November 2, 2010

IT'S A 60-40 COUNTRY:

A correction, not a revolution (Timothy P. Carney, 11/01/10, Washington Examiner)

Liberal writer Ed Kilgore stated it well: "Republican House gains this year will represent more a reversion to the norm than some sort of electoral tsunami." [...]

Besides recouping recent losses, Republicans are back on track with the party's long-term realignment -- winning House seats in rural and Southern districts that consistently vote Republican for president.

For example, Democrats Bart Gordon (Tenn.), John Tanner (Tenn.), and Charlie Melancon (La.) are retiring, and the GOP is poised to gain all three seats. John McCain and George W. Bush carried about 60 percent in all these districts in the last two elections.

Some Democratic incumbents will finally get caught by the realignment bulldozer, and not only in the South: Both Dakota representatives -- Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) and Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) -- look likely to lose. Counting only districts where both McCain and Bush (in 2004) got more than 50 percent, 11 of RCP's "likely" or "leaning" GOP pickups are in such realignment seats, along with six "toss ups."

So the GOP could easily gain 60 seats in this election without making any incursions onto Democratic turf.

This math should dampen the triumphant Republican talk, but it should also worry the Democrats.

The bad news for Republicans: This election isn't really redrawing the map, and it doesn't represent a fierce reaction against the Democrats. Instead, the country is returning to where it was politically before the Republicans threw away their majority in 2006 and 2008 through overspending, two wars, and rampant corruption.

The bad news for Democrats: This suggests that America really is a Republican country, with 2006 and 2008 as aberrations. It appears that the Democrats are a narrow regional party, contrary to the post-2008 conventional wisdom they had become the dominant national party.

The next census and redistricting could change this, but for now, it appears the House is structurally Republican, allowing for brief Democratic majorities as an anomaly.

If you're trying to sniff out a real Republican revolution on Tuesday, look for Republican gains in districts that are neither snap-backs nor part of the long-term Southern and rural realignment.


Only the Right's war on Latinos can prevent the solidification of the post-Cold War realignment.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 2, 2010 5:24 AM
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