Obama sparks largest electoral backlash since Watergate

We already knew the GOP’s net gain of 60-plus U.S. House seats was the largest pickup for either party since the 1940s. Now, National Journal is reporting that Republicans also eclipsed the Democrats’ modern record for most statehouse seats taken over:

Republicans picked up 680 seats in state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — the most in the modern era. To put that number in perspective: In the 1994 GOP wave, Republicans picked up 472 seats. The previous record was in the post-Watergate election of 1974, when Democrats picked up 628 seats.

The GOP gained majorities in at least 14 state house chambers. They now have unified control — meaning both chambers — of 26 state legislatures.

Such a thorough changing of the guard suggests the (soon-to-be former) majority party’s brand suffered monumental damage. President Obama wasn’t solely responsible for that — Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid gave it their best, too — but his comments at his press conference yesterday suggest he doesn’t really understand or acknowledge just how hard a “shellacking” Democrats received Tuesday.

The National Journal article also discusses the effect this turnover will have on redistricting. I mentioned that briefly in last night’s post, but I’d like to expand on what I meant.

The 2010 Census is not expected to change the number of seats that 32 states have in the U.S. House (or electoral votes they have in the next three presidential elections). But eight states will gain seats and EVs, at the expense of 10 other states.

In the 32, ideally the district maps would be tweaked only slightly, to accommodate population shifts within the state. But politics is bound to enter the equation in the other 18.

Take Pennsylvania, which is slated to lose one of its 19 seats. One of those 19 representatives will be the odd man out. So, regardless of how fairly the lines are drawn, they will result in the loss of either a Republican’s seat or a Democrat’s seat. There’s no way to avoid that.

I am all for even-handed government. Ideally, the new maps would be drawn in a way that boosts competition first and foremost. But even I don’t expect a party that controls the governor’s mansion, both chambers of the statehouse and two-thirds of the congressional delegation — as the GOP now does in Pennsylvania — to go out of its way to protect one of the other party’s seats. And given what that kind of strength says about the will of the voters, how could anyone argue otherwise?

ADDED: I realized I should explain how the situation I described is different from what Roy Barnes did after the 2000 Census.

In Georgia back then, Democrats had controlled the governor’s mansion and the Legislature for 130 years — but the Republican share of the electoral vote had been trending upward for more than 10 years and had already surpassed 50 percent, with no sign of stopping. (Ten years later, we know that trend has, if anything, sped up.)

What Barnes did was try to draw the maps in a way that would preserve Democratic majorities even as they were no longer winning a majority of the votes. As I said in a comment last night, I think any Republicans or Democrats in any other state who try to pull off a similar coup deserve just as much criticism as Barnes got, along with the judicial rebuke his maps received.

But in a state like Pennsylvania, the opposite has happened: Republicans have just won a sizable new mandate at the expense of Democrats. By definition, they would not be defying a longstanding, unabated electoral trend as Barnes did.

As I wrote above, ideally they would redraw the maps in a way that promotes competition. But if they do it in a way that costs a Democrat his seat, rather than a Republican, they still will be a long, long way from what happened in this state.

38 comments Add your comment

Thurston B. Howell III

November 4th, 2010
4:47 pm

I’m gonna get rich all over again

Richard

November 4th, 2010
5:15 pm

Redistricting is one of two issues you’ll never hear politicians argue over (campaign finance is the other). Nothing is more dear to their hearts. Basically, it means “hijacking democracy.”

carlosgvv

November 4th, 2010
5:20 pm

American political campaigns are brainwashing and propaganda battles beween the parties to see who can be most sucessful in duping the American people. The Republicans and Tea Party nuts clearly won this one. All of this gives me the sinking feeling we humans are not capable of adequately governing ourselves.

CJ

November 4th, 2010
5:43 pm

I appreciate this clarification, but I still insist that the argument that gerrymandering was a greater sin under Democrat Roy Barnes because “the Republican share of the electoral vote had been trending upward” is, in fact, a rationalization. Gerrymandering is gerrymandering.

Also, hear Kyle when he suggests that maps should be drawn to promote competition. However, more specifically, maps should be drawn entirely without bias—even bias in favor of more competitive districts. Save constraints arising out of the Voting Rights Act, race, religion, and voting patterns should have no effect whatsoever on how districts are drawn. Such a result can be accomplished with a simple computer program that draws the districts (I suspect that such programs are already available).

Nothing will change before the next round of redistricting, but given demographic trends, Republicans would be wise to seek consensus on an unbiased redistricting process that would take effect after the 2020 census.

