Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election Post-Mortem

A few thoughts.

-All elections are local. I think this cycle reinforced that belief. It was a good, but not great, result for Republicans, but there were enough unique factors in each race to stymie anyone from drawing any real sweeping conclusions.
-Roughly 60% of voters said the president played no part in their voting decision. Democrats think this is a good thing that argues against Republican assaults on Obama. I'm not so sure. After all, last year his coattails were long enough to sweep fellow Democrats into a lot of Republican-leaning seats. This year, all of Corzine's money and all of Obama's hope and change weren't enough to drag an incumbent Governor and former Senator across the finish line in a state that went for Obama by an almost 16% margin a year ago. What message does that send to Blue Dogs who are already leery about following the president's lead on health care reform?
-The most important result that no one seems to care about was the Pennsylvania judicial election. The Republican win in that race means that any lawsuits over redistricting will go before a Republican-leaning court. Republicans have a majority of 60% in the Senate, while Democrats have a tiny majority (5 seats out of a 203-seat body) in the House. If Republicans retake the Governorship (not unlikely given the current governor's approval rating), they might just be able to do some damage in redistricting a relatively populous swing state.
-Harmer lost to Garamendi in the California congressional race. It wasn't a surprising loss, but the margin of victory was less than it should have been. Garamendi spent 14 years in the state legislature, has held 2 statewide offices, and is currently the Lt. Governor. Harmer has never held office before this race. A result like that may spell trouble for Joan Buchanan in her re-election against Abram Wilson next year. What is more interesting though, is what will happen to the Lt. Governorship. The Democrats obviously want a nonentity in the seat, and Governor Schwarzenegger needs their approval for whoever he nominates. The only way he might get a live body into the seat would be to nominate State Senator Maldonado. He comes from a district that the Democrats would have a decent change of picking up in an open-seat race, and they might consider that to be worth whatever advantage giving Maldonado a statewide office might convey.
-Social issues played a very small role this year, but its hard to argue from these results that they are a drag on an otherwise qualified candidate. A pro-life, pro-marriage candidate won in NEW FREAKIN' JERSEY despite Corzine's attack ads. A pro-life, pro-marriage candidate won in NORTHERN VIRGINIA despite the Post's relentless flogging of his old master's thesis. In Maine, the most socially liberal section of America rejected gay marriage despite high turnout (which was originally thought to be advantageous to the gay marriage folks) and high spending in favor of redefining marriage.