Dems knock GOP out of the House, and maybe the Senate

I haven’t blogged the US midterms here because it’s all been happening over at Larvatus Prodeo. The Dems have gained the seats needed to dominate the House, and it’s going to come down to recounts and possibly lawsuits before know whether the Dems have gained enough seats to dominate the Senate as well [Update: no, the Dems managed to gain Virginia without going to court].

Even if the Dems only hold the power in the House and not the Senate, it means the end of the rubber-stamp Congress for the Bush White House. In some ways I feel a House victory but not a Senate victory, meaning a gridlocked Congress, may actually be good for rebuilding some bipartisan consensus in general, rather than having the Dems play avenger on the Bushie’s arses. It may also mean that the Dems generally have to try a bit harder for ’08, which considering their general lacklusterness is not a bad thing at all.

This swing to the Democrats also means that the new Speaker of the House will be Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker ever and the highest elected office a woman in the USA has held thus far. Bitch PhD has the best summary of how she will influence public discourse.

Categories: culture wars, Politics


7 replies

  1. Yabbut the Republican fundraising machine ride that same image of Pelosi all the way to the fundraising bank.

  2. Do you think it’s really worked that well for them, Andy? Amanda argues that their blatant misogyny over Pelosi actually bit them in the arse, because people resented being told to be scared of a skirt with power.

  3. There are two tactics in play here: Pelosi abuse as a fundraising ploy and Pelosi slams as an electoral tactic.
    I’m not privy to Republican party coffers, but I believe the fundraising ploy works. They’re playing to highly targeted audience who’ll open their wallets when threatened with Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton.
    I’m judging things from a distance, but I’d agree with Amanda that Pelosi misogyny probably backfired on them but it hard to quantify. It wasn’t the main Republican tactic (TERRORISM!!!!! was) and Pelosi is not the lightning rod that Hillary Clinton is, so Pelosi bashing was wasn’t going to win a lot of votes in any case.
    From the initial reports I’ve read say that Republicans did very poorly with independents. Given that independents tend to be younger, more educated and more wealthy, misogyny is not the conditioned reflex that it is among some segments of the Republican base. That, combined with the fact that the Republicans are still the minority party in the US, spells trouble for the Republicans.
    The Republicans have ecploited ‘wedge’ issues for a couple of decades to split off slices of the Democratic base. Maybe the Democrats will figure out how to use a few wedges to split social liberals/economic conservatives off the Republicans.

  4. The fundraising from the old guard makes sense, and so does your argument that the old guard who respond to sheer misogyny are an influential minority in retreat largely due to simple demographics.
    I haven’t seen it clearly psephologised yet, but my impression is that in precincts that are historically blue or swinging, voter turnout was up, while in traditionally red precincts voter turnout was down. Neither Pelosi nor Hillary were enough to motivate the base to get out and vote against when they were so disappointed with the GOP otherwise.

  5. I wouldn’t read too much into turnouts. Midterms generally have low turnouts unless it is a close race.
    Low turnout in traditional red districts and increased turnout in historical blue or borderline districts makes some sense because the midterms were fought almost entirely on Republican turf.
    Solid Red districts would tend to be safe Democrat seats. Blue districts would correspond to normally safe Republican seats. This time out the Democrats held onto all their incumbent seats and took some Republican incumbent seats and won open races.

  6. Solid Red districts would tend to be safe Democrat seats. Blue districts would correspond to normally safe Republican seats.
    Isn’t it the other way around?

  7. Yeah, I am still flummoxed by this Red vs. Blue thing. I still associate red/left/Democrats and blue/right/Republicans.

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