By the way, Republicans didn’t understand or acknowledge the shellacking they received in ‘06 or ‘08 (Dems took back both houses of Congress in ‘06, expand their majorities in ‘08, and took the White House). Their response was to every Democratic initiative and compromise was “hell no.” So, the narrative that Dems should just roll-over and let Republicans run the show seems disingenuous, at best. Once again, we’re seeing the media promote one standard for Republicans and a different standard for Dems.

saywhat?

November 4th, 2010
6:03 pm

CJ @5:43- its called the “heads we win- tails you lose ” strategy. I have asked these past two days for anybody to name a single concession Republicans made to Democrats after the 2006/8 whupping they took. So far, there have been no successful takers, and only one attempt at that. Apparently “messages” are only sent when Republicans win.

To Republicans, when they lose, the message is “we weren’t conservative enough”, and when Democrats lose, it because, “they weren’t conservative enough”. I would argue Democrats lost because they weren’t liberal enough. After all, who lost their seats? The majority were the conservative Blue Dog Democrats.

CJ

November 4th, 2010
6:22 pm

I would argue Democrats lost because they weren’t liberal enough.

You’ve persuaded me.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

November 4th, 2010
6:39 pm

Such a thorough changing of the guard suggests the (soon-to-be former) majority party’s brand suffered monumental damage.

And what did I tell everybody two years ago, the day after the election-

By AJC/DNC Management

November 5, 2008 9:40 AM | Link to this

Truthman: Are you capable of reading anything I’ve written this morning?

Then you will find out that I am actually quite happy that Oblahma won the election, in a depressing sort of way, because that means I am going to get my Republican party of Reagan back from these squishy “uniter” moderates that have it all ate up right now.

Plus, next year, probably around summer time, I will be able to tell everyone, I told you so.

Wrecking his party and rebuilding ours, am I not rather prescient?

Their little science project/ guilt trip is doing more damage to them then even Vietnam did.

Obama Regime Enforcer

November 4th, 2010
7:16 pm

Andy Griffith is pimping the Obamacare agenda on my TV.

Where’s one-bullet Barney and Otis to lock up the sheriff we we need them?

@@

November 4th, 2010
7:19 pm

A ‘regional’ GOP swamps the Democrats AND Watergate

Obama and his administration opened the flood gates and the American people built a dam.

I’m likin’ this water theme, ‘ya got goin’, Kyle.

amos33

November 4th, 2010
7:21 pm

President Obama must invite Sarah Palin to the White House and ask her for advice on how to proceed. It’s Sarah Palin who orchestrated the uprising and it’s Sarah Palin who decided on who would win and who would not. Invite her Mr. President, she’s the only leader who can help you now. Sarah is more interested in the health of America than she is about becomming President. She only wants to see America healthy and strong and returning to God and Family again. Invite her Mr. President!

God bless Sarah Palin and President Barak Obama

@@

November 4th, 2010
7:21 pm

Andy:

I think Dick Cheney predicted the same thing. I saw a snippet of a video where he said:

Obama will be a Godsend to the conservative movement. Somethin’ to that effect.

You know how I feel about Cheney.

(ISH)

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

November 4th, 2010
7:34 pm

@@- Cheney was just passing along to the larger audience what he heard me say.

I think.

Linda

November 4th, 2010
7:53 pm

My husband & I have lived through 12 presidents. This is only the 3rd time we have experienced a Dem. White House, a Dem. House & a Dem. Senate. All 3 times was a disaster. What is profoundly different this time are the number of progressives. There are progressives in both the Dem. & Rep. parties, but the Dem. party has been totally infiltrated by progressives. Progressives are killing the Dem. party. They are the most evil bunch we have ever witnessed, more so than ACORN, the Black Panther Party, & the other revolutionaries in the Dem. party.

@@

November 4th, 2010
9:13 pm

U da Man, Andy!!!!

(IW&SH)

CJ

November 4th, 2010
9:40 pm

Progressives are killing the Dem. party. They are the most evil bunch we have ever witnessed, more so than ACORN, the Black Panther Party, & the other revolutionaries in the Dem. party.

When conservatives expressed fear that Obama would send them to concentration camps, they were projecting.

Linda

November 4th, 2010
9:53 pm

Americans were sent to concentration camps under FDR, the most progressive president we ever had, up until now. Americans are no longer fearful that Americans will be sent to concentration camps. The progressives have honed their skills & will not make mistakes of the past. Under the current progressives, Americans will simply loose all their freedoms.

