How bad was last night?
It appears that for the first time in history, a party (the Democrats) did not lose a single Senate, Governor or House seat it was defending.
The left topped us in turnout for the first time in 16 years, too, thus presenting the standard loser’s quandary: did we lose because the GOP betrayed its conservative principles or because it didn’t betray them enough? “The latter,” says Arlen Specter while receiving a warm, gentle tongue bath from the AP. “The former,” says everyone else, including Tom Coburn, Mitt Romney, John McCain (as you’ll see below), and most of the conservative blogosphere.
Wherever you come down in that debate — and I think See-Dub’s advice in point II of his post is well taken — there are two bad trends here worth noting.
1. Motivated young voters. Turnout among 30-and-under was the highest in at least 20 years, and was up by 2 million voters — or 25% — since 2002. Why is that worrisome? Revisit this graph from the Times that I posted a couple of months ago and you’ll see.
2. Geographic realignment. It’s a lot easier to flip a blue district in a red state than a blue state (or region). A lot of red islands got swallowed up last night. See Steyn’s item from 10:40 p.m. or Matthew Continetti’s short but dire piece in today’s Weekly Standard. Fred Barnes sees it too:
The defeat for Republicans was short of devastating–but only a little short. The House seats the party lost in New York and Connecticut and Pennsylvania will be hard to win back. Just as Republicans have locked in their gains in the South over the past two decades, Democrats should be able to solidify their hold on seats in the Northeast, as the nation continues to split sharply along North-South lines.
What should worry Republicans most, however, is erosion of its strength in the West and in two states in particular: Colorado and Arizona. Fours years ago, Colorado was solidly Republican. Since then, Democrats have won a Senate seat, two House seats, the governorship, and both houses of the state legislature. At the state level, that’s realignment.
Just something to think about. Pessimism is, after all, my business.
And business is good.