Election 2014: What Do the Midterms Tell Us About 2016?

Perhaps the most significant development is the ability of Republican candidates to break with hard right orthodoxy, even when their own roots lie there.

Comments: 120

  1. If 2 more years don't lift the veil,
    The outcome should make voters pale,
    More tax cuts for rich folk,
    A grotesque meltdown joke,
    Earth's health will continue to fail.

  2. Larry,

    You lost big, it's true.
    This is the best you can do?
    For a while Liberals are through.
    The world won't end it's true

    The problem will be the same
    Too many people in the game
    We need to change the rules
    Or we'll all end up fools!

  3. It was the arrogance of The Left,
    which finds them now completely bereft.
    Oh what excuse can they use?
    Must be racism? Fox News?

    How could Americans be so wrong?
    I mean...what planet are they one?
    Why don't they worship our betrothed...
    Just because he's no longer fully clothed?

  4. There's a NYT poet names Larry,
    Whose poems are lib'ral and scary.
    But when his guys lost
    His reasons were tossed,
    And his option was tale from a fairy.

    Obama in White House did hide,
    No one his coattails did ride,
    His party's destruction
    Will turn to obstruction,
    And be just like the other guys' side.

  5. constantly amazed by the ability of voters to vote for those whose interests are opposed to the best economic interests of themselves. if the gop plays their cards right they can send troops overseas, extend blocking the right to vote, give more tax cuts to corporate and the rich, find new ways to degrade the environment and generally have a good time.

  6. That's because republicans hate taxes, and education is funded by taxes. So low taxes equal ignorance, and ignorant people are like sheep, and will think what their fear mongering leaders tell them to think ...

  7. Lets end the failed American experiment and have a referendum to split up the country - I am tired of having 25% of my taxes going to confederate states.

  8. I agree, I'm tired of being held back by the Republican Confederate Tea party. We have serious issues such as climate change, income inequality, low wages, sky rocketing college tuition, crumbling infrastructure, literal highway gridlock,etc., to deal with. Time to sever the ball and chain.

  9. I'm marking A.O. as agreeing with the Conservatives - as a strong voice for getting extra-Constitutional tasks out of Washington, D.C. and back to the states where the Founders wanted them to be.

    Were we following their directions, there wouldn't be this extra tax money to slosh around back to the states after subtracting the D.C. surcharge for ''handling.''

    Just think of all the Education Dept. billions in the hands of the states' own education departments rather than most of it propping up home valuations in Prince Georges County and Fairfax?

  10. You both could move to Canada except they have a Conservative government too! There is always Cuba however!

  11. A recent Pew poll found most voters believe Republicans could do a better job than Democrats of dealing with the threat of terrorism, the budget deficit and the economy?

    Let's see how that squares with the facts:

    The most horrific terrorist event in American history happened under Bush Cheney. More than 3,000 Americans lost their lives.

    The all too rare budget surplus delivered by President Clinton was turned into a massive 10% of GDP annual deficit by Bush Cheney who in their wisdom thought it a good idea to cut taxes twice while engaging in two wars and expanding Medicare.

    President Obama has cut the annual budget deficit by 2/3rds while in office to 2.8% of GDP, the largest fiscal turnaround in 47 years.

    Before that, President Clinton tamed the massive Reagan deficits from expanding defense while cutting taxes.

    Clinton presided over the boom years, while Bush left the country with imploding capital, industrial and real estate markets. President Obama has steadily reduced unemployment, expanded GDP with record corporate profits.

    How the federal government is dealing with the Ebola threat?

    I thought people like Texas Gov. Perry were always saying how much more competent the state was in dealing with issues? I guess when it goes wrong its the federal government's problem.

    Republicans have lost 5 of the last 6 popular national votes. The facts speak for themselves.

  12. You're right about the facts. The problem is that voting is driven far more by identity than anything else, as far as I can tell.

  13. Sadly, this is why ignorance favors Republicans. They've sold this lie that they're economically responsible, despite about 80 years of evidence to the contrary. Since the great depression, the economy has, with the exception of only a handful of years, done far better by nearly every economic measure, when the president's a Democrat. It's not even remotely debatable. The contrast is so stark, it's laughable. And yet, people buy the GOP story because they can't be bothered to do any research. Or when they do research, they only research stuff that supports their already skewed beliefs. I mean, most people do, even Democrats. The difference is, Democrats have 80 years of history saying the economy does about 30-40% better under them.

  14. Interesting that when bush takes office in January of 2001 he immediately, in your scenario, took 100% responsibility for all things that occured after that date. 6 years after Obama was elected , many still attribute the causes to Bush.
    But lets examine some other 'facts.' Republicans are war mongerers? Check out who was in office for WW1, WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War.... add up all the American deaths for those wars, and they equal roughly 600,000 Americans. Wars under Republican were Grenada, 2 Iraq wars, and Afghanistan. total under Republicans = 10,000. Please reassess the Republican War monger claim. Fair? If your assessment is fair--then you should accept mine.

  15. What we've learned is that The GOP can go as far right as it wants, and that there is no end to the cowardice and impotence of the Democratic party. There is no end to the ability of Democrats to squander every bit of public opinion with their cowering, tuck tail stances.

    What we've learned is that Democrats stand for nothing, believe in nothing, will fight for nothing nor anybody. What we've learned is that the plutocracy has a straight,unimpeded path to the end zone and Democrats will run interference.

    And we've also learned that Democratic supporters will do nothing but whine about the big ol' bad Republicans and do nothing to demand that Democrats get their act together and stand for something.

    That's what we've learned.

