Off-Year Election Reax
We will have more reaction later this morning. But for now, here's a round-up of bloggy goodness, assessing the still-incomplete results from tonight. First up, the always essential Ambers:
Yes, independents are moving to the GOP. That's a big headline. Bad news for Dems, etc, etc. But. And this is important: these are conservative independents. Many disassociated with the GOP -- at least in terms of what they tell pollsters -- because of the GOP brand problems and because it's cool to be independent in parts of the country and in parts of states. Don't confuse "moderates" with "independents." Still, it seems clear that for people who call themselves independent, Republican messages wear better than Democrats.
As for the wider implications of the elections, the Wall Street Journal points out, "Going back to 1989, one party swept the off-year gubernatorial elections five times. Three of those times, that party also won the following year's congressional elections; twice it did not." So, nothing.
It seems pretty clear that new Jersey and Virginia vote for the out-of-power party every four years now. Yes, there's a lot more energy on the right, but no, this election (the outcome of which I don't yet know, except Virginia) isn't evidence of it. I think basically everybody in politics understands this. I also think the political news media will tend to treat the elections as important, because the media has a bias toward reading importance into every new thing that happens. If you're going to have a discussion on cable news about what the elections mean, the producer isn't going to be very pleased if everybody says it doesn't mean anything.
Multiple news outlets are calling the New Jersey gubernatorial race for Republican Chris Christie. Yes, this is largely a referendum on the incumbent governor and the tax, corruption, and budget woes which bedeviled his administration. But this is New Jersey, a Blue state where Obama campaigned hard for the Democratic candidate, Jon Corzine. He made five separate stops. Corzine’s ads looked like Obama ads. Corzine tied himself tightly to Obama, but it helped not at all.
2010 won't be about Obama either. Oh, his performance over the next year will matter--but he's not going to get that surge of voters out to the polls for house and senate races. The Blue Dogs who are up for election in 2010 aren't worried about Obama, or his voters. They're worried about their own political fates.
I think you can see from the unexpected closeness in the NYC mayor’s race that an economic catastrophe is not a good time to be an incumbent elected official.