November 5, 2014

First Reaction to the 2014 Midterms

It's been a long time since I've posted something on here, and no time like the day after the 2014 midterm election turned into a trip down Beatdown Boulevard* for the Democrats. Here's my quick take on what I'm looking at going forward, with some help from Public Enemy, Rick Pitino, SNL, and Bon Jovi.

1. As Chuck D said, don't let a win go to your head or a loss to your heart

I'm not fooled by people saying this is some kind of referendum on a 2016 Clinton candidacy. It's been nearly two decades since Bill carried his home state, and times have changed. The Pryor loss doesn't mean much for 2016. 

2016 will be a billion dollar campaign, more than double the turnout, and the full campaign force of both Clintons should Hillary want to run for the presidency. In fact, the smarter GOP potential nominees are already talking about Clinton instead of Obama.

But, that doesn't mean that the GOP hasn't found some candidates who delivered. Unlike 2012, the lunatic fringe didn't make it through the primaries in most cases. Instead of Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock, voters faced Tom Cotton and Dan Sullivan amid a highly favorable environment. Even with that environment, voters consistently supported raising the minimum wage and, indirectly, retaining Medicaid expansion.

The rotation of Senate seats up for grabs is unlikely to be as favorable for the GOP next time around. However...

3. What's up with Virginia (and Colorado) Democrats?

Mark Warner should have dominated last night, but apparently squeaked by. I'm convinced that the Democrats there have forgotten that the GOP also really wants to win elections. Warner is lucky he didn't get Udalled. I speculate that Virginia Democrats have been too distracted by hoping to play Clinton's understudy in 2016 that they forgot about 2014.

Which brings me to Minnesota, where the Democrats quietly dominated the big races. Maybe in 2016 the Clintons should be courting Mark Dayton instead of Mark Warner.  

How will Obama spend his last two years dealing with a GOP Congress? Presuming they don't waste all of our time with faux scandals, divided government can be a time for deal making. Or, it can be a time where half the people in the Senate see themselves as the next president and spend all their time posturing. 

I wish I were more optimistic, but I'm definitely willing to be wrong about the prospects of getting a grand budget bargain. The good news is that gridlock isn't automatically bad for all aspects of the economy, though it can be harsh on the most vulnerable. 
*Special thanks to Andy Samberg

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