American Values, End of Day, with Gary Bauer: GOP Makes History; Lessons Of 2014

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

From: Gary L. Bauer

2014

GOP Makes History

Last night’s Republican victory was historic — and that’s not hyperbole. It is exceedingly rare for the country to experience two wave elections in a decade. Many pundits presumed that the GOP got its wave election in 2010, so it just couldn’t happen again in 2014. But it did.

Republicans picked up eight Senate seats last night: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. In the process, they defeated four incumbent Democrats (Begich, Pryor, Udall and Hagan), something they haven’t done since Ronald Reagan’s 1980 landslide. And the Senate elections are not over yet. Louisiana is headed to a December 6th runoff.

In the House, several races are still too close to call, but it is clear that the GOP succeeded in expanding its majority by more than a dozen seats. Speaker John Boehner will now control the largest Republican House majority in more than 60 years.

Across the country, at least 31 states now have Republican governors. GOP gubernatorial candidates prevailed in surprising places like Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts, while Governors Sam Brownback, Scott Walker and Rick Scott were reelected.

Republicans also added to their tremendous 2010 state legislative victories. According to one analysis, “state legislative chambers now stand at 65 Republican, 23 Democrat, 1 tie, and 4 undecided,” leaving Democrats “at their weakest point in state legislatures since the 1920s.”

Lessons Of 2014

There’s going to be a lot of spin in the days ahead. Let me offer a few thoughts about the lessons of 2014.

 

  • Some in the media are trying to explain away the results on an anti-incumbency, anti-Washington mood. It wasn’t just an anti-incumbency mood. It was clearly an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat mood. Exit polls found that only 11% of voters were “enthusiastic” about Obama, while 58% were “dissatisfied” or “angry” with Obama.The biggest example of incumbency and the Washington establishment on the ballot last night — Senator Mitch McConnell (R) — crushed his Democrat opponent. Senator Pat Roberts (R), with all his incumbent troubles, won by 10 points. Democrats lost in friendly states like Illinois and Maryland. 2014 was an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat election.
  • Barack Obama recently said that while he wasn’t on the ballot, his policies were. Well, 2014 was also an anti-Obamacare election. Every single newly-elected Republican senator campaigned against Obama’s signature policy initiative — Obamacare.
  • Bill and Hillary Clinton were big losers last night. The Clintons were heavily invested in the 2014 campaigns, going where Obama was too politically toxic. It didn’t matter. For all their star power, they couldn’t even bring Arkansas their way. For the first time in 141 years, the state’s entire congressional delegation is Republican and a Republican was elected governor last night.
  • The left’s “war on women” theme failed miserably. You can read more about that in my latest opinion piece at The Daily Caller.
  • The race card failed too. Democrats tried to drive black voters to the polls by exploiting the death of Michael Brown. Michelle Obama even suggested that blacks simply because they were black had to vote for Democrats no matter what.For all the Democrats’ talk about America’s racist history, the black candidates making history last night were not Democrats, but Republicans Tim Scott and Mia Love. South Carolina, the state where the Civil War began, has a black senator and an Indian-American governor, both of whom are Republicans.
  • There’s going to be a lot of chattering in the days ahead about the need for Republicans to avoid values issues and to stick to economics. If they mean addressing pro-family tax cuts, that’s great. But parts of the GOP economic agenda are deeply unpopular. For example, increasing the minimum wage, something establishment Republicans vociferously oppose, was on the ballot in four conservative states. It prevailed by an average of 62%.
  • Likewise Republicans shouldn’t fall into the trap of trying to resuscitate so-called comprehensive immigration reform. Voters in liberal Oregon defeated a ballot measure authorizing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants by a 67% to 33% margin.In the days ahead, there will be a lot of talk about compromise and cooperation in Washington. Let President Obama make the first move by dropping his plans for a mass executive amnesty.But I’m not holding my breath. Obama just finished a press conference addressing last night’s results. He was described by reporters as “defiant” and “anything but rebuked or chastened.”
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