I can’t think of much to say about the U.S. midterms that hasn’t been said already. It’s not just a referendum on Liberalism even if you think the Democrats have been particularly liberal (I don’t), because that ignores the importance of the economy and high unemployment. But it’s not just about the economy as liberal pundits are already arguing, since Reagan in 1982 was in exactly the same situation — high unemployment, endless recession, sinking popularity — and his party suffered fairly mild losses for a midterm election. But on the other hand, the Reagan analogy also reminds us that Obama is not uniquely unpopular or rejected, since his standing in the polls is about the same as Reagan’s in 1982. A combination of high unemployment, unpopular policies, depressed Democratic base, enthused Republican base, giving back the huge gains of 2006 and 2008, and so on, all combined to create this situation, which means that almost every reason given for the result will be sort of right.
The one thing that won’t be right is if people talk about a Republican re-alignment.You’d think that after the Democratic re-alignment of 2006 and 2008 proved to be illusory, and the Republican re-alignment of 2002-4 also turned out to be illusory, we’d hear less about realigning elections, since in an ideologically-divided two-party system (as opposed to the several-parties-in-one system that allowed Democrats to control Congress uninterrupted from 1955 to 1994) no party can stay underwater for very long, because the only option for “throwing the bums out” is to throw the other party in. Of course it might turn out that the Democratic majority was similar to the one they had during most of the Woodrow Wilson era, an interlude in what was otherwise a long period of Republican control. But on the other hand the Republicans could just as easily give back what they win this time, like they did in 1948 after their big midterm blowout in 1946. Nobody knows, is the point.
Anyway, that’s all I got. Since I’m not looking forward to watching the post-election coverage, here’s a preview of all the press conferences by the newly-elected Representatives, Senators and Governors:
Addendum: A preview of a piece that will be airing next Tuesday on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, though it doesn’t look like they got very much: