November 3, 2010
November 3, 2010
November 3, 2010
The idea of putting largely untested outsider candidates up against even embattled incumbents like Senate majority leader Harry Reid backfired on the tea party Tuesday, potentially costing the Republicans control of the Senate.
With tea party champions Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Sharron Angle in Nevada both losing their races and Ken Buck in a race still too close to call in Colorado, the Senate remained out of Republican control even as the Democrats faced historic economic headwinds and an angry and dissatisfied public.
To be sure, Republican gains in the Senate – even if short of a takeover – were impressive. Republicans look assured of picking up at least six seats – to 47 – and perhaps seven if Mr. Buck can win his race.
But the failure of Ms. O’Donnell and Ms. Angle – in races that, according to polls, mainstream Republican candidates might have won easily – showed Republicans both the benefits and drawbacks of aligning itself closely with the anti-tax, anti-spending tea party movement.
It helped drive Republican fervor to an a historic pickup of at least 60 seats in the House, but also may have cost the party a firm grip on Congress as a whole – and could yet do the same to a Republican bid for the White House in 2012.
“Ultimately, it’s impossible to know exactly how things would have played out had the Tea Party movement not existed,” writes Brian Montopoli at the CBS News website. “But it certainly appears that the nomination of both O’Donnell and Angle cost the Republican Party.”
Senate races, of course, have a different dynamic than House races. With most states having several – and in some cases dozens – of House races, those races play out on a much smaller scale and often in districts that have been gerrymandered to favor one party. But Senate races, contested statewide, more frequently tend to reward more moderate candidates.
Moreover, on the House side, the rallying cry of “Fire Pelosi” – the successful bid to remove Rep. Nancy Pelosi from her position as Speaker – might have proven more compelling than the bid to oust Senator Reid…
November 3, 2010
Republicans seize momentum in House of Representatives as voter disillusionment leaves Democrats facing a tough future.
A conservative wave roared across the American political landscape last night, humbling President Barack Obama and instantly redrawing the landscape in Washington with a new place on the high perches of power for the flag-bearers of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement.
As night gave away to dawn in America, a huge power-shift had materialised with the Republican Party set to seize control of the House of Representatives with a significant majority. Television networks projected that the Democrats had held on to control of the US Senate.
Thus utter humiliation was averted – but barely.
“Tonight there is a Tea Party tidal wave,” declared Rand Paul, the victor of the Senate race in Kentucky and among the most high profile winners backed by the insurgent conservative movement. “They tell me that the Senate is the most deliberative body…deliberate on this: the American people are unhappy with what’s going on in Washington.
In Florida, Marco Rubio, another Tea Party favourite defeatedGovernor Charlie Crist, once a moderate Republican, to win that state’s Senate contest.
But there were a few bright spots for the Democrats. Sharon Angle, adored heroine of the Tea Party trying to oust HarryReid, the Senate Majority leader, in Nevada, failed rather spectacularly. Joe Manchin, Governor of West Virginia, defeated his Republican foe to win a Senate seat. Two high-profile defeated Senate candidates were Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Linda McMahon, a former wrestling executive, in Connecticut.
Moreover, it was good night for the party of the president in California, where Jerry Brown prevailed over Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, to win the governorship and Barbara Boxer survived a challenge from Carly Fiorina, formerly of Hewlett Packard, for her Senate seat.
Even so, it is a chastened Mr Obama who will address the breadth of his electoral debacle at a White House press conference today. NBC News said that the new lower house will see Republicans occupying approximately 237 seats against only 198 seats for the Democrats. Results of races for governor trickling in from 37 different states also signalled a rightward shift. Disastrous for Mr Obama looking forward to the next presidential race in 2012 was the defeat of Ted Strickland in the Ohio gubernatorial race. Strickland was a vital ally in a vital swing state.
A period of political turmoil may now be ushered in, that will be felt not just in America and beyond its shores particularly if conservative newcomers force their views through on issues like American levels of debt and the status of the healthcare reform which they would like repealed. Even last night, Republicans served notice that annulling healthcare reforms will be a top goal.
American ‘exceptionalism’ will rush to the fore also, with figures like Marco Rubio selling the notion that the US has a special status by the grace of God. Some expect Mr Rubio to springboard quickly towards the higher echelons of the Republican party. Mr Paul is among those who has questioned if Mr Obama is an American…
November 3, 2010
Concerns that the nascent tea party movement would hamper a return to relevancy for Republicans are quickly giving way as Election Day results suggest that in fact, the decentralized conservative protest movement helped give the GOP a roadmap to success.
“The biggest tea party is today,” said Sen. Jim DeMint, a big tea party favorite, in a victory speech in his homestate of South Carolina. On Tuesday night, Rand Paul, a Senate candidate from Kentucky, called his victory a “tea party tidal wave.”
Tea party-supported Republicans Marco Rubio in Florida (US Senate), John Boozman in Arkansas (US Senate), and Nikki Haley in South Carolina (governor) also were coasting to convincing victories Tuesday, even as one of the most famous tea party candidates, Christine O’Donnell, failed in her bid in to win a Delaware Senate seat. Glen Urqhart, also a tea party candidate in Delaware, lost his bid for a House seat, as well.
But more importantly, the tea party, which at first worried and, frankly, scared both Democrats and mainstream Republicans, helped to give roiling anger over the economy and stubbornly high unemployment figures a national vent. Exit polls Tuesday gave the GOP a clear edge on turnout and passion, pointing the way for a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
At 9:17, CNN predicted that Republicans had won control of the House of Representatives.
“The primary effect of the tea party for was that it generated enormous intensity for Republicans, and for Republican candidates up and down the ballot,” Whit Ayres, a veteran GOP pollster, told the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Sieb.
Of course, the general depressive effect of the economy on Democrat turnout, an unpopular health-care bill, and President Obama’s own leadership stumbles played big roles in Republicans’ quick reversal of the Democrats’ coalescing victory in 2008.
Though scorned by many liberals, the loosely organized tea party – which has among its principles an audit of the federal reserve, repeal of the national health-care law, and tax cuts – managed to capture the mood of the country, with some polls indicating that as many as 48 percent of Americans had a somewhat positive view of the movement.
“The Tea Party victories by Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, underscored the extent to which Republicans and Democrats alike may have underestimated the power of the Tea Party, a loosely-affiliated, at times ill-defined, coalition of grass-roots libertarians and disaffected Republicans,” writes Michael Cooper in the New York Times../