Friday, September 21, 2007

2006 Elections Were Truly Historic

I had a debate with local bloggers and a city council candidate about whether or not the Democratic wave during the 2006 election was historic or not. Their argument was that the 2002 midterm election was more historic because it was the first time since 1934 that a sitting President's party gained seats in a first midterm election. However, as I explained to them, the 2006 elections were truly historic because something happened that had never occurred in the history of the United States. So let's compare shall we:

  1. Republicans gained 6 House seats and 2 Senate seats
Analysis:"The Republican victory was... much more a consequence of redistricting (in the House) and of the higher turnout among Republican loyalists than of any national shift in public sentiment toward the party... Not least because of structural impediments, Democrats will face an uphill battle for control of Congress for the remainder of the decade."

  1. Democrats gained 31 House seats and 6 Senate seats

  2. Prior to this election Republicans held a 28-22 gubanatorial advantage - this was reversed in favor of the Democrats

  3. Democrats gained power over 4 state legislatures and 300 state legislative seats

  4. Prior to the 2006 election Republicans held a 92 seat majority in the New Hampshire house and an 8 seat majority in the senate - Democrats won 81 seats in the house and 5 in the senate
Analysis:"For the first time in the history of the United States, no Republican captured any House, Senate, or Gubernatorial seat previously held by a Democrat."

If Republicans think that somehow 2006 was just an anomaly that isn't likely to happen again they should look at the polls. It's very likely that the Democratic party will once again gain massive numbers of seats in both chambers of congress - wishing against it won't make it so...


Robert Enders said...

There is a phenomenon in politics refered to "realignment". Every 8 to 10 presidential elections, a realigning election, or "critical election", takes places in which new dividing issues emerge and voters change their voting patterns.

Critical elections usually do not get labeled as such by political scientists until years after the fact. I think that the old pattern of a critical election every 32 to 40 years is no longer the case. Now, people switch party loyalties or perferences in small groups over time, rather than all at once. So you will see "mini-critical elections" every decade or so.

The reason: Better technology, and more informed voters.

Phil Marx said...

Just some information to consider:

In 1962 Kennedy gained 2 seats in the Senate, but lost 5 in the House.

In 1970 Nixon gained 1 seat in the Senate (but the D's actually lost 3, as 2 went to Independents or other parties - not sure which., and lost 9 in the House.

In 1982 Reagan gained 1 seat in the Senate, but lost 22 in the House.

In 1994 Clinton gained 4 seats in the Senate, but lost 54 in the House.

I had always assumed when I heard this rule about mid-term elections, that it applied to both houses of Congress, but aparrantly it only applies to the lower House.

One thing I believe is certain. There are not very many people who would trust either party to control the entire government. And by control, I mean 2/3 in both houses plus the Presidency. The only time this has happened in the 20th century is under Roosevelt, and then only for two Congressioal terms.