A-O Post Election Analysis 11-3-10
The Alpha-Omega Report’s
2010 Post-Election Analysis
From Landslide to Gridlock
GOP Grabs Majority Control in House
Democrats Hang on to Senate Control
CNN Projects Final Results:
243 Republican House Seats
192 Democratic House Seats
A gain of +64 seats for GOP
218 seats needed to control the House
A gain of 6 seats for the GOP
51 Needed To Control Senate
House of Representatives
2010 An Historic Election
The 2010 Midterm election in America are now history and the Republicans have managed to stage a landslide victory in the House of Representatives with CNN projecting a net gain of +64 House seats. This is a landslide victory of historic proportions.
You have to go back to 1938 when Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Democrats lost 72 house seats to the GOP. Under Harry Truman in 1946, Democrats lost 54 House seats.
In 1958 Dwight Eisenhower’s GOP lost 48 seats. In 1966, LBJ’s Democrats lost 48 seats and in 1974 amid the Watergate crisis the GOP lost 48 seats.
The most recent midterm election shift of such proportions was in 1994 when Bill Clinton’s Democrats suffered the loss of 54 seats after a tumultuous but unsuccessful attempt by Hillary Clinton to pass healthcare legislation. Perhaps ironically, the 2010 midterm results come on the heels of healthcare legislation that did pass despite overwhelming public opinion opposing the legislation.
While the media pundits and ‘exit’ polls downplay the healthcare legislation as a key factor, they do admit that the Tea Party played a major role. Even so, the Tea Party formed in the heat of the healthcare debate. It was healthcare that birthed the Tea Party movement although the media attempts to portray the Tea Party as an anti-tax and anti-spending movement geared towards making the federal government fiscally responsible.
While the Tea Party movement is indeed focused now on taxes and spending, the healthcare bill was the catalyst and the fuel which angered the public. That anger was further exacerbated by manner in which the Democrats managed the passage of the bill in a high-handed approach. Voters were angry at the cavalier manner in which Democrat lawmakers either conducted town hall meetings or didn’t even bother to hold town hall meetings.
The healthcare legislation was the primary factor which fueled the Tea Party which in turn fueled a grass roots effort to “throw the bums out.” While the Tea Party had some success for its broad efforts, its greatest impact came in the electoral races for the House of Representatives as they joined with Republicans to indeed throw 60+ Democrats from office. Most of those Democrats who did lose were supporters of the healthcare legislation.
Most of the GOP House gains came in Midwest section of America consisting of races in such states as Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. There were stunning victories in other states, too. In Missouri, the GOP knocked off a senior Democratic House member, Ike Skelton.
In our pre-election coverage, we noted the Ike Skelton race in Missouri’s 4th Congressional District in part because it was next door to myself and because of Skelton’s 33 years in office and his chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee – which oversees control of the U.S. military, especially the monetary funding of the military.
Another House race that caught public attention was that of Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts who chaired the committee responsible for the housing mortgage crisis and the mismanagement of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae home mortgage agencies. Frank has been in Congress for 30 years. Pre-election polls showed Frank’s election campaign to be too close to call, prompting the Congressman to loan his campaign $200,000 at the last minute to buy extra TV ads. Frank ended up winning by 54% to 43% for his challenger a 35 year old former marine. Even so, it was testimony to the fear which prevailed among Democratic Party lawmakers in the final days before the election.
The sweeping GOP House landslide itself was a repudiation of President Obama’s legislative agenda and a rejection of Obama’s efforts to govern the nation. It bodes ill for the President’s chances for re-election in 2012 although most pundits fail to realize this. Why?
According to my political contacts, there are quiet whispers of scandals brewing behind the scenes which will likely be brought to light by a Republican-controlled House. GOP lawmakers will control the House committees and these committees will more than likely hold hearings and investigations into any Obama Administration improprieties and allegations of corruption. Of course, there may be some back-room, secret deals to keep any Obama scandals under wraps but only if the price is right. In other words, if “The Powers That Be” wish to remove Obama from office or simply put him under tighter control, they’ll have a GOP House to enforce and or inflict punishment on the President.
The GOP House victory also sets up the Republican Party from a position of strength for the 2012 Presidential election. A Republican House can do much to set the pre-election agenda which will fuel the key issues for the Presidential campaign such as the efforts to repeal Obama’s healthcare. Republicans may also play a role in re-shaping Obama’s foreign policies, particularly in the Middle East and particularly regarding Iran’s nuclear weapon’s program.
GOP Gains Solid Victory
In the Senate, the Republican Party scored a solid victory picking up 6 seats in the Senate but just shy of being an epic landslide result. Prior to the election, Republicans held 41 Senate Seats to the Democrats 57 seats with 2 seats being held by Independents. 51 seats are needed to control the Senate. To grab control of the Senate, the GOP needed to grab 10 seats currently held by the Democrats. 10 seats is a daunting challenge in any mid-term election year including 2010.
It was a long-shot that the GOP could gain the necessary 10 seats to take control but “Tea Party” candidates fielded in Delaware, Connecticut and Nevada were simply too inexperienced and conducted ineffective campaigns. All three Tea Party candidates in those races made horrific public relations gaffes which the Democrats were able to exploit. Of the three races, only the Nevada contest turned out to be a close race to defeat the Democrat’s top leader in the Senate, Harry Reid. Reid managed to pull out a victory in part due to a huge “get-out-the-vote” machine that pushed Democratic voters to get out and vote.
In California, the Republican hopes to defeat their liberal nemesis, Barbara Boxer were dashed on election night. Boxer had managed to pull away from a razor thin polling margin thanks to the surge in Latino voter registration and turnout.
