The state of affairs as I write:
House: 231 D, 199 R, 5 Undecided (NM1 and WY-AL lean R, CT2 leans D, WA8 genuinely undecided, 1 TBD in a runoff (TX22)). Likely result: 232D, 202R – precisely the opposite of the last Congress.
Senate: 49D, 49R, 2 Independent (VT/Sanders and CT/Lieberman, both expected to caucus with D). Likely effect: 51D, 49R.
1. Democrats captured the national political center. The big story of the night was not the happy rejection of certain right-wing red-meat Republicans (like Santorum). It was the ejection of "moderate" Republicans in favor of truly moderate Democrats in the North, Midwest, and West. In 1994, as in 1974, the tide was carried by the radicals of the winning party. In 2006, it was the moderates who won. This was a vote for normalcy.
2. This is a huge boost for the DLC, and – oddly enough – for ur-liberal Howard Dean with his 50-state strategy. Tom Vilsack's (2-term D governor of Iowa) announcement of a presidential candidacy this morning is symptomatic. Evan Bayh (D-Senator Indiana) was also hitting the airwaves this morning.
3. This is a huge victory for the American West. The Speaker of the House is a Californian. The Majority Leader in the Senate is a Nevadan. Democrats now control the governorships of: Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, and picked up key senate and house seats there too (Montana Senate, CO7, AZ5, AZ8). In statehouses, Dems made significant gains in the Mountain West. The gravity of the Democratic party is shifting to the West, giving the libertarian wing of the party the boost. In fact, the Libertarian party made substantial vote gains in the West this year (their votes were crucial in Montana and will be crucial in WY-AL if it goes to the Dems), a clear symptom of the abandonment of the GOP by the small-government voters. Montana's legislature is now split exactly 50/50 – in both houses! Nevada's legislature is split also.
4. New blue states: Ohio, Colorado, and Iowa. All three have Democratic governors, one Democratic senator, and new Democratic representatives. Democrats control both houses of the CO and IA legislatures. This has huge implications for 2008.
5. New purple states (swing states): Arizona and Virginia. Yes, both states have Democratic governors. In AZ, the Dems made legislative gains, getting 28 of 60 seats in the House. Same in Virginia. AZ became the first state in the union to defeat a gay marriage ban on the ballot. AZ banned smoking in public places and raised the minimum wage. John Kyl(R)-AZ re-election was closer than predicted. In VA, there is a new Democratic senator, who would have won by a larger percentage but for 26,000 Green Party votes.
6. State results shows this national shift was not just about Iraq. 6. At the state level, Dems now control 23 state legislatures, Republicans 16, 10 are split (one, NB, is 'nonpartisan'). Democrats seized one legislative house in MI, PA, WI, OR, IN, two in NH. http://www.ncsl.org/statevote/StateVote2006.htm# . Even where parties did not shift, Dems made gains almost everywhere outside the South. Only in CA did a moderate Republican hang on, because he went to the center-left.
I welcome your comments on this analysis.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
The state of affairs as I write:
Posted by The Law Talking Guy at 11:16 AM