- Just a quick California note. On Tuesday, following our habit of the past few decades, we approved Proposition 22, which limits the ways the legislature can allocate property tax funds, and Proposition 26, which essentially eliminates the legislature’s ability to levy new fees on businesses. Today, we will undoubtedly return to our usual hobby of yelling and screaming that the legislature isn’t doing enough to balance the budget and make government work. For the past 30 years, in election after election, we have relentlessly reduced Sacramento’s ability to raise money at the same time that we’ve piled on an endless series of new spending requirements — and as the cherry on top, insisted that this citizen-created circle be squared by a bunch of term-limited amateurs who have no idea how the machinery of the state really works. And then we wonder why things aren’t going so well.
We are insane.
And the basic answer is that Republican groups came out to vote and Democratic groups didn’t…The gender breakdown didn’t change much. And nor did the racial breakdown. But the age of the electorate changed dramatically: Seniors went from 16 percent in 2008 to 23 percent in 2010, while voters between 18 and 29 fell from 18 percent in 2008 to 11 percent in 2009. Seniors, of course, are the most conservative voters — they were the only age group to back John McCain in 2008. And young voters are the most liberal. They were the only age group that favored Democrats yesterday.
There’s going to be a lot of soul-searching among Democrats after this election. Most of it will be about whether they should’ve been more liberal or more conservative, more ambitious or more modest, more confident or more empathic. But perhaps the most important question isn’t what they could’ve done to make more Americans like them, but what they could’ve done to get more young voters to the polls.
Quote #3 on whether this a victory for “bipartisanship?” Puh-lease.
The GOP scored big victories by engaging in hyper-partisan politics. Democrats weren’t just failing to deliver on the economy, the message went — they were treasonous, evil, power-mad, communist, fascist, anti-colonial, and elitist. They’re the most dangerous Americans who’ve ever lived. Left unchecked, they threatened to destroy America as it has existed for two centuries plus. (And oh yeah — Republicans in recent years had been kinda disappointing as well.)
The fact that this staggeringly partisan message succeeded with quite a few swing voters, including some who voted for Obama and the Democrats in 2008, is no more a sign that partisan politics was discredited yesterday than the purging of bulimics after a binge is a sign that their calorie intake is actually pretty reasonable.
Quote #4, on Tea Party’s big losers:
Some analysts will make much of the defeat of several Tea Party champions yesterday, notably Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Ken Buck (if Bennet’s lead holds up) and perhaps, around Thanksgiving time, of Joe Miller [AK]. But put aside individuals candidates. Just as the Tea Party Movement represents the radicalization of the GOP’s conservative base, the Tea Party Movement itself has radicalized the Republican Party beyond the point of turning back. No “grownups” are going to rescue that party from the Class of 2010 and the now-invincible belief of conservatives that they won by moving hard right.
These are just a few thoughts.