StJ

November 4th, 2010
10:10 pm

Nasty Pelosi – YOU go sit in back now. The only reason Reid still has a job (barely) is the regular outbursts of Sharron Angle. If the Tea Party had only backed a more “well-grounded” candidate… Ditto for Delaware (maybe).

I suppose nobody’s perfect.

P.S. *This* American isn’t going to any concentration camp.

Kyle Wingfield

November 4th, 2010
11:45 pm

CJ, nothing in the process I described qualifies as gerrymandering. I didn’t say they should pack Democrats or minorities or any other particular kind of voters into one district or another, or ignore geography or communities of interest in drawing the lines. All I did was make the simple observation that, when seats are being added or subtracted — keep in mind the difference between that situation and redistricting in states that aren’t changing their number of seats — politics is going to be one factor. (And not only partisan politics — the biggest disagreements in Georgia’s redistricting next year will probably be within the Republican Party.) I’d like to see the software, which of course has to act based on the parameters and information fed into it, that can provide districts free of any sort of bias.

In fact, I’d say the bias concerning racial minorities mandated by the Voting Rights Act may be the biggest impediment to creating the most neutral districts possible.

Kyle Wingfield

November 4th, 2010
11:54 pm

saywhat? @ 6:03: Right, that’s why all those moderates lost to more liberal candidates.

Wait…what’s that? The vast majority of them lost to more conservative candidates?

But, but, but that doesn’t fit with the narrative!

As for what the Republicans did to compromise with Democrats after 2006: Bush fired Rumsfeld, for one — we’ll see whether Obama gets rid of any of his Cabinet members — and he signed the first stimulus. After 2008, Democrats defined “compromise” as “voting for everything we want, and nothing you want.” When Obama talked about “compromising” with Republicans, whose votes he knew he didn’t need, it usually came out as “I won.” The only compromises Democrats tried to reach at all were with the moderate members of their own party who didn’t want to swallow a wholly liberal agenda.

I know, I know…that doesn’t fit the narrative, either. Must be CJ’s right-wing MSNBC noise machine cranking up again!

Animaphone

November 5th, 2010
2:37 am

The only thing dumber than American politics is the American people.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

November 5th, 2010
6:45 am

Washington State – Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray defeated Republican challenger Dino Rossi after a third day of vote tallying in Washington state.

MINNESOTA – Republicans pin hopes on a recount

ILLINOIS – Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has narrowly defeated his Republican challenger.-Urinal

Anyone else notice that in all of the states best known for election fraud, the dummycrat managed to win their race? In a Republican wave election?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

November 5th, 2010
7:16 am

Tuesday was the electorate’s first opportunity to render a national verdict on this manner of governance. The rejection was stunning. As a result, President Barack Obama’s agenda is dead. And not just now. No future Democratic president will try to revive it — and if he does, no Congress will follow him, in view of the carnage visited upon Democrats on Tuesday. -Krauthammer

It’s almost as though we’ve won a war against a foreign enemy, one that had actually made landfall in the US and was rapidly approaching our Capitol.

Had the American people lost this election, the foreigners would have taken over our entire society, they would have enslaved us, they would have encamped within your very life, bullying you, directing you, owning you.

But as it turned out, as it always does, we sank that little socialist ship slam to the bottom.

gurgle, gurgle obozo.

Jefferson

November 5th, 2010
7:27 am

45% D to 55% R, sure the R’s win, but like the last election it is marginal and in no way could be assumed the whole country see things one way. The Senate and Executive branch is controlled by the D’s, so there is no real earthquake here, just more of the same. Pat yourself on the back, and congradulate yourself, but like the cartoon for today, what are you going to do.

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

November 5th, 2010
7:33 am

To be intelligent as Obama supposedly is he sure is dumb. The Republican steam roller is just warming up. I just hope the drivers realize the plug can be pulled at any moment.

Keep em in line Bohner.

Jefferson

November 5th, 2010
7:33 am

45 to 55 was what most individual contests ended up, with a few blowouts.

Jefferson

November 5th, 2010
7:35 am

Gridlock at best, some will be proud/happy. I see it as a waste that nothing constructive is accomplished.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

November 5th, 2010
7:45 am

“Republicans have always been the party of putting big business over the middle class,” said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, “and they are wasting no time in trying to jam through favors for big corporations at the expense of hardworking families who are struggling to make ends meet.”

This is beautiful. The socialists do not get it, they drive on like the mindless goons that they are, their only answer is to spend, spend, spend, squandering your children’s future, fight hard dummycrats, fight hard. Make 2012 a cakewalk.

