It has been called an “earthquake” or a “tsunami” by various political pundits. I don’t like either of these natural disaster metaphors. An earthquake is a rare event that leaves nothing but destruction in its wake. A tsunami quickly recedes, creates enormous temporary havoc, but leaves the contours of the natural landscape relatively unscathed.
The 2010 midterm elections can be more accurately described as an “avalanche.” The White vote was unquestionably the cause of the burial of Heartland Democrats we saw on Tuesday. Non-White turnout was down 4 percent. As I predicted, youth turnout was down 8 percent from 2008. In contrast, the White vote in the House went a record 60 percent for Republicans, a 13 percent swing from 2008, with White working class voters (most of them in the Midwest) going Republican by an incredible 29 percent.
Like an avalanche, the consequences of the midterm elections will stick for a decade because of the census and redistricting. In the South, the 2010 midterm election was a realignment election like 1994, which saw the demise of veteran incumbents like Ike Skelton of Missouri, Chet Edwards of Texas, John Spratt of South Carolina, and Gene Taylor of Mississippi, not to mention the historic Republican capture of state legislatures in Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
Those seats won’t be competitive in the future.
In the Midwest, which is losing congressional seats, redistricting will be even more important. Republicans won the governorships of Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. They came within 1% of winning the governorships of Illinois and Minnesota. They already control the governorship of Indiana.
At the state level, the election is even more revealing: Republicans captured 14 state house chambers and have unified control over 26 state legislatures many of which are in the South and Midwest. They picked up 680 state legislature seats which is more than the Democrats picked up after Watergate.
Far from being a loser, the Sailer Strategy (which Republicans only indirectly benefited from) just handed the GOP its biggest victory in the lifetime of Republican political analysts. It was the biggest Republican victory since the backlash against FDR in the Great Depression.
“I’m not sure there has been a Congress since 1924 — and certainly not in the last 50 years — that had a membership more interested in reductions in overall illegal and legal immigration than will be the one that was elected yesterday.”
The most restrictionist Congress since 1924. Doesn’t that really say it all?
IN THE HOUSE
1. They wiped out a net of three dozen More-Immigration seats in the House.
2. They knocked the number of More-Immigration seats down to about 170, far below the 218 majority needed to pass legislation, seemingly eradicating any possibility of “comprehensive immigration reform” being considered in the next Congress.
3. They didn’t just go for mild enforcement types. They filled about two dozen of those current More-Immigration seats with Less-Immigration candidates who made explicit promises not only to push stringent enforcement measures but also promised to work to eliminate several categories of legal immigration.
4. The number of elected Less-Immigration candidates promising stepped-up immigration enforcement looks like it will fall just short of the 218 majority. But most of the final 50 elected candidates classified as Uncommitted appear likely to lean toward more enforcement if presented opportunities and requirements to vote on it. There is no question that a solid pro-enforcement, bi-partisan majority will exist in the new House.
IN THE SENATE
1. Five or six of the Senate’s most aggressive More-Immigration Members were replaced by Less-Immigration candidates.
2. That shift puts the More-Immigration bloc about 10 votes short of stopping a filibuster and creates a virtual 50-50 deadlock in the Senate.
This was a victory for us. It wasn’t a total victory, or a pretty victory, but it was a victory nonetheless. It is a foundation that we can build upon. In 2012, we have a real shot at putting a restrictionist in the White House and restrictionists taking over the Senate.
Within the next ten years, it is conceivable that we could secure the border, start deporting illegal aliens, and take advantage of hard economic times to end legal immigration. In the meantime, this guy will be in charge of the House immigration subcommittee.
The three big letdowns of Tuesday night need to be addressed: Angle in Nevada, Tancredo in Colorado, and Manchin in West Virginia.
First, Sharron Angle lost in Nevada because 65 percent of ballots were cast before election day when Reid was ahead in the race. The Hispanic vote rose from a paltry 12 percent to 15 percent. According to the CNN exit polls, the Hispanic vote in Nevada broke only 68 percent for Reid, which is about the national average.
In Arizona, Jan Brewer was comfortably reelected with 71 percent of the Hispanic vote going for Goddard, with Hispanics 14 percent of the Arizona electorate. Mike Lee and Rick Perry won in Utah and Texas with similar demographics.
Angle had a 4 point lead heading into the election. Even Reid’s own supporters expected him to lose. Angle lost by 5 points because she waited too late to go hard on immigration which surged her ahead in the last week of the race. The Nevada Senate race had already been decided by that point because of the early ballots and Angle’s unwise repeated comments on privatizing Social Security.
If everyone in Nevada had voted on Nov. 2, Angle would have won easily.
Second, Tancredo lost in Colorado because of the dysfunctional Colorado GOP, not in his own right. Maes carried 11 percent of the Colorado vote. The polls which showed that Tancredo had closed on the eve the election proved inaccurate.
The culprit in Colorado was also early voting. Maes performed better than expected because so many ballots had already been cast. In Colorado, 12 percent of voters in 2010 were Hispanic. Tancredo lost because Maes peeled off enough of the White vote (12 percent) to put Hickenlooper over the top.
Third, John Raese was trounced by Joe Manchin because he was a perennial candidate who made a terrible gaffe that cost him the election. After surging ahead in the West Virginia Senate race, John Raese was stupid enough to endorse the ludicrous idea of repealing the minimum wage, in an economically distressed state with more White working class voters than any other in the Union.
Joe Manchin, a popular governor, ran to the right of his opponent and did everything but shoot a target of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama to get elected. A better candidate would have beat Manchin in the midterm elections. We will get another chance in 2012.
It is important not to miss the forest for the trees here. As Roy Beck points out, a few big names fell (Tancredo and Angle), but the net gain in Congress (Boozman and Barletta), and especially in the governorships (Deal and Scott) and state legislatures (Alabama and Tennessee) are a positive net for us. Next year, a whole slew of states (including my own, not to mention its neighbors) will attempt to pass Arizona-style immigration reform.
The White vote is coalescing. In Arizona and Oklahoma, implicit Whites are getting bolder and are symbolically striking out (this is several election cycles in a row) at “affirmative action” and “sharia law.” The whole South is on fire with restrictionist sentiment. The Midwest is tilting into the Heartland column. And most importantly, the hackneyed charge of “racism” has less sting than at any other point in recent memory.
If Obama wants to win a second term as president, he will have to win Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. His approval rating is underwater in every swing state he won in 2008 and even in states like Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Maine. With the total collapse of his support among White voters, an economy sinking into depression, and without a legislative record to inspire his non-White base supporters, Obama will likely be a one term president.
The map ahead of us is looking better, not worse.