Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Snap judgement: 2006 Midterm Elections

The Democrats have taken the House and, unless Conrad Burns has a "secret plan" to make 2000 votes appear out of thin air, the Senate too.

They won the House with ease, and should end up with a net gain of 31 seats. They achieved this by:

A) Capturing the districts that have been trending Democrat in presidential elections but still had a Republican representative. These seats -- mostly in the Northeast -- should remain blue for the foreseeable future.

B) Winning all of the unusually large number of scandal-ridden GOP seats. Apparently bribery or girl choking doesn't mix well with an unpopular president. In absence of more bribery or choking the Republicans should be able to win back most of these seats, which tend to be in solidly Red districts, quickly

C) Grabbing seats throughout the Midwest by running socially conservative candidates. This was the difference between an OK day and a big day for the Democrats. Rahm Emmanuel deserves a lot of credit for recruiting the right kind of candidates for the right kind of races. If the House resists acting on the instincts of what should be a very liberal leadership, it can make these seats part of a long term (but tight) Democratic majority in the House. If they can't resist, these seats don't stay blue for very long.

The Democrats were a little lucky to grab the Senate. Good candidates and Bush's unpopularity got them to the door, but it was the stunningly incompetent campaigns of George Allen and Conrad Burns that let them in.

If there is any silver lining for the Republicans it appears they are a step closer to making Florida a permanent part of their South plus Texas electoral vote fortress. They also, all things considered, didn't do that poorly in Ohio. In fact, they held more vulnerable congressional seats in Ohio than in any other state.

We'll be hearing a lot more about Florida and Ohio next time there is an election.

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