US Mid-term elections: Republicans sweep all before them

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At about 04:30 our time, ABC News projected that the Republicans would win the US Senate in the Mid-term elections. They did so as they called Iowa and North Carolina for the “Grand Old Party”. In virtually every race, where the Democrats had a slight chance, they lost. Nate Silver reckoned, as ABC News made their declaration, that the Republicans could finish with as many as 55 Senate seats.

Yesterday, I jotted down the key five swing Senate seats and how they stood on Five Eight Thirty (“Polls” below), the home of Nate Silver. Here’s what I noted along with the latest prediction for those races:

Arkansas: Polls: Republican + 7 / Latest prediction: Clear Republican win, unseating the Democrat Mark Pryor, who has sat as Senator since 2003.

Colorado: Polls: Republican + 2.5 / Latest: Clear Republican win with another sitting Democrat leaving office.

Iowa: Polls: Polls: Republican + 2.3 / Latest: Clear Republican win

Kansas: Polls: Independent + 0.8 / Latest: Sitting Republican holds on

North Carolina: Polls: Democrat + 0.7 / Latest: Clear Republican win

The Republicans will firmly win the Senate race in Georgia. Despite suggestions to the contrary, there’s a win in the offing for the Republican sitting Governors in Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan. The Republican challenger in Illinois has defeated sitting Governor Pat Quinn, according to NBC News.

The overall verdict from Taegan Goddard of Political Wire is:

Bottom line: This was a wave election. Nearly every close race was won solidly by Republicans. Republicans are likely to end up with 53 or 54 seats in the Senate and may have more if a couple others — Angus King, Joe Manchin — cross party lines.

Interestingly, it looks as though most of the pre-voting polls were skewed towards the Democrats. As at 05:11 our time, Nate Silver commented:

The pre-election polling averages (not the FiveThirtyEight forecasts, which also account for other factors) in the 10 most competitive Senate races had a 6-percentage point Democratic bias as compared to the votes counted in each state so far.

Medical Marijuana failed to be approved in Florida, but the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana was approved in Washington DC by a margin of two to one.

More than half the states in the USA now have women senators, with a total of 36 women in the US Senate. For the first time ever, there are now over 100 women in the US Congress.

Two bright spots for the Democrats: they hold the Kentucky House of Representatives and the Senate seat in New Hampshire. But these are very small bright spots on a night the Democrats lost control of the Governor’s mansions in their heartlands of Massachusetts and Maryland.

So, Barack Obama will have to work with a solidly Republican Congress for his last two years of office. That is going to be interesting, to say the least. With a few exceptions, his track record is not one of, shall we say, notable engagement with the GOP.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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12 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 5th Nov '14 - 6:43am

    Interesting Paul. I too have been following it whilst doing a night shift. My thoughts are that British politics needs to understand the appeal of the US Republican Party more. If you listened to the media and Twitter alone you would think the US Republicans were some fringe party that no self-respecting person would touch with a barge pole, but clearly they do.

    Being an atheist, I’m firmly in the Democrat leaning camp, but I wouldn’t be Democrat regardless.

  • Daniel Henry 5th Nov '14 - 9:03am

    Depressing…

  • Like Daniel says, depressing, and from a UK point of view, difficult to comprehend. What do voters think having a GOP controlled Senate will actually do for the US?

    Of course, John Tilley will be on here immediately to blame it on a certain party leader closer to home.

  • Paul In Wokingham 5th Nov '14 - 9:29am

    For an insightful but obviously downbeat running commentary (obviously with a Dem slant) check out http://www.dailykos.com

  • Daniel Henry 5th Nov '14 - 9:32am

    At least it will now be legal for Obama to light up a spliff outside the Whitehouse… That might just get him through the next two years…

  • I think the States is yet to have its kipper / snp moment and that in a 2 party system this is more a case of votes against the president rather than his party.
    I do think the Repulicans are a fringe, in this high tide election how many Americans voted for them ?
    I keep hearing that they can now block Obama’s agenda – but am not clear what that would have been anyway? As it is he’ll spend the next 2 years vetoing partisan and mischievous twaddle from the legislature.
    Could be worse (?)

  • I wonder whether as part of any Westminster reform we should move to a system of mid-term elections, so change in government becomes more incremental.

  • Tsar Nicolas 5th Nov '14 - 11:52am

    Why would a progressive vote for Obama? Economic policies geared to benefitting Wall Street, record numbers not in the workforce and on food stamps, earnings falling for most, more wars than Bush, a sustained attack on privacy and freedom of the press, despite being the ‘most transparent administration in history,’ militarisation of local police forces, NSA spying on ordinary citizens and the weekly meetings to draw up kill lists, and of course, Guantanamo Bay still going strong.

  • @Tsar Nicolas 5th Nov ’14 – 11:52am

    “Why would a progressive vote for Obama? ”

    As the GOP are far, far worse.

  • Stephen Hesketh 5th Nov '14 - 12:45pm

    @Tsar Nicolas5th Nov ’14 – 11:52am
    “Why would a progressive vote for Obama?”

    I do take your points but when the alternative is the full blown, let it rip, Conservativism of the Republicans, it must suddenly make Obama’s very mildly socially liberal conservativism somewhat appealing 🙂

  • SIMON BANKS 6th Nov '14 - 10:12am

    There are elements in the Republican Party which represent the trends which have pulled US politics wide apart from European politics, or even Latin American politics, since the Kennedy/Johnson period. Even UKIP is nothing like the Tea Party, certainly not as vituperative. There are also elements that are deeply-rooted in American society and politics – for example the faith in individual self-improvement and “the American Dream”: in this respect, they’re valid heirs of the American Whigs and the early Republicans. Their deep suspicion of anything Federal is a mixture of far right demonology and an attitude that must resonate for British Economic Liberals – that government action tends to deaden individual initiative – and one all Liberals will recognise, that if government is needed, it’s best at the lower level. However, since Nixon and Ford the Republicans have tended to become anti-government rather than devolutionist.

    As for the result, it’s bad news for Obama and the Democrats, but the President’s party tends to do poorly in mid-term elections and the Democrats’ base is more susceptible to not bothering to vote when the big prize isn’t up for grabs. Obama’s poor relations with the Republicans are not just down to his attitude, but to his demonisation in Republican circles, mostly I suspect not racism but the attitude that a Liberal Democrat is not a valid President. The worst thing for the Democrats is that because senate seats are on a six-year cycle, the senate is probably now locked against them for some time.

    The American political system, which has worked so well for so long, now seems to be in terminal decline with unlimited money power protected by the Supreme Court, vicious polarisation of parties increased by gerrymandered House of Representatives constituencies and the separation of powers plus lobbying power meaning that big programmes of change, other than those in the interests of big business, stand very little chance.

    If I were an American, I’d start a movement for a new constitutional convention and a dissolution of the old union – that way round, given the U.S.’s superpower status.

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