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2010: An Aligning Election (Nate Silver)

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 07:07 PM
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2010: An Aligning Election (Nate Silver)

2010: An Aligning Election


Elections with results as dramatic as those of Tuesday night are sometimes referred to as realigning elections. The term although somewhat ambiguous and overused usually refers to a case in which one or another party not only gains a significant amount of power, but also, in which coalitions are shifted, the signature of which is usually that the rising party performs particularly well in certain geographic regions or among certain demographic groups.


Rather than a realigning election, then, 2010 served as more of an aligning election: congressional districts behaved less independently from one another, and incumbency status mattered less. Instead, they hewed tightly to national trends and the overall partisanship of each district. Most of the incumbent congressmen whose districts had been outliers before (mainly Democrats like Representative Gene Taylor, whose district gave just 31 percent of its vote to Barack Obama, but also a couple of Republicans like Representative Joseph Cao) were forced into early retirement.

What does this mean for 2012? Democrats if they are expecting to do better in 2012 than they did this time around might actually be pleased that elections have become so strongly aligned to partisan orientation. They now have just 12 seats in which Mr. Obama won a minority of the vote to defend whereas Republicans have 55 where he took the the majority instead. So if there is even a fairly modest shift back to Democrats in 2012, and the shift is again fairly uniform, they could be in a position to achieve quite a few gains.

Or, if the economy improves and having facilitated a more even balance of power in Washington the electorate becomes somewhat less angsty, the incumbent advantage could become stronger again, and the gains that Republicans made could prove to be relatively sticky as they were, for instance, after 1994. Plus, Republican inroads in governorships and statehouses on Tuesday night should give them more leverage over redistricting, so theyll be able to protect a few of their incumbents who otherwise might have lost.

But generally it seems like we have entered a period in which races for Congress have become highly nationalized, and in which few potentially competitive races are conceded by either party and few incumbents are given a free pass. That could mean well continue to see some wild swings over the next several election cycles.

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Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 07:48 PM
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1. That's really bad news for our democracy.
We can't afford wild power swings every couple of years, not with the way our government is designed to operate. Especially now that a precedent has been set where one party can afford to do nothing but block legislation and get rewarded for it.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 07:57 PM
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2. It was a propaganda media manipulated election.....
sponsored by corporate unlimited big money, nate.....that's what it was,
but thank you for your thoughts.
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Liberal_Stalwart71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:30 PM
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3. I agree somewhat but fear that redistricting in the hands of Republicans will lead to more victories
for them and heartache for us.

Unless Americans wake up and stop voting against their best interests, we are all doomed!!
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-09-10 03:47 PM
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4. Well, it will be good if it isn't in the hands of this Republican
Edited on Tue Nov-09-10 03:47 PM by ProSense
Emmer: 'Minnesota Voters Have Spoken, We Just Don't Know What They Said Yet'

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer just spoke to reporters at a press conference, seeking to deliver a clear message on the likely recount in the race: That the outcome of the election is not settled, and the process needs to play out.

"The statement is just briefly, thank you all for coming. It's nice to know that you all care. There's not much of a statement to make," Emmer said, opening the presser. "The Minnesota voters have spoken, we just don't know what they said yet. There's a process in place that is moving forward, and we should know shortly that the outcome is."

Democratic nominee Mark Dayton currently leads by a bit under 9,000 votes, or 0.42%. Although this is within the 0.5% margin for a hand recount under state law, many observers think that this margin is too wide for a recount to change the outcome -- by contrast, the eight-month long Minnesota Senate recount and legal contest from the 2008 election resulted in a net margin shift of only about 500 votes.

Reporters then asked Emmer a series of key questions: For example, where did he disappear to in the days after the election?



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