Last week’s elections produced a wave of Republican support across the country. But here in Virginia little changed. Just going by party ID, there were no changes to Virginia’s congressional representation. The three winning newcomers, Dave Brat, Don Beyer and Barbara Comstock, all held the seat for the incumbent party. The big news was Comstock crushed her opponent by more than was forecasted and Ed Gillespie took Mark Warner to within the margin for a recount. Virginia may not have been the place to party last week but there was plenty reason to celebrate if you voted Republican.
Elsewhere around the country there was a tidal wave of support for conservative candidates. Republicans taking the majority in the US Senate grabbed headlines all night. The first results that came in on election night had Mitch McConnell, once thought to be in trouble, as a big winner in his re-election bid. Then we saw West Virginia predictably become the first GOP pick-up of the night with Shelly Capito becoming WV’s first female senator. Then Tom Cotton beat incumbent Mark Pryor handedly in Arkansas and we knew Republicans would be in for a good night. Returns in Colorado and Iowa later came in with the Republican candidates picking up those seats by easy margins. When the night was over the GOP had gained seven seats, could possibly still pick up Alaska, and are poised to pick up Louisiana on December 6th in their runoff.
The biggest wins of the night came from several off the radar surprises in gubernatorial races. The GOP taking over the governor mansions in Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts are all huge gains that should not be overlooked. President Obama’s professional home of Illinois voted for a Republican governor, Martin O’Malley’s liberal bastion of Maryland went for the conservative, and radical socialist Elizabeth Warren will now have to deal with a Republican in the Massachusetts governor’s office, and all three are big setbacks to the Democrats’ national brand. For Illinois, the rejection of Obama is right in the president’s face. For Maryland, the rejection of O’Malley’s handpicked successor is a rejection of O’Malley’s hyper-partisan policies and a setback for O’Malley’s potential presidential run. And for Massachusetts, the rejection of the left wing of the liberal party is a rejection of Warren’s warped perception of why she is among the few who live in multi-million dollar houses as well as being a setback for Warren’s potential presidential run.
The biggest winner was Scott Walker. The Wisconsin Governor was once again a high priority target for Democrats and once again Walker beat them back. He has done a good job in Wisconsin and the Democrats know on the national stage Walker could be tough to beat and even tougher to put up with once in office. If Walker lost then the Democrats would have stopped a very formidable challenger to their chances of holding on to the White House. If Walker won then he can still run for president. Well he won and 2016 can’t get here soon enough.
After the president the biggest loser had to be Anthony Brown in Maryland. Brown has been serving as a two term Lt. Governor after being elected to that position on Martin O’Malley’s ticket. Brown ran as an extension of O’Malley’s hyper-partisanship, he had the podium of a statewide office holder, he had Bill Clinton doing ads for him and Maryland always elects Democrats statewide, so no problem, right? Not this time. Larry Hogan ran as a moderate conservative who didn’t want to see Maryland lunge farther left. The voters, again we are talking about Maryland, rejected the idea of more leftwing policies that have resulted in losing more and more businesses to places like Virginia and Texas.
Tuesday’s election hopefully ended the false war on women narrative that the Democrats have been trying to use to scare uninformed voters. In Virginia John Foust ran as hard on the war on women bull as anyone, and Foust was deservingly defeated by a substantial margin by his female opponent Barbara Comstock. In Texas, Wendy Davis, the poster girl for the war on women, not only lost but she lost among women to her male opponent Greg Abbott. In both cases the Democrats ran on lies designed to scare voters who haven’t been paying attention to the campaigns and in both cases their lies were identified as such. Nationwide a lot of Republican women were elected on Tuesday night including Shelly Capito to the US Senate, Mia Love to the US House, Nikki Haley re-elected to the South Carolina governorship, 18 year old Saira Blair to West Virginia’s state house, and in Indiana Republican women carried all three statewide races.
President Obama spoke on the mid-terms last week with a higher than usual arrogance. He sounded delusional when he said “So, to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.” His excuse for getting blown out is to exaggerate how many didn’t show up and somehow use those non-votes as a mandate for his policies. Well Mr. President it was your supporters who didn’t show up because they are tired of your bull. Undeterred, the president dropped threats of executive action but tried to cover his lack of respect for the election results when he said, “You send me a bill that I can sign, and those executive actions go away.” Where does he get the nerve? His supporters stayed home, voters rejected his administration in great numbers and yet he somehow finds a way to believe there is no need to change anything he is or is not doing.
The president’s remarks included a brief civics lesson, “I’m the guy who’s elected by everybody, not just from a particular state or a particular district.” Imagine if George Bush had said that. And the president gave us one of my new favorite gems with the following; “And, you know, I’ve had the limelight and I’ve — there have been times where the requests for my appearances were endless.” Good idea to point out how before you had to do anything with the office everyone wanted a photo op. Now that you have been in charge the phone ain’t ringing for those photo ops anymore.
The reason behind the change in scheduling for the president is Obama’s message of hope and change has dried up. In 2008 Obama swept in to the White House as a new breed of politician, a “post-partisan.” Now that he has been in charge for a while people have seen just how much of a hyper-partisan this president has been. He told Eric Cantor that “elections have consequences and I won” and went on to rule with an arrogant uncompromising zeal. He loves to campaign but can’t lead. His hope and change image of a transformative political actor worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize based on potential is a falsehood. The wave came from Republican and independent high propensity voters with Democrats more disenchanted and unenthusiastic as usual thanks to the president. This wasn’t an incumbent rejection election with so many Republicans winning re-election; it was a Democrat Party rejection election. The curtain has been pulled back and voters are unimpressed with the little man holding the microphone.
The totals from last week have come back for Republicans in a sweeping tidal wave of support. Majority in the Senate, an increase in the majority in the House, a majority of state legislatures, surprise wins for governor in some really liberal states all made for more than just a good night for the GOP.