  16. We've also learned that even their most implacable opponents still laud them as a Grand Old Party.

  17. I have no idea what your point is.

  18. Cowardice and impotence is accusing those who have trusted you with their guild leadership with being unAmerica so you can still have a spot on television and be awarded large sums of money for promoting tobacco.
    The Democrats are simply incapable of reconciling the fact that Carter was right and sometimes being right is not very popular.
    Maybe we need a political party that will tell the American public the truth that there is no such thing as a happy Walmart shopper. I think most Americans are well aware of what is happening and recognize neither political party has the courage to be honest and say the party is over and we've all had too much to eat and drink.

  19. There is no mention of EDUCATION and Common Core. Pres. Obama's education program with the Common Core has not been popular, at all. Students don't vote, but their parents do.

    I say Obama's biggest mistake is education. He could have fired Sec.Duncan and explored exciting new directions in computer-aided-instructions. Instead he focused on Race to the Top.

    He could have been our education president. I give him an F in education.


  20. Sent to the White House via snail mail on April 4, 2014.

    "If current polling data accurately reflects the national mood, it is likely that Democrats will lose the Senate in 2014 – especially if we cannot get your general election voters to show up for the mid-terms. It is likely that you will be facing an even more hostile Congress going forward. Given the radical nature of this Republican electorate, I think it quite possible that you will be facing nuisance impeachment proceedings. While these possibilities might be lamentable, they are nonetheless inevitable unless Democrats do a better job of directly addressing the legitimate concerns of ordinary Americans – many of whom have come to believe that both political parties are ultimately controlled by the same multinational interests.

    Mr. President, I believe that the American people want their jobs and dignity returned to them – and that the first party that can accomplish this will earn their enduring allegiance. For all their populist rhetoric, the Republicans have zero inclination to do this. They have become little more than an extension of American oligarchs seeking to impose a 21st century version of feudalism on America. However, unless we do a better job of differentiating our party from their party, by marshalling the ideas that will literally compel ordinary Americans to show up for us at the polls, I fear that they will win."

    Sometimes a party has to more than point out how scary the other guys are.

  21. Mathew,

    The President , by his actions and inactions has handed the Republicans a huge victory. He is their best salesman. Why would any Republican in their right mind not want him to keep on keeping on for two more years?

    Democrats, on the other hand might not be sorry to see the President "retire" really soon!

  22. Isn't it interesting that in Silicon Valley, where the rich are very rich (average mean income is over $145k) and the educated are very educated (98% of Palo Alto residents have a college degree), over 3/4 of the population in Silicon Valley are registered Democratics ....including most of the Valley's Fortune 500 residents (like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or Jack Dorsey of Twitter)???

    7 of the 10 richest counties in the United States are Democrats who also
    vote to lower taxes on the middle class and raise public education standards by giving of their own money.....Zuckerberg just gave my son's high school $1,000,000 and has pledged over $120,000,000 to SF Bay Area Public Schools.

    What have Republican rich individuals done for their public schools?


  23. Well, that's because educated people tend to vote Democratic and uneducated people tend to vote Republican. States with more college graduates tend to vote more Democratic and states with fewer tend to vote Republican. I mean, it kinda makes sense. One kinda has to be ignorant to vote Republican. If they were educated, they'd see it wasn't in their best interest.

  24. Of course this would fly in the face of reason of the rhetoric spewed by the left about voting rights and how the poor and uneducated are more adversely affected by voting laws.

  25. Dolly,

    They pay lots of property taxes which is how schools are supported!

  26. What do all these poll numbers say when there is voting suppression? Now we will never know how many would have voted if they could. Too much campaign money is involved. America is ruled by big money. People will find out when it is too late. Well maybe they need a big economic disaster to finally see the true character of the GOP.

  27. Unfortunately, the last Republican administration brought about the big economic disaster you describe. It doesn't seem to matter...

  28. The number one cause of Pres. Obama’s defeat is the Fox News effect. Obama is a good president to represent the American voters. After the biggest crash since 1929, he brought growth back, and the debt to GDP ratio way down. That’s with the GOP blocking most of his jobs and infrastructure bills. ACA is working in states where it is not being blocked. We have steady, rational guidance in foreign policy.

    What overcame that world of fact is the world of lies promoted by Fox News, the most influential but only one of the conservative news outlets. The record shows that Rupert Murdoch is the biggest liar in the history of our planet. For his news chief he uses Roger Ailes, the guy who got his start promoting the lie that there was a new Nixon. As Fox News expanded, Murdoch fired award winning, real journalists who wouldn’t broadcast his distortions.

    Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on the operation of the conservative media. MSM is owned by Wall Street and provides no effective alternative, just he-said-she-said. Fox News, 168 hours per week, year after a year, is an unanswered GOP ad. Regarding the scope of bias, “Fox News has no equal on the left, not even MSNBC.” (Michael Smerconish, http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20141026_The_Pulse__Extremes_of_pow...

    Businesses and political parties agree that advertising matters. That’s why they spend so much on it. Karl Rove admitted, "A couple a million dollars of unanswered TV does wonders."

  29. Please don’t forget low brow right wing talk radio whose numbers in aggregate far exceed the reach of Fox “News”. It is that ugly hate infused, dishonest trash talk radio that did it in 1994 and 2010 and will again and again. The usa is in pathological right wing media induced death spiral.

  30. "Obama is a good president to represent the American voters."

    No, he isn't. He's a terrible President. He fights for nothing. He finds the politics beneath him. And because of it, the country lost the opportunity to turn from the disastrous path Reagan put us on. Now we are on that same Reagan path, except this time,Obama's impotence and aloofness and reticence gave Republicans space to delegitimize liberalism even as Obama was pursuing center-right, right of Reagan policies.

