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A Nationalized Election With a Clear Swing to the GOP

Republicans pick up 7 Senate sets

Last night was very bad for Democrats and a very good one for Republicans. At this point Republicans have picked up seven seats in the Senate and it looks like they will pick up another two when everything is over. With most of the votes counted, the Republican candidate holds a narrow lead in Alaska. Similarly, while Louisiana has officially gone to a run off, Republicans Bill Cassidy is a strong favorite to win.

While Republicans did very well, the total size of their gain is overstating their objective performance. There were two things which helped Republicans win. The first was a favorable map combined with the steady nationalization of federal elections. The second was a solid advantage among voters. The later is what was really responsible for most of the Republicans gains.

Six of the pick up/likely pick ups for Republicans were states won overwhelmingly by Mitt Romney: Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. With the number of vote splitters shrinking and the political parties in Congress becoming more disciplined, it was only a matter of time before these states flipped. The Republicans do deserve credit though for keeping a national focus in all these elections.

Republicans also picked up North Carolina, a state Mitt Romney narrowly won in what was otherwise a bad year for Republicans.

Finally, Republicans gained only two states won by Obama in 2012: Colorado and Iowa. Both are considered purple presidential swing states and in both the Republicans only narrowly won.

It is effectively only the last three elections where Republicans really won by outperforming Democrats thanks to an national swing in voter support in their favor.

This is not to take away from the Republican victory, but to point out the much bigger trend that is being overlooked. We are likely seeing the a real narrowing of the contested Senate races as voters start to put party consideration above almost everything else in federal elections. With most of these misaligned senators being quickly cleared out, we will probably see the fight for the control of the Senate closely mirror the fight for the Presidency. We will see contests only in a handful of swing states, moving the majority in the Senate a few seats either way.

Image by DonkeyHotey under Creative Commons license

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A Nationalized Election With a Clear Swing to the GOP

Republicans pick up 7 Senate sets

Last night was very bad for Democrats and a very good one for Republicans. At this point Republicans have picked up seven seats in the Senate and it looks like they will pick up another two when everything is over. With most of the votes counted, the Republican candidate holds a narrow lead in Alaska. Similarly, while Louisiana has officially gone to a run off, Republicans Bill Cassidy is a strong favorite to win.

While Republicans did very well, the total size of their gain is overstating their objective performance. There were two things which helped Republicans win. The first was a favorable map combined with the steady nationalization of federal elections. The second was a solid advantage among voters. The later is what was really responsible for most of the Republicans gains.

Six of the pick up/likely pick ups for Republicans were states won overwhelmingly by Mitt Romney: Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. With the number of vote splitters shrinking and the political parties in Congress becoming more disciplined, it was only a matter of time before these states flipped. The Republicans do deserve credit though for keeping a national focus in all these elections.

Republicans also picked up North Carolina, a state Mitt Romney narrowly won in what was otherwise a bad year for Republicans.

Finally, Republicans gained only two states won by Obama in 2012: Colorado and Iowa. Both are considered purple presidential swing states and in both the Republicans only narrowly won.

It is effectively only the last three elections where Republicans really won by outperforming Democrats thanks to an national swing in voter support in their favor.

This is not to take away from the Republican victory, but to point out the much bigger trend that is being overlooked. We are likely seeing the a real narrowing of the contested Senate races as voters start to put party consideration above almost everything else in federal elections. With most of these misaligned senators being quickly cleared out, we will probably see the fight for the control of the Senate closely mirror the fight for the Presidency. We will see contests only in a handful of swing states, moving the majority in the Senate a few seats either way.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com

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