Obama may have won, but the GOP is still strong in the states

| December 3 2012
Christopher Cook

From Michael Barone, in IBD:

Starting next month, Americans in 25 states will have Republican governors and Republicans in control of both houses of the state legislatures. They aren’t all small states, either. They include about 53% of the nation’s population.

At the same time, Americans in 15 states will have Democratic governors and Democrats in control of both houses of the state legislatures. They include about 37% of U.S. population.

That leaves only 10% in states in which neither party is in control.

GOP Edge

The Republican edge is largely a result of the Republican trend in 2009 and 2010. Normally, you would expect the Democrats to recoup and shift the balance the next time they have a good off-year. Maybe they will in 2014.

But what’s striking now is the wide margins in legislatures for one party or the other in state after state — most of them, in fact.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans will have more than 60% of the members of both legislative houses in 17 states (Nebraska has a single nonpartisan legislature). And in nine more states, they’ll have 60% of the members of one house plus a majority in the other and the governorship. read the rest

And from Barone again, in To win, Obama sacrifices House, State Legislatures, we get a fascinating story. Obama won, but he did damage to his party in the process. He relied on a coalition that produced bigger numbers for him, but less diversity, by both regional and other measures. The whole piece is worth reading, but here is a sample . . .

Another way to look at it: 123 of 201 House Democrats will be from the Northeast, the West Coast, Hawaii and Illinois. Only 23 are from the Midwest outside of Illinois and only 42 from the South.

Obama was able to build his electoral vote majority thanks to big Democratic majorities from core constituencies concentrated in these states, which gave him 207 electoral votes.

But the concentration of blacks, Hispanics and gentry liberals means there are fewer Democratic votes in the suburbs, the countryside and the geographic heartland. The Obama campaign strategy concentrated on turning out core voters. That left House Democrats short of the votes they needed elsewhere.

In state legislative races, Democrats also rebounded from 2010, but fell far short of the losses they sustained then. They went into the 2010 election with 53 percent of state senators across the country and 56 percent of state lower House members. (Nebraska elects its one legislative chamber on a nonpartisan basis.)

Democrats came out of the 2012 election with only 46 percent of state senators and 48 percent of state lower House seats.

In that time, they gained seats in both chambers in only three states: New Jersey (one seat in each body), Illinois and California.

Democrats still hold most legislative seats in the Northeast. But Republicans now have more state legislators in the Midwest, West and South.

The changes in the South have been especially striking. Democrats went into the 2010 election with 51 percent of state senators and lower House members in the South. They came out of the 2012 election with 38 percent of state senators and 40 percent of lower House members.

Looking back, Bill Clinton’s re-election coalition worked better for his party than Barack Obama’s.

Clinton carried the popular vote in the South, as well as the other three regions. Obama lost the popular vote in the South and carried it by only 3 percent in the Midwest.

The presidential election results looked a lot like 2008′s. But the farther down the ballot you go, the more the results look like 2010′s.

To add a bit of punctuation to the notion that Obama’s Democratic Party may not be the dominant thing a lot of righties are worrying about and lefties are crowing about . . .

President Obama won a clear victory in the Electoral College (that’s one of the reasons it exists), but: “Much like Truman, Obama enters a second term with no mandate to speak of, and with roughly half of the country intractably opposed to his policies,” writes Jay Cost at the Weekly Standard. Obama’s grand themes were Big Bird and birth control.

His campaign mostly consisted of attack ads and personal insults. He won, many say, by managing to stitch together a coalition of those seeking federal largesse.

“The Democratic Party is mostly an incoherent amalgam of interest groups, most of which are vying for benefits for themselves and their members at the expense of other Americans,” notes Yuval Levin. “This kind of party is why America’s founders worried about partisanship and were, at least at first, eager to avoid a party system. It is a bunch of factions more than a party.”

Let not your heart be troubled. Do the right thing and keep working for liberty. The truth will out.

And you never have to retreat from the high ground.

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