    We couldn't have elected a worse president in 2008. McCain would have been superior if only for the fact liberalism wouldn't be blamed for center-right policies.

    Obama has been a disaster.

  31. Remember nearly 80% of American's thought going into Iraq was a good idea. That's when I knew for sure Americans were ignorant. It doesn't help that corporations own the media. Meanwhile the rest of the world is moving farther and farther ahead of the U S, which is now doomed to remain ignorant, frightened and stuck in the 17th century.

  32. This election is historic--but you won't see that in the headline of the NY Times. Expect lefty hand wringing, finger pointing, and obfuscation--alluding to some mysterious anti-incumbancy wave (that only seemed to sweep out Liberals), when instead, the results are a complete repudiation of Liberalism and the president who embodies it's principles. America has reasserted itself as a center right country. Hopefully, this nation's dalliance with the corrosive aspects of big government Liberalism is over once and for all--and we can reassert ourselves in our rightful role--the one we have always held--that of the economic engine, the Capitalist Miracle, the beacon of opportunity to the rest of the world--and the oasis of individual freedom.

  33. What a short memory you have, Jesse. It was only in 2008 that the economy crashed from your miracle of unfettered and under regulated so-called "free market" economy.

  34. "Complete repudiation"? Look at the results coming in. These are extremely tight races being decided by a handful of moderate, independent voters. If the party in power overreaches a little too much...the electorate tips the opposite way and the former minority becomes the new majority with a "mandate" to govern. Until the Senate and Presidential races become linked to gerrymandered districts, we'll continue to have this seesaw effect. And continue to make no progress governing this country.

  35. Really? How are the policies of either party working out for the middle class? Blaming liberals is lazy thinking.

  36. 2014. 2016. What difference does it make? We've already made the wrong turn. Let us all enjoy the fun sliding down.

  37. Even if some Repubs veer towards more 'centrism', they would still be more right wing than the standards of most most parties in democracies in the world. If they soften their harsh stance,they may win more votes, and then use that to solidify a return to rule by corporatism. That's where the money is, so how could it be different?
    Big money explicitly and legally directing our platforms and lawmaking can never result in representing the interests of average people. We will remain a country of lowering wages, lowering wealth taxes, under funded govt, difficult, inconsistent health care access. People will have to weigh life time debt against getting a college degree in planning their career lives. Retirement for millions will be out of reach, with bad consequences for the younger generation.
    All these problems require sharp departures from normal American politics to begin to solve--for both parties.
    Watching election coverage, the only program which seemed to get at the truth was Democracy Now, on the NY City University Channel. Ralph Nader spoke eloquently.
    We have witnessed a triumph of propaganda that confuses the public and neutralizes the opposition. A bit of movement either way is still within narrower confines, and much to the Right of other advanced countries.

  38. Here's the thing. In 2008, it was a mandate for the Democrats. In 2010, a thumping of the Democrats. In 2012, the GOP was dead and gone forever. Now, some big message for the Democrats. These polls and conclusions will flip within a month, or 6 months, or a year, or two years. It's kind of hard to take any of it seriously, esp. with voter turnout below 40% (I think that's what I just read). The beauty of America is that we all have one vote. Pick your views, pick a candidate that mostly closely matches them, and vote. Get involved further if you wish. Things will work out.

  39. Say hello to President Mitt Romney.

  40. Please say it ain't so. He never really wanted it enough, and now he's older.

  41. Now Mitt would be the BIGGEST gift the Republicans could give to the Democrats - he is simply unelectable.

  42. Republican candidates have not broken with hard right orthodoxies. They have done better at hiding their extreme views, abetted by journalists at most media outlets who ignore candidates actual policy proposals or past records in office. Voters who want to send a message to Obama or Washington in general elected candidates who hold positions and will try to pass laws at odds with the voters actual policy preferences.

  43. The Midterms have taught me that many people listen to Fox news, and therefore, do not know the facts. People have to read what Obama has done since he has taken office. Its called reading, and getting the truth.

  44. You certainly have the right to your opinion, but not to your own version of the facts. Besides, didn't you read about the Ivy League prof whose study found Tea Partiers slightly more able to deal with scientific info than solid liberals?

    P.S.: Pls list Obama's accomplishments without using the term, ''Cool.''

  45. Have you genius-poet-philosophers figured out your pained, ''We gotta be smarter than THEM'' outrage yet? The exact same thing was right here in 2010 AND elsewhere in 1994.

    You were sold a total vapor candidate who got you all excited but, because of youthful inexperience, you didn't know the sea levels would NOT change even if ''We Were The People We Were Looking For.''

    You bought into a sales pitch because it made you FEEL you were Doing The Right Thing Because You Meant So Well. Don't feel bad - this is part of the maturation experience.

    A majority of Conservatives went through varying versions of what you are going through now. Outrage at having been fooled is a tough teacher, but now you'll be skeptical the next time a horse-biscuit salesman rolls into town.

    We have to keep gov't activity local or at the state level. Anything relating to Americans can NOT be transferred to Central Planning in D.C. because ther will be unaffordable waste AND loss of your freedoms.

  46. You can't win without a message. You can't win when you're not true to your roots. You cannot win when you've veered so far astray from your constituency. You cannot win when you're bleeding voters to voter ID laws. A party with no soul cannot inspire its base.

    Democrats did not go on any offensives since the start of 2014.
    Democrats didn't make an issue of the VRA. Sure, they did for about five minutes, but they didn't present a united front and continue to stay on message.
    The Democrats totally dropped the ball with the Ryan-Murray budget agreement, and agreeing to more sequester cuts before that.
    Other than email blasts by the hundreds, where were Democrats this election season?
    Shunning the president in favor of some future presumptive nominee who, herself, was passed over for him, has proven to be a failure as a strategy. None of the Democrats who ran with the help of the Neoliberal wing of the party won their races. Those would be Lundergan-Grimes, Nunn, Carter, just to name a few.