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

November 5th, 2010
7:53 am

Ya…Reid and his band of keystone cops wanna drive the jalopy strait over the cliff and that at full ramming speed.

Keep up the good work Dems.

Gator Joe

November 5th, 2010
9:16 am

Should I hold my breath waiting for you to criticize Republicans when they gerrymander any new districts? No matter how districts are drawn, this is Georgia land of the Fox-brainwashed, non-thinking voter.

Red Voter Redemption

November 5th, 2010
9:16 am

Nothing is more entertaining that watching the Obamabots whimper and whine and attempt to downgrade what happened Tuesday night into something “not that big.” Well children, when your hero said “that’s the change I’m talking about” after the Demrats rammed through Obamacare, America came back Tuesday night and said “you can have your change and SHOVE IT.”

Over on Bookman’s blog the hype (and whining) is over a reported $200 million cost *per day* trip to India by the Obama entourage. While inflated to say the least(which is what the whining is about), I’d like to know how much 30,000+ personnel, 30+ US war and supply ships, dozens of aircraft, thousands of cars, and the entire Taj Mahal being rented costs PER DAY. I’ll bet CNN would have already had those numbers handy for us if Bush were doing this.

Red Voter Redemption

November 5th, 2010
9:19 am

“No matter how districts are drawn, this is Georgia land of the Fox-brainwashed, non-thinking voter.”

As opposed to the California and New York PMSNBC-New York Slimes-indoctrinated mindless voter? Anyone who can vote to put Boxer back in office is a mindless lunatic.

barking frog

November 5th, 2010
10:01 am

As to gridlock, exactly what legislation is currently needed?

Dina hayrs

November 6th, 2010
6:48 am

All this means that the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. It is a crock. the Fox network machine caused a lot of this because they post fake polls and guess what? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE NO SPIN ZONE. the right wing idiots keep calling Obama “socialist” and that is an absurd way to paint the picture but Fox network makes sure they keep planting that idea along with Glenn Beck and the other idiotic zealots. The people in my state have rallied to totally boycott Fox News. We can no longer call them news – they are just a republican right wing fanatical pundit show. they even lie about the no of people who even watch them. Basically, half the country is liberal and the other half is not. fox makes it sound like the whole country is moving to the right BECAUSE IT WANTS YOU TO THINK THAT – Fox tries to alter peoples’ perception of reality. the next time Glenn Beck posts the president’s itinerary on his stupid blackboard, I will make it known that he is trying to get him killed. But of course, that would hamper the plan of using Obama as a reason to cause a conservative backlash. You right wingers live in la la land if you think we can go back to the pre-Reagan days . You will soon see. Your plans will backfire.

Dina hayrs

November 6th, 2010
7:21 am

BOYCOTT FOX NEWS BY NOT PATRONIZING MCDONALDS OR WALMART. THESE COMPANIES GIVE LARGE AMOUNT OF MONEY TO WHAT THEY CALL NEWS. FOX DOES NOT……I REPEAT DOES NOT…GIVE YOU NEWS – IT S A TOTAL RIGHT WING PROPAGANDA MACHINE. THE CONSERVATIVES JUST DON’T GET IT.

Teresa Flavin

November 6th, 2010
7:27 am

I definitely think Fox News should be boycotted. they literally try to brainwash people. they slant everything they say and they never let liberals speak their piece – they start yelling at them. Fox does not really give you news. It is not something you can prove on a piece of paper – I have watched all news channels and have given a certain amount of time to each one. the bad and worst on Fox are Meagan Kelley – she yells and makes “eyes” at all liberals or anyone who doesn’t agree with her just like O’reilly makes faces when liberals speak. Hannity also is bad and Cavuto only cares about the money he has invested. Stop giving money to the companies that support fox. You can find a list of them at Fox News boycott.com. Mcdonald’s and Walmart are the main ones

April

November 7th, 2010
9:27 pm

Finally, Americans are realizing what a lying socialist piece of crap Obama is! If the people who voted for that clown in 2008 had actually done their homework, they’d have known that! It requires effort and time, vs. listening to the liberal propoganda machines for getting their info. Can’t wait until 2012!

[...] Additionally, many are calling this Obama’s Watergate. [...]

Libby

November 9th, 2010
3:16 pm

Well Dina – it’s a good idea to boycott those global greedmonster companies who just sell poisonous chinese junk and food anyway – for your personal health and the health of the country.