Yes, Barack Obama won re-election. And the Democrats gained two seats in the Senate. All in a dismal economy where, by rights, they should have been shellacked. But you know what? As bad as those defeats are – and they are bad, that’s all they won.
To see the rosy side of the news, you have to look even beyond the fact that the GOP retained control of the House – with a near historic majority. Look downticket at the states. There are a historic number of Republican governors: 30 out of 50. Even more than that, as Michael Barone relates:
“But in most of the 50 states, American voters seem to have opted for something very much like one-party government.
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 percent of the nation’s population.”
“According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans will have more than 60 percent 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 percent of the members of one house plus a majority in the other and the governorship.”
So how about swing states like Ohio and Florida – that Romney lost?
“The Ohio senate will be 23–10 Republican, the Florida house 74–46 Republican.”
Hmm…, both have Republican governors as well. I thought that the GOP was toast is these places. Well, at least, that is what the MSM narrative has been saying.
OK, how are the Democrats doing?
“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 percent of the nation’s population.”
“Democrats will have 60 percent plus of both houses in eleven states, and in two more they will have 60 percent in one house, a majority in the other, plus the governorship.”
And how are the red states doing vis a vis the blue states? According to Conn Carroll, of the Washington Examiner, the blue states aren’t faring that well:
“But while the fiscal condition of the Democratically controlled federal government is still atrocious, Republican controlled states are now swimming in surpluses.”
The ever insightful Walter Russell Mead calls this the “death of the blue state model”.
“But even as the red-blue division grows more entrenched and bitter, it is becoming less relevant. The blue model is breaking down so fast and so far that not even its supporters can ignore the disintegration and disaster it now presages. Liberal Democrats in states like Rhode Island and cities like Chicago are cutting pensions and benefits and laying off workers out of financial necessity rather than ideological zeal. The blue model can no longer pay its bills, and not even its friends can keep it alive.”
So, all you Republicans out there: cheer up. The great advantage of the Age of Obama is clarity. Things are coming to a head in the states – what the progressive Justice, Louis Brandeis, called the “laboratory of democracy’ - and the fundamentals for early 20th century progressivism don’t look good in the 21st century.