    There are too many neoliberals in the Democratic party. Now is the time for a few of the old neoliberal guard to announce they won't be running for reelection in 2016. Let them graciously make way for new progressives to prepare for what promises to be a huge fight in two years.

    The current leadership of the party at headquarters, the governors' association, and in Congress should all resign tonight. Let the Progressives take over. They are the soul of the party.

  47. Those hundreds of e-mail blasts were often offensive to the Democratic base, certainly to me.

    The people sending out those e-mails really didn't get it, and they were the only thing going among Democrats.

  48. The Democratic party has shown itself to be as in thrall to corporate money as the Republicans. But a party divided against itself cannot stand. Democracy is taking a detour and I cannot see it getting back on course.

  49. All the polling indicates that President Obama was a negative factor for most Democratic candidates; they had little choice but to shun him if they wanted any chance to win.

  50. I think the main thing we have learned is that a solid governor who turns a state's sagging finances around, like Walker in Wisconsin, can also turn that state around to a viable two-party system.

    The fear the Left feels for Walker is shown even here, where he is as rapidly denounced as Sarah Palin or President George W. Bush, who also helped a lot of people find jobs.

    I am curious whether the night's events will in turn bolster those Louisianans who thought about abandoning Landrieu to proceed with that feeling on the December vote. As much as Landrieu talked up Keystone, a bigger Senate GOP majority carries more strength with most Presidents if not the current social-statist.

    As married as Mr. Obama seems to be to a speaking career for environmental groups, however - they are the one group he hasn't disappointed - getting him to compromise of this jobs-builder would be the newsworthy development following the GOP Senate.

    So, will Mr. Obama intentionally create a Constitutional crisis by opening the borders to 9 million, or 24 million, green-card carries, thus boosting actual U.S. unemployment back into the upper teens?

  51. The only successful mid-west economy is Minnesota but much like New England's Vermont the cool northern climate allows for the realization that polarization serves no one's interest. The country's problems are rather profound and will not be solved midst rancor and mistrust. It was only when Quebec's separation from Canada was made legal and a legal process was set forward to allow separation that Quebec really became part of Canada. I think it is with a legal process that allows for the USA to become separate countries that compromise and a way forward can be realized. California will not allow its future to be saddled to America's 19th century past.

  52. The pendulum swings again.

    As a Kentucky voter, I am (again) astounded that the electorate of my state continues to vote against its own interests. Half a million Kentuckians now have health insurance as a result of Obamacare. Mitch McConnell will spend another term trying to take it away. Obviously, there will be no increase in the minimum wage, though many in this state must try to subsist on it. I guess the majority dislikes Obama so much that this doesn't matter.

    Death to the middle class!

  53. Most of which is funded by your taxes under Medicad, and the majority of the rest can't even use it due to the high out of pocket costs and high deductibles.

  54. Let the republicans have their moment of glory...it won't last long. They have no real plan for taking the country in the right direction, whatever that is. Fortunately, Obama has the power of the veto and he will use it often in the next two years.

  55. The only real lessons to be learned from today's election is that many Americans are worried about their children's futures, are unable to find jobs that will give them economic security and are scared about the future. None of this is fresh news.

  56. This election is not the last word. It's bad and Republicans can do a lot of damage in two years. Obama was going to cut a deal with Republicans to cut COLA's for Social Security recipients. The intransigence of Tea Partiers on other matters stopped Obama from hurting the elderly. Hopefully, Obama will veto future measures from Republicans like were like the one he proposed. Hopefully, he's learned his lesson. Demographics is destiny. Time is on our side. Just hope our Democratic leaders will want to or be able to hold off long enough.

  57. It tells us that there will be a lot more Benghazi hearings, because the next two years is Hillary season.

  58. This republican victory is a gift to democrats. It will just take two years to arrive.
    Given half a chance, which they now have, the republicans will self destruct for all to see. They will have far more seats to defend in 2016 in the Senate. They will nominate a clown for president, for it seems that is all they have to choose from. The presidency remains democratic, the senate flips again, the house ...maybe. The wild card is the money, so much stinking money. May those five supremos live to regret the day they sold the country out.

  59. I never under estimate the ignorance of those who vote for Republicans and/or Republican policies thinking that they have ever solved economic problems or benefited social problems. These voters don't know their history and they don't believe in science. But they are terrified of Ebola and of violence "coming here" while they simultaneously insist that citizens ought to be able to carry guns every where and only one person has died from Ebola. I am furious that the votes of the ignorant will determine two more years of economic and other idiocies and biases. Let us hope then that Republican policies, as in Kansas, show just how catastrophic they are, but let us not have to suffer them for too long.

  60. This is the kind of arrogance that propelled the Republicans to control of the Senate. Believe it or not, Independent and Republican voters are not intellectually inferior. I am a Democrat and voted twice for Obama, but I am really tired of the politically correct claptrap. This idea that somehow only those who "really" understand the world are worthy of voicing an opinion or casting a ballot is elitist and just as shortsighted as what the Tea Party has to offer.

