Okay, so John was first to the off on the US mid terms. I’m not sure I agree that the Tea Party failed to define itself as a party (thus providing Dems with a visible target). By which I mean, its intention was never to become another party but rather to break up the long term romance within the Republican party between its Ivy League and corporate elite and the Christian right for the small government, fiscal conservatives.
According to David Frum, the leadership of the House Republicans has now passed over in all but name. And according to Michael Tomasky, Obama’s troubles have only just begun when you look at the depth of the electoral hole opening up in some of the bellweather states (look at Pennsylvania for instance) he will have to ‘talk round’ by 2012:
Overall: this is the kind of election it can take a party 10 or 12 years to recover from. More. It doesn’t have to be. But it can be. The margins by which some purple districts flipped back from D to R give strength to those newly elected Republicans; means they’ll be stronger fund-raisers, which means in turn that strong Democrats will be less likely to challenge them.
So when will the D’s recapture the House? The R’s could screw up on any number of fronts. And of course right now I’m swayed by the immediacy and recency of events. But I’d say a decade.
And the Senate: in 2012, the Democrats will be defending nearly twice as many Senate seats as the Republicans will. Of course it’s a presidential year, which will bring higher turnout on both sides, so it’s a different situation. But picking off two more seats in aggregate is not a big reach.
So the Democrats’ moment is over. And frankly, they’re getting what lots of people have seen coming since the spring, and they didn’t do enough about it. Put aside for the moment how they governed, which we’ll discuss. Just on the subject of how they campaigned, from Obama down – lamely. And now they’re in minority status for some time to come.
Sure, the Republicans have problems. But it is instructive to note that some at the more extreme end of the Tea Party-supported candidates didn’t make it home. Thus far, the former Senator now President Obama has shown little of the deft touch of former Governor Clinton when he was negotiating from the White House.
It’s going to be a rocky road to 2012 for the Democrats… Not least when the President’s attempts to shore up his own party’s candidates seems to have either no, or a negative effect… Weak leadership from the Illnois professor say some… Although Kaus says the Democrats suffered from the mishandling of the kinds of “base-vs.-middle tradeoff” that often kills their best intentions…
Perhaps at the base, its because we are in a recession and there is no sign of an end to the US domestic job losses that has fueled a lot of discontent that gave the Tea Party some of its most potent effect… Another ‘kick the bums out’ election beloved of US electorates when suffering in extremis…
A swing towards US protectionism would be bad news for Europe and in particular, very bad news for an Irish administration which has long since hitched its fortunes to American FDI… Still, it remains to be seen whether the Tea Party effect outlasts Obama’s near Messianic campaign of 2008…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty