There can be no denying that the midterm elections represent a mandate for Republicans and a massive repudiation for Democrats. The Republican defeat was surprising and devastating; in my own home state of Illinois, Bruce Rauner wrested the governor’s mansion from Pat Quinn–arguably the worst governor in the country–despite desperate and relentless negative attacks on Quinn that tried to make him appear to to be an unfeeling and uncaring billionaire with no conception of how to relate to working class families. That this repudiation occurred in the home state of the president of the United States–where President Obama actually was invited to campaign (unlike other parts of the country, where he was asked to stay away, lest he endanger other Democratic candidates by transferring his unpopularity to them)–only serves to hammer home the rejection of the Obama agenda.
Of course, it is worth noting that these Republican victories came about because the supposedly awful Republican establishment held Tea Party candidates at arm’s length (and then some), and put forth tough, smart candidates who knew how to win elections and who knew enough not to sabotage themselves the way Tea Party candidates are fond of doing. (More on this issue here.) Perhaps Republicans will see to implementing this same formula for victory in future elections, and avoiding the catastrophes that come with backing ridiculous figures like Todd Akin, Richard Murdock, Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell. All of the conservative and Republican activists who in the past–and in this most previous election cycle–backed Tea Party candidates over Republicans who actually know how to win elections should take note of these midterm election results, and perhaps learn something from them, assuming, of course, that these activists have the capacity to learn anything in particular.
President Obama is trying to argue that these midterm election results don’t constitute a repudiation of his agenda. To be sure, Republicans should not overplay their hands, but seriously, good luck to the White House in seeking to claim that it and its agenda did not get hammered at the polls. It will take a lot of delusion–plus alcohol and the smoking of many, many, many illegal drugs–to believe the White House line.
Oh, and there are other wonderful benefits to the midterm elections: Harry Reid, the worst Senate majority leader in history, will no longer be majority leader. That’s news to make just about anyone smile.