  61. What is painfully obvious is that the GOP was better able to exploit the fears and anxieties of the American electorate whose future offers far less choices its past. The Democrats offered no solutions to the very real anxieties. The GOP seems far better equipped to exploit those fears and provide a long list of suspects to blame for the economic collapse of a wide swatch of the American electorate. As my American wife went to bed singing Don't Cry for Me Argentina I am reminded of the scenarios we have seen all too often in the 20th century.
    America was warned 34 years ago that if sacrifices weren't made the scenario unfolding right now would happen. America chose to giggle along with an actor who cut his political teeth at the height of the McCarty era by telling the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and the FBI exactly what they wanted to hear.
    America's greatest enemy is the face in the mirror. It mattered little which status quo party was deemed most successful America's middle class is going to have to pay a heavy price for the 34 year binge.
    The only successful road to the future is investment in education, infrastructure and people and that means far less consumption in an economy that thrives on excess consumption.
    The single family home and the personal automobile may no longer be options, the collectivist option may be the only option. My hope is that no option may prove to be the best option. Sharing the one lawn mower on the block may be our godsend.

  62. Amazing that we have NY Times, Huffington Post, MSNBC, USA Today, NBC, CBS, ABC, that absolutely lean left, versus WSJ and FOx and the 'informed readers' here, seem to think that its fox news that carried the day. I think the equation is that the electorate doesnt want government so involved in their lives as this current administration believes it should be. Heck, Obama and his spokespeople already have indicated they will not adjust or alter any policies or initiatives based on this outcome. In other words--he is an arrogant guy. He knows better than me what insurance I should have. He knows better than the american people who have demonstrated a distaste for his leadership. For being an ideologue who wont give in or compromise at the same time blaming the House for their inability to compromise. Ive had enough of big government solving things in a wholy inefficient manner. Clinton learned when he lost midterms-that compromise could lead to good things. Not Obama-he knows more than anyone.

  63. The American electorate is divided 50/50 Tweedledum and Tweedledeee in most liberal democracies most Dems and most Reps would belong to the same right wing party. The Reps offered some direction which may be back to the 19th century but at least it is a direction. President Obama pulled your country from the edge of the abyss and for that I am grateful but it is 2014 and it is painfully obvious that a government that suits the desires of Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton cannot suit the needs of Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren. Great Britain in the 18th and 19th century had two right wing parties vying for power Whigs and Tories who had no room to compromise but Britain had ultimate authority rest in an unaffiliated crown.
    President Obama's failure and the failure of Bush before him is a failure to understand that in a deeply divided country the job of head of government and head of state is a fool's errand. A job I might say suited Bush to a tee but is way outside Obama's area of expertise.

  64. How exactly and specifically has the Government gotten more involved?
    The ACA requires me to buy health insurance.
    Thats it. What else?
    Anyone can grossly exaggerrate a falsehood and present false reality.

  65. We can hope the key learning is the 'politics of blame' does not work. To lead, you have to have a plan and the leadership to get there. The voters seem to have said they don't believe in the excuses of the Democrats and the President. The bad news for the GOP is the voters will have two years of excuses from them and 2016 should swing the other way. And so on and so on...

  66. What I have never been clear on are the specifics of the "tough" right wing. Does the right wing want to send our men and women back to Iraq and maybe also to Syria? We have spent billions on fencing and hired thousands of border guards, exactly what more does the right wing, hard, tough guys want to do? I thought they wanted to shrink government. It sounds like we need to spend more. And abortion - are we going to give a zygote human recogniton and despite the Supreme Court punish women who have an abortion with 25 yrs in prison for murder? Smaller government? Sounds like we will spend more to house all these bad women. And education - with vouchers just how many do you think will be able to afford an education (vouchers to "good" schools will require family subsidy, of coourse!). And with those unable to afford health insurance are we going to leave them on the streets to die? What exactly are the specifics of the tough, right policies anyway?

  67. Rima’s right. Being Right Wing Light doesn’t help Dems win. Elizabeth Warren is the way forward, but they will never get it. They are in thrall to a woman whose husband signed Nafta, the elimination of Glass-Steagall, a bankruptcy law that gave precedence in court to credit card companies over a man’s child support to his children, and welfare “reform”. Good luck with all that.

  68. Saw Joni Ernst delivering a victory statement tonight. She makes Sarah Palin look intelligent. Joni rambled on about the joy of wearing plastic bags as footwear to deal with snow/rain in Iowa. She is 44 years old. I grew up in a very cold climate while a child in the 40's and 50's when conditions were a lot tougher everywhere. I would be kind saying the neighborhood I grew up in was lower middle class. We did not wear plastic bags as footwear.
    Just as nauseating, she exhibited the tendency to laugh or snicker at her own jokes.
    I hope that now she has been elected she goes ahead with her promise to privatize Social Security. Abolish the EPA. Do away with minimum wage laws. Do away with the IRS, and put the one per cent on the honor system for paying taxes.
    Who votes for people like this. Did they not listen to anything she said.

  69. I believe she would make abortion illegal as well.
    Although nobody could make Sarah Palin sound intelligent Ernst does come close.

  70. What your stats here and the election results clearly tell me is that Americans are disenchanted with the US voting system, feel their votes don't matter and most do not even vote, and that those who do vote are ill informed, racist, and scared of change - even change for the better.

  71. The failure of the Left is their own doing. They started caving as early as March 2009, when they had just won it all. As soon as the false outrage started, they splintered, faltered, then largely abandoned the President and ran. They have been running ever since.

    Democrats blame their own leaders, while the Right blames the Left: this means EVERYONE blames the Left! They at least try, but even when they won at great cost, they don't have the courage of their own convictions. They never stood up for the ACA, because it was too controversial. The GOTP CAUSED THE CONTROVERSY, NOT THE POLICY. The GOTP did their smear and false outrage job well.

    The Democrats never learned that disunity and lack of messaging, and running away is a fast track to failure. Instead, they say: "I will blame Obama because he is not progressive enough." Until the Left comes alive, *nobody to the left of Obama will ever be elected again.* Until the Left can unite and sell a message to the country. It;'s not on Obama to do it all! Those that "stay home" out of principle... sell out their fellow citizens, and themselves.

