– Thirty-three U.S. Senate seats were up for grabs in the 2012 election. Democrats won 25 of those 33 seats.
– Mitt Romney is going to the White House today to have lunch, not to check out his new crib. And the main reason he will have to dine and dash is because American women rejected both his candidacy and his party, voting for Barack Obama by a margin of 55-44 percent. The gender differential in most down-ticket races was even larger.
– The Republican-run U.S. House has 19 major committees. Next year, it appears that all 19 will be chaired by white males.
– The current Republican House caucus includes 24 women. Next year, that number will drop to 19.
– In the last three presidential election cycles, Americans under 30 voted Democratic by an average of 60 percent. And lest Republicans try to comfort themselves with the argument that it’s nothing new, that young voters always vote Democratic, it simply is not true. In the previous eight election cycles, an average of just 46.5 percent of young people had voted for the Democrat.
What does it mean? Generally speaking, younger voters who cast repeated ballots for a particular party tend to form a lasting affiliation with that party.
– On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner reiterated his caucus’s strong opposition to raising taxes on the wealthy. Also on Wednesday, a new Washington Post poll was released reporting that just 37 percent of Americans agree with the position that Boehner and others have made the central focus of their party’s economic identity.
As longtime conservative Bruce Bartlett puts it in his much-cited piece for The American Conservative:
“At least a few conservatives now recognize that Republicans suffer for epistemic closure. They were genuinely shocked at Romney’s loss because they ignored every poll not produced by a right-wing pollster such as Rasmussen or approved by right-wing pundits such as the perpetually wrong Dick Morris. Living in the Fox News cocoon, most Republicans had no clue that they were losing or that their ideas were both stupid and politically unpopular.
I am disinclined to think that Republicans are yet ready for a serious questioning of their philosophy or strategy. They comfort themselves with the fact that they held the House (due to gerrymandering) and think that just improving their get-out-the-vote system and throwing a few bones to the Latino community will fix their problem. There appears to be no recognition that their defects are far, far deeper and will require serious introspection and rethinking of how Republicans can win going forward. The alternative is permanent loss of the White House and probably the Senate as well, which means they can only temporarily block Democratic initiatives and never advance their own.”
Political power ebbs and flows. It always has and always will. But it doesn’t just ebb and flow on its own. It fluctuates because losing parties take stock of why they’re losing and adapt to changing realities. If a political party not only refuses to adapt but makes a refusal to recognize changing realities a central part of its identity, ebb and flow can be delayed for a long, long time.
– Jay Bookman