Thursday, November 06, 2014

Cruising the Web

Philip Rucker and Robert Costa have a very interesting tick-tock story of how the GOP won. Part of the victory was picking better candidates, but they also trained them. So one day, they sent aides to ambush GOP candidates at the airport yelling questions to them about rape and abortion. That helped wake the candidates up to the pressure they would face and how they needed to deal with it. Meanwhile, the Democrats were fighting among themselves over money and the role of the President. Harry Reid's top aide David Krone has unleashed his own sniping comments about the President.

Josh Kraushaar writes that the Republicans this week breached the Democrats' blue wall by winning governor races in places like Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois as well as some House seats in blue states. This wasn't solely a victory based on a map that favored the GOP by having Democratic incumbents up in red states. The Senate victories in Iowa and Colorada refute that.

NBC News notes that the GOP now have a younger group of politicians in Congress compared to the older and more white Democrats. Imagine that.
The first female combat veteran. A daughter of Haitian immigrants. A 37-year old Harvard wunderkind. The youngest woman ever.

It’s an array that in past years might have sounded like the stuff of a Democrat’s dream press release, but it’s actually a sampling of just a few of the much-talked-about Republicans who won contested races Tuesday night.

As the dust settles after their rout of Democrats, the GOP can boast of an influx of dynamic congressional talent that looks younger and more heterogeneous than ever.

The average age of the new class of Senate Republican freshmen clocks in at just under 50 years old. Compare that to the average age of senators in the 113th Congress: a relatively creaky 62. And even that figure seems like spring-chicken material compared to the average age of the Democratic Party’s congressional leaders: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (74), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (75), soon-to-be-former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (74), and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (69).
Meanwhile, Politico writes that the Democrats missed out on an opportunity to elect their own group of young stars since their candidates lost.
After the Republican waves of 2010 and 2014, the party is depleted not just in its major-league talent, but also in its triple-A recruitment prospects. It amounts to a setback, Democrats say, that will almost certainly require more than one election cycle to repair.

At the start of the 2014 campaign, Democrats envisioned an election that would produce new national stars for the party in at least a few tough states – Georgia Sen. Michelle Nunn or Kentucky Sen. Alison Lundergan Grimes, for instance, or maybe even Texas Gov. Wendy Davis. Even if the party fell short in those “reach” states, Democrats hoped to produce new heavyweight blue-state Democrats – Maryland Gov. Anthony Brown, the country’s only black state executive; or Maine Gov. Mike Michaud, who would have been the first openly gay candidate elected governor.
Add in that the Republicans won more state legislatures and will be nurturing a whole new generation of potential stars for the future.

The GOP are now taking a bow for their improved turnout efforts. It demonstrates that no party will get a monopoly on new methods of winning elections since the other party will catch up within an election or two.

Michael Barone points out that Democratic incumbents on Tuesday got a vote that was just about where they were polling.

Nine takeaways from the GOP victories.

Four lessons from the 2014 election.

Debunking four myths about the Obama era.

Say good-bye to the fantasy of Democrats retaking Texas or at least making it into a battleground.

The politics of division has come back to bite Democrats. Jim Geraghty writes,
Since 2008, Democrats have built their policies, identities, and electoral strategies on an appeal to African-Americans, Hispanics, young voters, gays, and single women.

A side effect is that the party has spent little time or effort even considering how to appeal to whites, men, seniors, and married women.

When those demographics show up at the polls in big numbers, as we saw in 2008 and 2012, the Democrats enjoy big, big wins. When they don’t, as in 2010 and 2014, they lose by disastrous margins.

Just because you’re not going to appeal to every demographic equally well doesn’t mean it’s wise to write them off. And for the Democrats, it’s particularly unwise to write off the demographics who are the most reliable voters and most likely to show up in non-presidential election years.

The knee-jerk claim that those who disagree with a particular policy are part of a “war on women”? The exhausted, cynical accusations of racism in every conceivable policy dispute? The constant insistence that those concerned about border security are driven by xenophobia and hatred? All of that has a cost. After 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared, rural America was “becoming less and less relevant.” Less relevant to the country as a whole or to the world? Or just less relevant to Democrats?

A crazy idea for either party: Try to devise policies that benefit as many Americans, in all kinds of different demographic groups, as much as possible. Just try it. Let’s see how that goes.

The Democrats lost because they are the party of economic despair.
In Barack Obama , they were led by a detached president whose name history will attach to a prolonged, six-year economic catastrophe. They became the party of economic despair. The party of economic despair will always lose.

That is the one certain thing we learned in the 2014 midterms: Low economic growth in the modern U.S. economy is a total, across-the-board, top-to-bottom political loser.

The Democrats have now lost 28 senators who voted for Obamacare. Some retired and some lost elections. But that is rather a stark figure.

Celebrate the media's dismay.

How McConnell outsmarted Obama.

The Washington Post tries to figure out which election was worse for Democrats: 2010 or 2014.\

Washington state has, apparently, elected a dead man.

The election has torn apart the alliance between the Obama White House and the Senate Democrats.

Another group of big losers - teachers' unions. That's always good.

Iran is worried about having the Republicans taking over the Senate. That should tell us something about the Democrats, shouldn't it?