The post-mortem analysis of the 2014 mid-term election will continue for weeks and months, especially if expected recounts drag into December. The back of the envelope calculation is this: Republican candidates stomped to victory and now control the Senate and a number of critical governorships.
In Iowa we watched as Joni Ernst walked to an easy victory. Granted, Bruce Braley was about as dry white toast of a candidate that has ever walked the Earth. However, this is the person who made the signature slogan of her campaign “Make ‘em squeal Joni” in reference to an advertisement that alluded to hog castration.
Never mind that we re-elected imperial governor for life Terry Branstad to a record sixth term and he is making references to running again in 2018. The guy might actually be an animatronic dummy with an epic mustache instead of an actual human, but voters in Iowa might actually choose him over the baby Jesus.
Somehow Rick Scott, Scott Walker, and Sam Brownback won re-election. Brownback surprises me because he is literally running the state of Kansas into the ground. Maybe after another four years of his “leadership” the citizens of Kansas will finally puke all over themselves and elect someone who is not just holding water for the Koch Brothers.
Rick Scott is a clown, but Florida deserves him. Scott Walker is now the face of Wisconsin, for better or for worse, and the citizens of that state need to recognize the reality.
The guy who was in the most interesting position all night was Mitch McConnell. In some respects he was in a losing position no matter the outcome. He could have lost the actual election, but that appeared to be false hope for Democrats in the end. He could have ended up as minority leader again, but that outcome was pretty much dead in the water by 8 PM central standard time. Instead, he is going to be the majority leader in the Senate and he still may end up as a loser. This is a man who lacks any real charisma trying to lead a chamber full of upstarts positioning themselves for the presidential election forthcoming in 2016. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are going to be all over the place trying to make themselves look like the torch bearers for the Republicans. It’s going to be great.
What I think will be fascinating over the course of the next two years is what the Republican controlled Congress will try to achieve. For the past six years the party has acted as an opposition party out of power, disregarding the reality that it controlled the House, but now it is in the position to govern albeit with a Democratic president. My prediction is that if you thought the Newt Gingrich led Republicans overreached following the 1994 “Republican revolution” you have not seen crazy yet.
For the Democrats this election will probably come down to a discussion about money, but I think that is a false conclusion. Sure, there was a shit ton of money spent on ads but the problem for Democrats was uninspiring candidates. As 2016 comes into view and the field of presidential candidates coalesces, Democratic party leadership needs to find candidates who will be primed to take over a bucketful of vulnerable seats in an election that is almost guaranteed to be a big turnout for voters sympathetic to Democrats.
No one is asking me, but I am here to offer my opinions for free.