Yet one reason the election was so close was that turnout in most staunchly Democratic counties was higher (relative to historic levels) than that in Republican counties. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Craig Gilbert notes that in 2010, the reverse was true: Turnout in GOP counties was higher than normal, while that in Democratic counties was lower than normal, chiefly because Republicans were enthusiastic about voting, while Democrats were not, and the Republicans attracted most independent voters…

As I wrote in National Review last year (“Blue Collars, Red Voters,” November 29), white working-class voters, particularly in the North and Midwest, are the primary group that switches parties in Republican wave years. While they oppose progressive liberalism, they are motivated as much by their fear of economic loss as by their hope of economic gain. This makes them particularly sensitive to policies that seem to threaten the lifetime stability that they believe entitlements like Social Security and Medicare provide. If their reaction in the supreme-court race is any indication of how they will view proposals to reform federal entitlements, conservative Republicans will have a much harder time winning in 2012.