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The simple explanation for the 2010 elections

By Stephen Stromberg

Was the 2010 election about big government? Health care? Cap-and-trade? Democratic arrogance? An anti-elitist surge? Sure, these motivated some voters. But a few lines in the exit polls tell the big story about this year's campaign. Sixty two percent of voters on Tuesday said the economy was the issue at the top of their minds. Fifty percent of voters said they were "very worried" about the national economy. The Republicans carried the "very worrieds" by large margins. The Democrats punched their weight among all others.

On CNN Tuesday, Eric Cantor claimed that, "The mandate tonight is really about rejecting the policies of the other side." I'm not sure he can claim much of a mandate of any sort, let alone one that demands such a rejectionist poise. Unemployment is near 10 percent. Voters brought their discomfort -- generalized and unfocused -- about the economy to the voting booth. It was a bad year to be an incumbent of the ruling party. Sure, the Democrats could have done a lot differently in policy and messaging over the last two years. But not enough to change those fundamentals.

By Stephen Stromberg  | November 3, 2010; 12:01 AM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Next: The House/Senate split and the Tea Party paradox

Comments

Sure. And winning big on the House as the party of NO, probably does not mean that the voters rejects the policies of the other side?
Of course, had the democrats won it would have been a huge affirmation of their policies. Funny how that works.

There are two common things between Republicans in 2006 and Democrats today, they both spent too much. So perhaps the American voter does not want Big Government. Just saying...

Posted by: JustConcerned | November 3, 2010 2:57 AM | Report abuse

You just don't "get it". You liberals always think that if you can keep us employed, you can then do whatever you wish.

"We the People" aren't that shallow that we're only motivated by the economy. We love our country, even though it has many problems which need to be solved. That is our strength.

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!

Posted by: barrysal | November 3, 2010 3:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow, talk about missing the point- I hope Obama reads your column!!!
This was not "wrong place wrong time" deal- this was- oh no you didn't!!
Look at the map- its red, with little tiny blue accents. And look for another third party to take some of those from ya.
Love it!!!

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | November 3, 2010 6:06 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the Republicans did not take the Senate. Mainly because only one third of the body is up for reelection every two years. Had the entire Senate been up, the Capitol would be painted red tonight. Sixty seat gain in the House, the largest in living memory. Yeah, I'd call that a mandate. There's limits to what you can do with it, due to a holdover President and Senate, who represent last year's thinking. But yeah, I'd call it a mandate.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | November 3, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

The liberal WaPo still did not hear last night. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SPOKE!! We do not want to lose our country to the communists in congress. They had to go and they went in historic numbers! If Obama does not get the message, he is toast.

The dems had FOUR years and they blew it! Good riddance.

Posted by: annnort | November 3, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I think the president would have worked on getting jobs in the beginning if it had been a possibility in 2008, but we were that screwed by the politics of the Republicans and there was no money for anyone to start hiring, we all know this.

ALSO, PATIENCE IS AS PATIENCE DOES

Posted by: honeybee1 | November 3, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

The irony is that it is not as a big a victory as the Republicans hoped for but big enough. It is not a total loss for the Democrats but large enough. Now that they are back, I wonder how the Republicans will solve all of these problems that they said they could fix? I wonder if their backers will hold them equally accountable as they did the Democrats?

Posted by: MarkTwine | November 3, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Okay, guys, you got two years to fix everything. We're watching. . .that's all you get. . .two years. . .then we vote again!!!

Posted by: sboulais | November 3, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I guess this wouldn't have happened if they had been listening to the people they represented back home instead of Obama and his lapdog Pelosi.

Posted by: wonderingstevie | November 3, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

OK, Mr. Stromberg. If you say the historical change in the House membership is no repudiation of the Administration policies, we believe you ... because YOU KNOW. You don't need proof.

Posted by: TedCalifornia | November 3, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

We have a very intelligent President who has been doing everything possible to get the country back on its economic feet. For individuals, health care costs are a huge burden; so he attacked that while trying to keep the country on one track. The Dems listened to Repubs, even used some of their ideas. That was to the credit of the Dems, because the Repubs even voted down or refused to support THEIR OWN IDEAS! Mind boggling.
I've watched as the right wingers fought every single attempt to right the country all because they are determined to undermine the President. Never mind that he's doing what is right--he's a Democrat, so he can't be trusted.
I've watched and listened to the Foxers and their running dog lackeys nip at the heels of every good idea until they run it into the ground.
I have heard not one single good argument or idea to help the nation. Not one!
That is why, as a Republican, I voted Democrat in almost every single instance. Because I am fed up. The Repubs better get on the job, compromise with the Dems and get this country going again. WE VOTE AGAIN IN TWO YEARS.
Start with the SCOTUS--fix what they have screwed up. Take the Konservative Korporate knives out of our backs.
You want to "take the country back"? Start there.

Posted by: Mytwocents13 | November 3, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Mytwocents13; all,

to My2cents: just out of curiosity, what makes you think that BHO is "very intelligent"? = fwiw, his grades at university were well below those of GWB & "the smart set"/washinton COMpost writers/etc. thought that Bush was a dunce & a fool.
(turn off BHO's teleprompter and/or ask him any question, no matter how simple, that "his handlers" have not drilled him constantly upon & he sounds like a moron. = BHO is nothing more than an empty suit, who reads well & can endlessly spout meaningless platitudes.)

to ALL: for us Tea Party folk, there is no greater goal than driving BHO & "his coven of Wall Street crooks, shyster lawyers, morons, leftists & self-important lame-brains" out of DC, with their collective tails between their legs in 2012
AND
making sure that no voter ever forgets that the DIMocRATS are hate-filled trash, liars & prejudiced fools (against everybody that don't share their inbred leftist/statist prejudices) & who think that everyone "outside the beltway" are of little note & need not be seriously listened to.

we Tea partiers simply want every one of "the rulers"/the elitists gone forever from the halls of Congress/the WH & replaced with "regular people", who understand that they were sent to DC to serve the citizens, rather than to rule over us.


NOTE: if you are disgusted with being "ruled over"/treated as "unimportant" by self-appointed, arrogant, elitists, join your local TEA PARTY. - we are "here to stay" & we will win in 2012 & in the elections beyond.

sincerely yours, Retired MP46

Posted by: retiredMP46 | November 5, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

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