There is no question the Republican Party did well during the mid-term elections, picking up over 60 seats in the House of Representatives alone. But the Republican Party remains mostly a regional southern and plains states party. There are more citizens in one square block of Manhattan than there are in an entire Red State. But the system is what it is. Billionaires created something called a Tea Party to oppose Obama. This coupled with a politically right wing Supreme Court that gave birth to big corporations giving unlimited money to politicians spelled doom for many Democrats. Most notably Blue Dog conservative Democrats were wiped out with the exception being in North Carolina. As has been reported elsewhere, what happened on election night was in part the end of the white male Southern Democrat.
We should not read to much into the Republican talking points especially the notion that people have rejected the President’s policies and or want to undo health care. Its simply not true. Especially given the closeness of the races. To win by 51-49 in a low turnout, great recession, election and say that means the American people by and large reject the President’s agenda is moronic. Exit polls revealed that on the economy American’s blamed, Wall Street, George W. Bush and then President Obama in that order. And although Republicans won the House. People still had a more favorable view of Democrats than Republicans. Spin that John Boehner.
The Bright Blue West
On the West Coast the Republican Tea Party fictional narrative did not play. In Nevada where the Republican/Tea Party sought to defeat the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid. Reid went on to easily defeat Angle, including in her hometown. California elected a Democratic Governor, Jerry Brown, who won by over a million votes, despite being outspent by about 130 million dollars. California also elected a democratic Lt. Governor, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and reelected one of the most progressive members of the Senate, Barbara Boxer – despite the wealth of Carly Fiorina and the Karl Rove led groups that attacked her. Oregon reelected a Democratic governor for a third term, reelected a Democratic Senator, and the entire Democratic Congressional Delegation. In Washington Patty Murray was reelected, albeit narrowly.
In order for the Democrats to win back the house and a build a permanent majority in the body the party needs to continue to solidify the West, the Northeast, and wage battle to win the Mid-west. In the Northeast an elected Republican at the national level is about as rare as an elected Democrat in the old confederacy. It appears that at least politically this country is as it was in its founding, in1860, and remains today – A country divided by region and world view.
If the Republicans repeal health care reform. Why shouldn’t the Democratic Governors of California, Washington, and Oregon get together and create universal health care for their citizens, or the state governments of New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine get together and provide health care for their citizens. What Republicans/Tea Partiers do not understand or may not see is that frustration with the politics of DC runs both ways. There are more American’s who thought the health care bill did not go far enough than who want the health care bill repealed according to a recent poll.
Democrats looking ahead to 2012 the avenue for President Obama’s victory is clear. He can not count on winning in Virginia as he did in 2008, or North Carolina, though I expect those states will be nail biters. And Florida and Ohio will again be the battle ground states that could go either way. But the President can still win re-election without both by winning the Blue West Coast of California, Oregon, and Washington plus Nevada, and the southwest democratic leaning states of Colorado and New Mexico, along with the North East and traditional democratic states Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Iowa would be a battle but if he were to win in Iowa along with the others mentioned he would be at 278 electoral votes, enough for reelection. Even without Iowa but assuming a win in the other states mentioned the President would be reelected with 271 electoral votes.
So Keith Olbermann, Democrats, progressives, and independents who live where most Americans actually live in Blue States, things may look grim now. But there is still Hope. This election was the Empire Strikes Back not Return of the Jedi.