In the November mid-terms, the Democratic Party is widely held to have done a number of things wrong. If it had done things right, after all, the party would not have lost the most seats in half-a-century.
In raw numbers, this election was quite comparable to the 1994 midterm elections. In the House of Representatives Democrats lost more seats than in 1994, while in the Senate they lost marginally less. Republican commentators often liked to predict a second 1994 wave before the midterms. Now the midterms have happened, and the wave was just as strong as in 1994.
It is funny, then, that nobody is talking about the midterms anymore. In 1994 a Republican gain of 54 seats constituted a “Republican revolution.” In 2010 a Republican gain of 60+ seats was what was expected.
Indeed, the media characterizes Republicans as doing as well as they were expected to do. If Democrats had lost 40 seats, the media would have hailed it as a victory for them (When is the last time that a 40 seat loss in the House of Representatives would have been hailed as a victory for the party that lost seats?) If they had lost a mere 20, it would have been the biggest Democratic upset in the decade. One wonders what the media would have said if the Democrats had actually gained seats.
This is quite amazing. The Democrats lost 60+ seats in the House of Representatives. This is worth repeating. The Democrats lost 60+ seats in the House of Representatives! They lost more seats than any party since 1948. They were absolutely wiped out in some areas of the country.
And yet nobody is talking about a Republican revolution this time. Nobody is talking about the power of the Tea Party anymore, which just helped give Republicans 60+ seats. During the month before the midterms, the media coverage was overwhelmingly about how Mr. Obama had been a failure, and about the numerous mistakes his administration had made. This was before a single Democrat had actually lost his or her seat.
Now the midterms have actually come, hundreds of Democrats have actually been defeated – and all the media’s attention is directed at President Barack Obama’s to Asia, which was relatively well received. A president’s party loses more seats in the House than any party for half a century, and two weeks afterwards the media is covering him relatively positively!
Whatever Democrats did wrong in 2010, they certainly succeeded at spinning the results in their favor.