Not surprisingly, both sides are interpreting the results of the election tonight totally incorrectly.
First – the Democrats. The idea that the elections mean nothing about Obama and his policies is simply silly. Of course it does.
But it means less about his policies, which every poll, including those done at the time of his election, indicated were NOT supported by a majority of the country, than it does about confirming that he won for 2 primary reasons.
First, he won because of the rock star quota. That is borne out by the failure of those who voted for Obama, to come out in big numbers for the Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
Second, he won because he was viewed as the “out” of favor party.
And that is the principal force for the Republican victories tonight.
No better example of that can be seen than in New Jersey.
While John Corzine has been far from good, he certainly cannot be blamed for a ALL of NJ’s problems – loss of manufacturing base, the national recession, etc.
But he has been a statewide officeholder for 10 years now. 4 as governor and six as US Senator.
This was a rejection of the incumbent.
And the same can be said of the Virginia race, which was not an explicit rejection of an incumbent, but clearly a call for the out of favor party.
But what is overriding for all the races is screaming for tax relief.
Here in my home county, Westchester, NY, the incumbent, Andy Spano, who was deemed unbeatable, was absolutely crushed by the Republican challenger based on a tax relief platform.
This was Chris Christie’s platform in NJ as well.
I saved the NY mayor’s race for last because it was very interesting. Mike Bloomberg polls the way every politician wishes they would. Virtually every organization, every newspaper, union, religious group, citizens organization, etc. all say he has done an amazing job as our mayor and endorsed him.
Voter polls showed overwhelming support of his track record.
He outspent his rival, NY Controller Bill Thompson, more than 10:1.
However, his victory was, while not narrow, far closer than anyone predicted.
This was an anti incumbent vote again, and with more bite, because of Bloombergs usurping and overturning of the term limit laws voted on by NY voters only a few years ago.
The bottom line, though, for the Democrats is actually good. The Republicans lost the House seat in the upstate New York district because of the conflict between the conservatives and the moderate/liberals.
But the bottom line was a loss of a long term Republican House seat to the Democrats.
So, for Obama, it means he actually, despite what seemed to be a bad night, GAINED an increased majority in the House.