differently from men where conservatives would not be able to get away with making the same kind of comments. Truesbury remembers some disgusting other examples of prominent liberals’ frankly misogynistic jokes (scroll down).
Maybe that’s part of why voters aren’t buying Democrats’ overplayed “war on women” rhetoric. In Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner defeated incumbent Democrat Senator Mark Udall after Udall’s “bid to paint Gardner as an extremist on abortion appeared to have backfired, with the Post calling it an ‘obnoxious one-issue campaign’ that insulted voters” (as Yahoo News puts it), leading women like Sarah Hoyt to deride Udall as “Mark Uterus”. (As the current version of this article on the Denver Post’s Web site puts it, there are indications that “the one-track crusade blasting Gardner’s record on personhood in Colorado and in Congress backfired, and voters grew weary of it.”)
At Hot Air, Jazz Shaw also observes that “The youngest women elected to office are Republicans”.
Update (November 7th, 2014): Matt Lewis at The Week has more: “The other casualty of the 2014 midterms: The war on women”
The attack rings especially hollow in a year when Republicans have elected so many firsts. West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and Iowa’s Joni Ernst, for example, will both become the first female senators ever elected from their respective states.
Cincinnati and Ohio Results
The Hamilton County Board of Elections links to the election results here. Unfortunately, Charlie Winburn lost to partisan Democrat Cecil Thomas 57-43, and Charles Miller lost to Judge Jerome Metz of late-term-abortion-clinic fame. Republican reformers Mike Mezher and Zac Haines lost their races for county auditor and state board of education, respectively. Judge Carl Stich was not re-elected.
On the other hand, all the other Republican judicial candidates in Hamilton County won their races. Judge Amy Searcy, who I had heard was likely to lose, won by a two-to-one margin. Republicans won re-election to all five statewide offices, by huge margins. In the state legislature, Republicans maintained their 23-10 supermajority in the senate and increased their share of the house of representatives from 60 to 65 out of 99, “the largest majority held by either party since the number of districts was reduced to 99 in 1967.” The chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party has resigned in disgrace, and also lost his seat in the house of representatives.
All in all, a pretty good day!
Update (November 6th, 2014): Links to others’ take on Tuesday’s election results (internal links in originals):
- Hot Air, “Don’t over-interpret an election: Pundits who set their hair on fire over 2012 results look silly”, “2014 fallout: Democratic officeholders jumping ship for the GOP” (including one that actually changes control of a state senate!), “Wow: DSCC canceling some ad buys for Mary Landrieu in Louisiana runoff”, and “DCCC chair calls it quits after two failures — in bid to move up”
- National Review Online: the editors, “The Governing Trap”; the editors also argue that Congress can and should stop President Obama’s next unilateral amnesty; Mark Krikorian, “Last night’s results were a repudiation of Obama’s policies, including on immigration”; Mario Loyola, “Walker’s Win: Why it was the most important GOP victory in the country”; Ed Whelan, “Don’t Bring Back the Judicial Filibuster”; Michael Tanner, “What will it all mean — for Obamacare, for the Senate, and for 2016?”; and George Will, “Six measures the Republican Congress should pursue, even if they result in a string of vetoes”
- Wall Street Journal, “The GOP Agenda 101: Taxes, Health Care, Islamic State”
Republicans attracted 10% of blacks, 35% of Latinos and 49% of Asian-Americans.
. . . I’m pretty impressed that the Republicans only lost women by 5%, and I bet they won married women by a landslide, as usual.
He’s my pick for the Republican nominee in 2016, and he is the most vetted Republican we have. They have tried EVERYTHING to beat this man in Wisconsin. Nothing sticks. All he does is win.
- The Other McCain, “And @AlecMacGillis Misses the Bus”
Democrats Didn’t Lose Governor’s Races Because of a GOP Wave. They Lost Because of Bad Candidates.
So says Alec MacGillis of the New Republic, but it’s difficult to say that this is a distinction that matters, even if it were true.
- Bunkerville, “Big big win for God and Guns!”
Congratulations to all who worked so hard for a great election result. . . . This will be a big, big help in 2016.
- America’s Watchtower, “The big losers in last night’s election? Gun control advocates”, “Republicans win big but what’s next?”, and “Tea Party wins Wendy Davis’ Senate seat”
It looks as if Greg Abbott’s victory over Wendy Davis was a double whammy for the left in Texas for the Tea Party captured the seat which was vacated when she decided to run for governor.
- According to Hoyt, “Of Miracles”
I think we’ve found the margin of fraud in Colorado. It’s the space between Gardner’s Victory and (so far at least) Hickenloper’s not losing. Which is what? 5%? . . .
I propose we start a petition to have the Colorado constitution amended with the Franchise and Anti-Fraud act.
- Carta Remi, “At last, It’s Pre-Dawn in America!”
Returning control of the Senate to the Republicans was the first step toward ending our 6-year nightmare of: accelerating national debt, illegal actions against those who disagree with the Administration, suppression of freedom of religion . . . .
- Quiner’s Diner, “Will the ‘Take-Away Party’ lose their power today?”, “The Republicans’ triumph is even more amazing when you look at this map” and “Faithful voters”
Republicans need to craft a positive message presenting themselves as the Opportunity Party to win over more of these voters.
- Similar map from Can I Just Finish My Waffle?, “Red State America, 2014 Mid-term Election”
A message to all our friends abroad, we are not what you have been seeing for the past six years.
- Via Head Noises, Truth before Dishonor reviews numbers of seats gained and lost, “The Difference Between 1994 And Today Is Democrats Have Obama”
When Clinton got shellacked in 1994, he learned. He triangulated. He moved toward the center.
- Disrupt the Narrative, “Libertarian Losers Club. Faux Conservatives That Keep Democrats in Power.” and “Speaking of Losers”
Crow! It’s what’s for dinner.
Sex and race/ethnicity shouldn’t matter, but since the Dems try to hammer the GOP with it and constantly accuse us of being racist and sexist (and old), it needs to be pointed out . . . .
and “Takeaways from Tuesday night” (warning: language)
We have a beautiful system. Long may it last.
- Eternity Matters, “Obligatory schadenfreudelicious post-election post”
Even with the rampant media bias, Leftist educational indoctrination, shameless race / gender pandering, IRS targeting of Conservative groups, hypocritical Koch-blaming, rampant voter fraud and more, we still won!
- Conservatives on Fire/Asylum Watch, “Joy and Sorrow”
- Voting American, “It’s a New Day in America…by AFVet”
“Just do it, get it over with. You don’t have to like the guy.”