The Republicans did take away six Democratic seats in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. For the GOP, the Illinois Senate victory was particularly sweet because it was President Obama’s seat and the President had gone to great lengths to help retain the seat for the Democrats. Almost as sweet was the Wisconsin victory in which Democratic liberal incumbent Russ Feingold was defeated after serving 3 terms in office.
One other Senate race stands out from the crowd. The Republican candidate for the Senate seat in Florida was Marco Rubio who proved to be an up and coming “star” in the Republican Party. Rubio was favored as a Tea Party candidate but he showed a great deal of political savvy and charisma combined with an inspirational biography for the young candidate. Many Republican strategists consider Rubio to have the necessary abilities to become “Presidential timber” – and perhaps winning a future GOP presidential nomination and victory for the White House. He’s a winner that political watchers will keep an eye on.
So the Senate returns for the 2010 elections tallied up a net gain of 6 seats for the Republicans for a total of 47 Senate Seats compared to 51 Senate seats for the Democrats with 2 independent Senators probably remaining to caucus with the Democrats for organizational purposes of Senate committee assignments.
Please note that the Washington Senate race is still being counted as too close to call with ballots by mail still to be received. Based on what we’ve heard from political strategists, I strongly suspect that the Democratic incumbent, Patti Murray will manage to eek out a razor thin victory, so I’ve already included her win in the final tallies.
Another note to realize is that I’ve also included the Alaska election which is technically still undecided in a 3-way race, including a write-in effort by Republican incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski lost the GOP nomination to a Tea Party candidate Joe Miller. Murkowski rebelled against the party and the primary results and chose to mount a write-in campaign. She’s only one of about 150 other “write-in” candidates but the “write-in” tally has the lead in votes so far, but it will take perhaps two weeks to determine who really won. Miller and the write in votes were far ahead of the Democratic Party challenger which means that one of the two Republicans will emerge as the victor and caucus with the GOP.
Given the above factors we will find the Senate composition will be:
51 D to 47 R + 2 Independents
Solid GOP Victory
Governorships: GOP gains 9 governorships with 3 more still undecided with GOP trailing slightly in all 3. This gives the GOP 33 governorships.
Republican gubernatorial candidates also won governorships currently held by Democrats in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The GOP also defeated incumbent Democratic governors in Ohio and Iowa.
Three gubernatorial races may face recounts including those in Illinois, Oregon and Vermont. The Democratic candidates in Illinois and Vermont held razor thin leads with votes still being counted. In Oregon, the GOP challenger held a razor thin lead as additional votes were still being counted.
Democrats can point to California as a lone bright spot for the elections. Democrat Jerry Brown defeated the GOP’s Meg Whitman for the Governor’s race and Democratic incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer managed to win re-election, thanks to a huge surge in Latino voter registration and voting.
All told, the GOP expanded its Governorships to at least 33 seats and possibly adding one more, conceding Illinois and Vermont to the Democrats. Before the election, the GOP held 24 Governorships. This is more than the 6 gains I had predicted.
Equally impressive for the Republicans were the races for statehouses. The GOP won control of 10 additional state legislatures. This will give the Republican Party a significant advantage in re-districting the Congressional House districts to conform to the 2010 Census. It could mean that with re-districting, Republicans could configure congressional districts in such a way that the GOP could create as many as 30 to 40 new districts inclined to consistently favor Republican candidates and thus enhance chances for the GOP to be the majority party in the House of Representatives for 10 years.
Our Predictions versus Results
So how did yours truly did in pre-election predictions?
House of Representatives Predictions:
For the House of Representatives races I predicted:
“I expect the GOP will gain 55 to 60 seats in the House.”
The end result appears to be +64 gain of seats for the Republicans as there are still about 11 races still undergoing final tallies.
I had previously noted in my pre-election article that a 60-70 seat gain would considered something of “landslide proportions” and it appears the GOP did manage to trigger an electoral landslide.
My prediction for the Senate was as follows
“GOP will gain 6 to 8 Senate Seats, so I’ll stick to the middle figure of 7 Seats gained.”
I had expected that either Colorado or West Virginia would turn Republican, although the Colorado race seemed to have the best probability, as the West Virginia pre-election polls at the last minute showed a late surge for the Democratic candidate who has been a popular governor in that state. So, I missed the final tally by one. Not bad.
For the Governor’s races, I was a bit too cautiously conservative in my estimates pegging GOP gains to a mere 6 governorships. Here is how I predicted the results:
“If correct the Governorship balance by party would be:”
30 GOP Governors
19 DEM Governors
Although the there are still three races in limbo, the GOP will have at least 33 if not 34 Governors mostly likely. I doubt the remaining two races will result in GOP wins.
Late Post-Election Political Developments
Rumbling rumors around Washington indicate that the White House will undergo yet another shake-up and shake-out in staffing and organizational re-structuring. We’re also hearing numerous insider reports suggesting a small stampeded of additional Administration members leaving the White House before things come apart at the seams for Obama.
There are numerous rumbling rumors that at least one or two Watergate-level or higher scandals will now emerge with Republican control of the House. The scandals could be so powerful as to force President Obama to either resign or bow out of any re-election bid.
The day after the election, President Obama held a news conference to announce his desire to work together with the GOP leaders in the House and Senate to make some progress in the next two years to resolve rising unemployment and put people back to work. President Obama sounded conciliatory, but it remains to be seen as to serious he is about being bi-partisan.
We should note that Hillary Clinton was conspicuously absent – in New Guinea – ahead of Obama’s trip to Asia. Keep in mind that tradition requires any Secretary of State to remain out of any political picture. Even so, the tradition is helpfully convenient for Hillary if she chooses to challenge Obama for re-election in 2012. The next two years promise to be very interesting.