    The failed Democratic Party are "leaders" like Maureen Dowd, who made a career about finding new snarky putdowns for "Barry", because he "disappointed" her. This is power, voice, and message leadership on the Left today. They should be happy at what they helped create.

    Until the Left learns THIS IS WAR FOR THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PEOPLE, they will lose every time.

  72. I could not agree more. Obama is a reasonable man, and he has the failing of all reasonable men: believing that all other men are reasonable. We made the mistake of confusing BHO with FDR. The latter was utterly ruthless in pursuing his ends, which were ruled by a concern for, and dedication to, his country. Thus in the face of even more fanatical opposition than was faced by BHO, he succeeded in changing this country forever, and for the better. What we need on the left in 2016 is a shrewd, unscrupulous fighter who serves ends, not means.

  73. It is ironic that Republicans should exploit the rise of ISIS, since it was bungling Republican officials who made its rise possible in the first place. Without the invasion of Iraq, de-Bathification, selection of Al-Maliki by Team Bush, where would ISIS be?

  74. Democrats were outfoxed by Republican strategists. They chose to make it Republican candidates vs Obama and effectively communicated through the media that Americans were in miserable shape and the President was incompetent. Democrats did not effectively respond to the Strategy. Somehow we could not pin the American middle class misery on the Republicans and most did not know how. The President lost control of the narrative and could not overcome the Republican message.

    There is a lot to be done but because we will start a Presidential campaign in 2015 and it will take the new Chairmen about 5 months to settle in. If history is correct there will also be a crisis or shock until the 2016 election.

    Dems will just have to regroup and put together a good message based on how we could make the lives of Americans better if they were elected.

    I agree with Rima Regas. Dems should listen to her priorities more. She has a handle on American's need.

  75. @James - It's still hard to imagine which GOP'ers will be joining arms with POTUS and other Dems to sing kumbaya and compromise, isn't it ?

    GOP'ers need to give us the names of those who will not be preening for 2016, still being just as divisive as possible, catering to the base, agitating for impeachment, and threatening government shut-down.

    If such a list ever becomes available, it will indeed be short.

    And besides, as Rachel Maddow explained Monday night, in the last 60 years, in the 2nd mid-terms of every 2 term POTUS (Ike, Reagan, Clinton, Bush) the average gain in Senate seats for the out-of-power party has been 6 seats.

    For GOP'ers to have picked up 1 more seat than average is no rout, nor ringing endorsement.

    They will still try to stampede POTUS, Democrats, and the media into thinking there's been a ' wave ', but all you have to do is look at the split (21/15) of Dem vs. GOP'er Senate seats up for election this year, compared to the Dem/GOP'er split in 2016 (10/24) to see that GOP'ers should have done much much better this time if there were an actual ' wave '.

  76. I think the problem with the Dems is they do not have a killer instinct. I watched Tom Tellis run over Kay Hagen on a TV debate and Kay had no answer to his (largely) false charges on how he had helped the citizens of NC. Or his statement he was going to help NC when in the senate, to hell with the rest of the country.

  77. Funny that the Wall Street Journal, chosen rag of Republicans, can't say enough good news about the great economy.

  78. People will never realize that their might be differences in theory between the two political parties, but in practice their is no difference. All politics is controlled by money. Obama has been nothing but a divider of the people along race lines. It really is amazing how unintelligent we have become as a country.

  79. The GOP is likely to take this election as a sign that Tea Party/Christian Dominionist ideology is popular with the voters. Therefore, they will double down on The Crazy in 2016, and the presidential field will make the GOP Clown Car of 2012 look sensible. They could be heading for a 40 state blowout in 2016 if they are not careful.

  80. "Similarly, Gallup found that 24 percent of the public worries about the Ebola virus, and confidence in the ability of the federal government to deal with the threat declined from 61 percent to 52 percent in a matter of two weeks, from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19. The drop in confidence was much sharper among Republicans and voters who lean Republican than it was among Democratic voters."

    A disease that has killed one person in the U.S.

    Amazing! An entire nation that cannot add.

    All theater. All the time.

  81. To put it bluntly, Ebola has killed less people in the U.S. than Kim Kardashian has married. Let that sink in for a while.

  82. Or Larry King.

  83. I am looking at these elections from the outside, the outcome of which are very challenging. In my opinion the basic question is, how can a president rule effectively, when he hasn't a majority in neither of the legislative forums? This is frankly speaking a deadlock situation. Of course, any constitution contains articles that can be applied in such a situation: The president can rule by direction. Such rights are restricted usually, since they are out of democratic control and thus unwanted. However, in an emergency situation such rights can be quite far reaching, and the president has taken steps in that direction in the political dispute of the last 1 1/2 year already. The danger I am seeing here is that this could become a habit, ending in a rule that continuously bypasses any democratic control. Also, the citizens could get used to this: Instead of fruitless and endless disputes in the parliament without solving the problems there is one verdict that moves something. In all, the danger is that the democratic system could be undermined severely. I think this should be kept in mind in the days to come, and the hope is that this dangerous deadlock situation shall not last for too long, switching back to a functional democratic state, perhaps in the 2016 elections.

  84. The midterms tell us, as will the 2016 election, that our Government as we have envisioned it to be in story and song and respect, has been lost to us. It is now a business property owned by only the wealthy and morally unhealthy. A sad day for America, and we will now watch as the lawmakers do as they are told. I predict that The Draft will return along with many combat boots and ventures once again into places where we are not wanted or welcomed. It is a good time to be old.

