The national media took a while to form their narrative about Election 2014. Was it a Republican wave? Maybe a tropical storm? Did they have a mandate? Was it anti-Obama or anti-incumbent? Not all of the coverage was enlightening, but here’s some thoughts on last night.
– Nate Silver was wrong. We’ve entered new territory. 2012 was full of unskewed-poll talk for Republicans, where they believed Nate Silver and other pollsters were underselling their turnout. Turns out Silver and crew were right. However in 2014, the pollsters were wrong on GOP turnout in pretty much every important race.
– Several historic elections happened last night for GOP demographics. Mia Love is the first black (Haitian-American) female Republican in Congress. South Carolina’s Tim Scott is the first African-American elected to the Senate from the South since Reconstruction. Republican governors won in decidedly blue states like Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.
– The Democrats’ “War on Women” mantra rang hollow. More like “War on Women’s Intelligence” for thinking that abortion is the only issue women care about. Colorado senator Mark Udall put all his eggs in the pro-choice basket, essentially declaring war on men by not giving them any other reason to support him. Cory Gardner won.
– As I kept refreshing Utah’s election results, I kept thinking how comically gerrymandered our state is. Salt Lake County’s heavily divided and diluted, and Utah County’s deep red boundaries are shared between CD-3 and CD-4, though CD-3’s borders are more Republican friendly. Mia Love pulled out a squeaker, but unless she’s hit by major scandal, I don’t see Democrats getting that seat back until 2020, with their fingers crossed for more fair redistricting. And this is not just a Utah problem. I think all 50 states should have independent boundary drawings based strictly on population, not cookie-cutter shapes that have Congresspeople picking their constituents rather than constituents picking their Congresspeople.
– I have DishTV so I couldn’t watch CNN’s coverage, which made me sad, as I think Jake Tapper’s the best anchorman on TV, and I can only take Fox News in spurts, and MSNBC is a joke. Does anyone really value Ed Schultz’s analysis of the Florida gubernatorial race? You can tell Fox News was taking election night seriously because all the female anchors had their shoulders covered. Then as the night went on, they got looser. Megyn Kelly was almost tipsy, and Karl Rove put on an ill-advised cowboy costume.
– Clay Aiken lost his race, in case you were wondering.
– The Republicans have 53 Senate seats for sure. They’ll probably get Louisiana’s in a run-off, as Mary Landrieu needed 50% of the vote to avoid it and she couldn’t crack 43%. Ed Gillespie’s going to lose Virginia by about 10,000 votes, but that race was far closer than it should have been, and if they had a run-off, Gillespie might have been able to pull it off. (A Libertarian candidate got over 50,000 votes.)
– I haven’t seen the precinct-by-precinct breakdown for CD-3’s results, but in Utah County, “Write-In” got 220 votes. I’ll just assume over 200 of those were for me. #Mandate