Sunday, November 7, 2010

The New Conservative Reality in America

Nile Gardiner has a very good piece on his Daily Telegraph blog today on "The decline and fall of Barack Obama: five key factors that drove the midterm election." Here is a snippet and below are the five key factors.

Last week’s midterm elections were without doubt a stunning political revolution, which will transform the political landscape in Washington in the second decade of the 21st Century, and possibly for the next generation.

The Republicans increased their seats in the House of Representatives by the biggest margin since 1948, with a significantly bigger win than 1994, gaining 61 seats. They surely would have taken the Senate as well, had all of the seats been up for re-election, instead of just 37. At the gubernatorial level the GOP now controls 29 governorships compared to just 19 for the Democrats. Republicans also picked up 680 seats in state legislatures, the highest figure in the modern era according to figures provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The midterms were largely a referendum on Barack Obama’s policies and his leadership, and represented a remarkable reversal of fortune for a president who just 21 months ago seemed unassailable.
Here are the five factors he mentions as responsible for this stunning turn-around:
1. America is a conservative nation
2. US voters are unwilling to accept the idea of American decline
3. The Tea Party sparked a political revolution
4. The liberal elites dramatically lost influence
5. The Obama presidency has behaved in an imperial fashion
Gardiner mentions this Gallup Poll, which shows conservatives outnumbering liberals in America today by a factor of 2.5 to 1. That is right, 48% self-identified as conservative, 32% as moderate and only 20% as liberal. That 48% figure for conservatives is up from 40% in 1994 and 42% in 2006. It is a long-term trend.

Victorino Matus at The Weekly Standard explains that the Democrat loss is worse than it appears. Redistricting due to populations changes is coming in the wake of the 2010 Census. He quotes Charles Lane of the Washington Post as follows:

Since the U.S. population continues to flow South and West, reapportionment will probably add House seats in red states and subtract them in blue states. Thus, the Census looks like a setback for Democratic chances to win the 270 electoral votes necessary to become president.

Texas, which has voted Republican in 9 of the last 10 elections will gain 4 electoral votes, according to projections from preliminary Census data by The other gainers—one vote each—include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina and Utah. All of these states have voted for the GOP candidate in at least 7 of the last 10 elections.... Meanwhile, eight states that usually go blue in presidential elections—Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Minnesota—are projected to lose one electoral vote each.

Or in other words,

Take the 22 states that voted for John McCain as the GOP base in the 2012 presidential election. That base is about to grow from 173 electoral votes to 180. And if Republicans hold it, they could get to 271 by carrying just six more states—Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, Virginia and Nevada—each of which has voted GOP in a majority of the last ten elections.

A permanent conservative governing majority for conservatives looms on the immediate horizon. The only question is whether the Republican Party will be its vehicle or not. If the Republican Party was smart, its 2012 presidential ticket would come from the six states mentioned above - say Indiana and Florida.

Historians will look back on Obama's administration as a desperate, last-gasp attempt to resurrect the old failed policies of the New Deal and as writing the obituary for the century long American progressive movement's attempt to turn America into a social democracy. The momentum is now in the other direction: toward a revival of constitutionalism, a renewed commitment to American exceptionalism, a revival of the family, and principles such as limited government and free enterprise.

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