  85. In the end its always about money in the back-pocket, social causes is cream on top. I don't see African Americans ever voting for the GOP, especially after Obama's humiliation, so that is 14% in the bank for the Dems. If the GOP tackles immigration reform, and protect the back-pockets of the Hispanic community, they can pick up up to 50% of the Hispanic votes, leaving Dems with 20% of votes already in the bank. So to win in 2016 they need to pick up 35% of the white vote, which is approximately 1/3 white voters. And it will be the money in the back pockets of those white voters that will decide. As it always has.

  86. I'm sure you know that biggest spenders in elections are the unions who always try to buy Democratic votes. Sadly for you, a lot of Republican voters vote for their ideals.

  87. Amy: Ideals? Doing nothing? The Party of NO? Constant vacations? Cutting taxes for the uber-rich? Making the poor hungrier? Cutting off unemployment benefits? making Bob Dole a joke on the Floor by voting down a treaty for the handicapped? The cutting of WIC, the program for the poorest of mothers and infants? Amy, the reason why I have never voted for a Republican in all my 66 years is precisely because of 'Ideals"..... only I call them "ethics", and I will never vote for a party that I consider ethically challenged.

  88. And for the othe 2/3 will be racism, philistinism and bigotry

  89. I would curb the enthusiasm about how this election could prompt a REpublican takeover over the Presidency in 2016. That will be another general election year too, and as such could reserve many surprises following the current and future state of affairs in Washington, and the sensible shifting in voting into many electoral Republican stronghold like Kansas and Alaska senate candidates. And about Kansas we have to see how it ends up the political- induced deficit the re-elected gov. Brownback enacted.

  90. I would curb the enthusiasm about how this election could prompt a REpublican takeover over the Presidency in 2016. That will be another general election year too, and as such could convey many surprises following the current and future state of affairs in Washington, and the sensible shifting in voting into many electoral Republican strongholds like Kansas and Alaska senate candidates showed up this time. And speaking about Kansas we have to see how it will end up the political- induced deficit disaster the re-elected gov. Brownback enacted.

  91. Actions will speak louder than campaign promises. The 11th hour converts to over-the-counter birth control will need to stand fast when some of the true-believers introduce legislation preventing access. The deficit hawks will need to stand fast when the budget cuts or (gasp) tax increases required to close deficit are made explicit. Those favoring intervention in Syria will need to stand fast when more funds are needed and (ulp) more troops are required. It's easy to oppose what is happening now. It will be difficult to support what is needed to fix things.

  92. OK Congressional Republicans. Time to govern. Let's see how this works out. (My first thought last night was, be careful what you wish for - you may get it.)

  93. It couldn't be worse that what we got from the Democrats.

  94. Major legislation will still take 60 votes in the Senate and face an Obama veto; I don't expect either the Dems or Obama to be any more cooperative now than the Repubs were previously.

    The pipeline will be the first test in my view.

  95. Much worse, wait and see.

  96. Okay, here we go.
    The Republicans now hold the House, the Senate, and the Supreme Court.
    The party of "NO, NO, NO!" now has to come off their permanent vacation and actually DO something. It can no longer hide behind their scorn and hatred of Obama and anyone left of Attilla the Hun - it must actually get down and produce JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.... and electing the likes of David Perdue, who boasted about shipping JOBS off-shore does not bode well for this country.

    Did you catch that? I said, "THIS COUNTRY"! It's no longer about you, Republicans. It is about the needs of the people of this country and your 6 years of simpering and sneering at the unemployed, poor and needy is oveer. They are now your responsibility, got that?

    You've got 2 years. The countdown starts TODAY.
    You're in charge.
    Now act like it.

  97. I am going to be fascinated to watch and see if the American voters who expressed their political will are going to be happy in a year or two.

    I am very dubious that the extreme animosity towards this President will change in the next two years. Which is why I expect that the gridlock will continue, but just a different cast of characters. It's a very clever scheme that the RNC hatched: control the senate and give the President unpalatable bills that he will be forced to veto on principle. Again, he takes the heat.

    I find it ironic that when it comes to terrorism, the voters seek out Republicans. Apparently they have pretty short memories of what militarism looked like under Republican administrations.

    Finally, I was thinking this AM about the mantra of Bush Pere who ran on the concept of a "kinder, gentler" nation. I haven't heard that sentiment expressed by any Republican for a long, long time. My fear, partly based on realism based on the past, is that we are in for some tough years of "a harder, meaner" nation.

    I would love to be proved wrong.

  98. The United States in my lifetime has gone from being the most powerful nation on earth to being the most willfully ignorant. I guess landing on the moon was a fluke.

  99. Landing on the moon in 1969 was not a fluke. Bringing home the Apollo astronauts was not a fluke.

    But if they occurred in the recent times of Honey Boo-Boo and Fox News, then you'd be right.

  100. What do they mean? Reince Priebus said they mean punishment. "Severe punishment," to be exact.

  101. Oh how fun it will be to watch Americans come to the realization that we just stepped back 20years of progression and our re entering the Stone Age.

    Oh how much fun the GOP will have with Medicare, social security, Obamacare and most social issues. Watch out boomers......hope you saved for your retirement all on your own!

  102. I could respond in great detail (greater than 1500 characters will allow) on each of the points considered here. I will, however, simply slip into the character of Benjamin the donkey from Animal Farm.
    'Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey.'
    You're still not seeing one. What you're seeing is the swinging of the pendulum, which in six decades of life I've seen happen over and over. This is in the nature of democracy. The electorate are like passengers on the Titanic. They rush madly to starboard. The boat lists. Quick, to port! The boat lists the other way. I'd compare them to lemmings, but the notion that lemmings stampede en masse over cliffs to their death is a canard; off-camera assistants in that infamous Disney documentary flung them over the cliff because the critters were too smart to commit suicide unassisted. (Lemmings are smarter than most Humans, let alone most Americans.)

