Friday, November 7, 2014

Post-election analysis

All the political pundits are busily explaining to us exactly what last Tuesday's election means. All the right-wingers are vociferously gloating about the "permanent" majority they have achieved in the Senate and the House. President Obama's policies are thoroughly repudiated by the American people, they say.

Well, maybe.

Just about one-third of registered voters turned out to vote in this election and, of that number, just over half - something like 17% of the nation's voters - gave the Republicans their victory. That is the tsunami, the earthquake, the tidal wave that they are crowing about. 

Seventeen percent somehow does not seem like that big a mandate to me, but then what do I know? I'm not a pundit and I don't live inside the Beltway, so I can't claim any secret pipeline to the brains of American voters that allows me to interpret just what their votes mean.

I did see one bit of analysis of American elections that seemed to make sense to me. Not from a Beltway pundit but a blogger - Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos. He wrote:
In 2004, Republicans won big, and Democrats were left trying to figure out what went wrong.

Then in 2006, Democrats won big, and they decided everything was fine. Republicans merely shrugged it off as the 6-year-itch that bedevils parties that hold the White House in a president's last midterm.

2008, Democrats won big again, and Republicans were left fumbling for excuses, but mainly decided it was Bush's fault and an artifact of Barack Obama's historic campaign.

In 2010, Republicans won big, so they were validated. All was fine! Democrats were left fumbling.

In 2012, Democrats won big, so they decided everything was fine. Demographics and data to the rescue! Republicans decided to rebrand, until they decided fuck that, no rebranding was needed.

And now in 2014, Republicans are validated again in the Democrats' own 6-year-itch election. Democrats are scrambling for answers.

And I'll tell you what the future looks like:

In 2016, Democrats will win big on the strength of presidential-year turnout. Republicans will realize they really have a shit time winning presidential elections, and maybe they should do something about that!

In 2018, Republicans will win on the strength of off-year Democratic base apathy, and they'll decide everything is okay after all. And it's going to be brutal, because those are the governorships we need for 2020 redistricting. Republicans will then lock up the House for another decade.

Then in 2020, Democrats will win on presidential year turnout, and ... you get the point.
Yeah, that sounds about right to me. We seem to be doomed to a never-ending cycle of boom and bust and we are just too stupid to do anything about it.  

So, all those gloaters should enjoy things while they can. The clock is already ticking on 2016 and there's only one letter difference between gloat and...goat. 

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