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Kilgore: Some Revolution, or, Why the 2010 election will not be a repeat of 1994. [View All]

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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-28-09 06:58 AM
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Kilgore: Some Revolution, or, Why the 2010 election will not be a repeat of 1994.
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On the surface, the comparison is plausible. In 1994, as now, a charismatic outsider took office amid general unhappiness with the record of his Republican predecessor. Then, as now, the president decided to make health care reform a signature issue despite widespread concerns about the economy, taxes, and federal budget deficits. And, as now, Republicans responded with an abrasive political strategy that energized their conservative base, at a time when Democrats were seemingly divided between centrists and liberals discouraged by the new presidents perceived centrist path.

It's impossible, however, to draw concrete conclusions from such superficial observations. A more disconcerting parallel for Democrats might be the scope of their recent winning streak. In the elections leading up to both 1994 and 2010, Democratic victories, particularly in the House, left the party somewhat over-exposed. In 1994, 46 of the 258 House Democrats were in districts carried by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. The numbers are comparable today, where 49 of the 257 House Democrats are in districts carried by John McCain, with only 34 Republicans in districts carried by Barack Obama. Similarly, if you apply the Partisan Voting Index, (PVI), which compares a districts prior presidential results to national averages, you find that there are 66 Democrats in districts with a Republican PVI and only 15 Republicans in districts with a Democratic PVI--a similar situation to the 79 Democrats in Republican districts in 1994. Clearly, two straight "wave" elections have eliminated most of the low-hanging fruit for Democrats in the House, and created some ripe targets for the GOP.

But that's where the fear-inducing similarities end...

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