  103. It seems that the democratic process has added a new twist. The general elections favor the cities while the midterms favor the rural voters. So goes the new math. The 2016 general elcetion will once again go to the large metropolitan areas, which loosely means that the republicans have two years to show the voters that their control of the Senate means something positive for the country. It will be quite interesting to find what areas that the new congress will actually work with Pesident Obama to move forward into the 21st century. The house will remain in republican hands do to gerrymandering districts.

    The next big question however is the faux scream factory in continuing the "everything is Obama's fault" campaign. Now that the Senate is in the republican's control, how likely is this message really going to resonate? And, in order to make it effective what policies will be chosen to demonstrate it? Most likely we will see the same old battles of the last 6 years play out again with debt ceiling, budgets, entitlements (aka earned benefits), and the like.

  104. Now that they have what they want are they really going to alienate 12 million people who finally have health care?

  105. Health insurance is NOT health care. In fact, in half of all bankruptcies due to medical costs, the bankrupts did have insurance. Read the articles in the NYT series 'paying till it hurts'.

  106. Uh.... yes. They have 2 years to institute every item on their list for their Masters, ALEC and the Koch Bros. The Supreme Court will back them to the hilt. They can pass any voting laws they want to offset that 12 million. There is nothing stopping them, even Obama, who has already said that he's willing to 'compromise' fully. Yeah... well, that's how we got into this mess, isn't it?

  107. Regardless of whichever party took control, I don't think this is the event that most are making it out to be. My one strong thought from last night was that any democratic candidate who ran from the president, as a campaign strategy, deserved to lose, and I'm glad it worked out that way for them. Show some gumption!

  108. Two opinions, actually, at least. I've signed up for your "take" on this sad situation. Even more opinions probably. I'd guess millions of opinions, maybe tens, maybe hundreds.

    Now, the donkey turncoats will debase themselves further in a chorus of Obama-blaming. Thank you, Team Clinton.

    If we ever needed a viable third way of reasoned courage, that moment is now.


  109. If the Republicans move away from the extreme right they certainly could improve their chances. But that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Since the Republicans clearly control the political narrative of white voters they have no reason to move very much away from where they are. The Hispanic card seems to be far off for the Democrats. The South remains a bastion of hard line bluster against liberal fixes. The minimum wage will not be addressed. The danger of green house gases will be neglected and remedies called job killers. The Republican prescription for more austerity and tax cuts will damage the economy. And with the rest of the world economy dangerously close to recession and deflation the Republicans seem ready to leap into the abyss.

  110. I disagree that Nunn and Carter were "surprisingly strong", esp. after the polling was showing a tight race and possibly a runoff for the Senate.

  111. I suspect the extremest on the right will interpret this and a mandate from heaven. I also suspect extreme buyers remorse in February 2015. I also hope every time these conservatives try to gut social programs for the poor Democrats add riders gutting the beloved farm subsidies.

    If Ms. Ernst want to cut Pork we should make sure it includes the Pork Farmers of Iowa.

  112. Every Democratic candidate who ran away from Obama--a President with no ugly scandals--richly deserved to lose their races.

  113. What do these polls reveal that doesn't implicate the ignorance of the electorate?
    When we poll, do we qualify the knowledge set of the people being polled or just use random sampling to insure accuracy?
    How many ways can we overlook that a significant percentage of Americans know little or nothing about the issues yet are given the franchise? I don't doubt the accuracy of these polls, but the subtext is terrifying given the results.

  114. Democrats may indeed retain their lead over the GOP in their ground game of identifying likely voters but they have rained on their own parade by threatening those once-likely voters with being reported to the school principal if they fail to vote.

    This is in addition to countless other Democratic bullet-in-foot fatal follies.

    Come out, come out, Michael Bloomberg, wherever you are!


  115. Let me summarize the reaction of most of the Liberal contributors to this thread: "We lost, voters are stupid".

  116. Only six years after George W. Bush's presidency ended, Americans have forgotten how the Republican party deliberately lied to us to get us to go into war, lost billions of dollars in said war, destabilized Iraq, encouraged our military to torture people, set up a prison with no due process, wasted our surplus, and permanently tanked the economy. It's only six years since the Republican Party picked for Vice Presidential candidate an ignorant, uneducated, and inexperienced woman. It's only TWO years since Mitt Romney plainly told us that the Republicans believe that half of the country is "takers" and that community organizing is a joke. The Republicans in Congress vote together in lock-step. A vote for one is obviously a vote for the national Republican agenda, which everyone should know by now is absolutely terrible for our country. Why did even a single person vote for them in the midterm elections?

  117. What do the Midterms tell us about 2016?

    They tell us that 2016 will be a good year for Hilary Clinton.

  118. Too much is being made of the 2014 mid-term elections. If this same level of GOP support emerges in 2016, then I will find validity in the results.

    But 2014 results simply lines up with what has occurred historically, at least since the Eisenhower presidency for the party not holding the office of presidency.. All the spin and hyperbole as it being anything more is simply hot air.

  119. Dr. Edsall,

    I caught the comments of Trent Lott and Tom Daschle at the BPPC at 11. I hope you saw it. Both noted that in 2016, the Senate seats on Blue and Red States tilt to the Democrats. So I think Majority Leader McConnell and the GOP caucus will feel the necessity for accomplishing something to quell the popular discontent, even though I really believe, the popular discontent was a creation of the right leaning media.

    Both of the former leaders agreed that we should reinstate earmarks and believe that the absence of earmarks had contributed to the increased partisanship of the Congress.

    Anyhow the program is available on the web.


    Your column's Allison Shelley pix was fantastic.