The results from yesterday's much-watched elections are in: Republicans
won the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, Mayor
Michael Bloomberg secured New York City, gay marriage in Maine was
defeated, and Democrat Bill Owens eked out
a surprisingly victory in
New York's 23rd Congressional district. But what do these elections mean
for the national political stage? Who won yesterday and who lost?
- President Obama Over Critics The Guardian's Michael Tomasky argues
that NY-23, where the Democrat won, was the only race about national
issues and Obama. "The district voted narrowly for Obama in 2008 but
hasn't sent a
Democrat to Congress in more than a century. Late polling was
relatively close, but it showed Hoffman ahead, and conservative
Palinites across the country were licking their chops - this result,
they said, will show that America is fed up with Obama's socialist
agenda," he writes. "In sum, a good Republican night, but you can bet
result, which came in after midnight, darkened their moods
considerably. It was the only major race in which the candidates were
arguing about what's going on in Washington. The guy who runs that town
still is not as despised as the right wing thinks he ought to be."
- GOP Over a New Conservative Party Conservative blogger Erick Erickson disavows
the idea that a third, Conservative party could enter the national
fray. "There has all of a sudden been a huge movement among some
to go the third party route. We see in NY-23 that this is not possible
as third parties are not viable. Third parties lack funding and ability
for a host of reasons.
Conservatives are going to have to work from within the GOP. The GOP
had better pay attention." Liberal columnist David Corn agrees
that the anti-establishment wing of the Republican Party, led by such
figures as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, seems in trouble in the wake of
this electoral defeat.
- Centrists Over Purists The New Republic's John B. Judis notes
that the successful Republicans self-branded as centrists. "In New
Jersey and Virginia, the gubernatorial candidates ran to the center.
a moderate, and McDonnell at least pretended to be. And as a result,
they got the swing vote of independents and moderates. In New York-23,
a diehard conservative backed by rightwing groups repudiated the center
and lost to a neophyte Democratic candidate who probably could not have
beaten Scozzafava in a one-to-one contest.
Democrats have reason to worry about candidates like
McDonnell--particularly if the unemployment rate continues in 2010 to
undermine Obama's standing among voters.
Gay Marriage Opponents Over Supporters Rod Dreher thinks
Maine's defeat of same-sex marriage rights indicates a consistent
trend. "Unless I'm missing something, in the 31 states in which voters
say on whether or not gay marriage was going to be the law of the land,
they all rejected it. Every single state," he writes. "Honestly, folks, I understand the case for same-sex marriage, though I
don't agree with it, but look, if you're reduced to having to tell the
public that they have no right to be consulted about the radical
redefinition of a bedrock social and cultural institution, then you have a big, big problem."
2012 Democrats Over 2010 Democrats The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder suggests
that the White House, which did little to help Virginia and New Jersey
races, has its eyes on 2012. "The White House's time horizons are
longer than and different than
the time horizons of House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates. It was
more important for, say, Creigh Deeds, to get a health care bill passed
by August than it was for President Obama. Obama's building a strong
re-election coalition in 2012, but it's going to be frustrating for
Democrats in the short term. Obama's approval rating in New Jersey was
57%," he writes. "It's very hard for Democrats to simultaneously turn
out the Obama
Coalition (younger, more liberal, more minority voters) and suburban
independents (particularly older, particularly men)."
Nancy Pelosi Over Blue Dogs Matthew Yglesias points out
that there will be two more Democrats in the House of Representatives
(the other Dem fills a Californian vacancy). "Probably not huge policy
implications of this, but it's a modest shift
to the left of the balance of power in the House. Nancy Pelosi now has
an easier time rounding up 218 votes for a health care bill, for
example, and each and every Blue Dog has his or her individual leverage
over the process reduced."
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