How did the Republican Party do so well in so many places around the nation?
The State Senate is back in firm Republican control. The bigger story is that the GOP has taken control of the U.S. Senate. Several governorships have gone red, too. These results have brought some unexpected changes.
Some diverse GOP candidates were elected. Mia Love of Utah, by way of Brooklyn, is the first Republican African-American female elected a representative to Congress and Elise Stefanik of New York and Barbara Comstock of Virginia are headed there too, while Joni Ernst from Iowa and Shelly Capito from West Virginia will be the first females from their respective states to serve in the Senate.
Ms. Love supports gun rights, opposes a woman’s right to choose and wants to repeal ObamaCare. She is the child of immigrants from Haiti but has not said if she opposes immigration reform.
A likely scapegoat for the national failure of Democrats will be low voter turnout. There is no question turnout among core Democrat groups was lower in 2014 than it was in 2012 or 2010; however, Democrats lost in 2014 even where turnout surpassed 2010.
In Virginia, Senator Mark Warner won in a surprisingly tight race where turnout was low while in Colorado Senator Mark Udall was defeated even though the 2014 turnout was almost 300,000 higher than in 2010. Republicans won in Georgia, Kentucky and Arkansas where turnout was very high so turnout is not the answer to every election night question.
In New York, Democrat Andrew Cuomo easily won a second term against Republican Rob Astorino. Democrats Eric Schneiderman for attorney general and Thomas DiNapoli for comptroller were successful in their re-election races.
Mr. Cuomo was cross-endorsed by the Working Family Party line and many believed that anything less than an overwhelming margin would taint a Cuomo victory. Mr. Cuomo received 54 percent of the vote after spending $35 million while Green Party candidate Howard Hawkins, who probably spent $35, cut into the Cuomo victory plurality with a surprising five percent (175,000 votes).
The governor only won 16 of 62 counties in his popular victory. Organized labor groups supported him albeit with reservations since he has not been a worker-friendly governor. He announced he will “overhaul” the education system in his second term.
In spite of an upcoming trial on a 20-count federal indictment, Republican Michael Grimm easily won re-election to Congress, defeating Democrat Domenic Recchia, former city councilmember, with 55 percent to 42 percent. Mr. Grimm stated that, if convicted, he will resign after all appeals are exhausted. He may be in office for a very long time.
Republican‑Conservative‑Independent incumbent State Senator Martin Golden cruised to an easy re-election over Democrat‑WFP candidate James Kemmerer, who got 29.22 percent of the vote compared to Mr. Golden’s 65.05 percent. Mr. Golden’s big win must be more satisfying since he will return to Albany to join the Republican majority.
So what is the real problem? President Obama’s second term mediocre performance in many categories has created resentment in voters that is directed to any candidate from his party. People are disappointed and discouraged. This makes people seek to change the status quo. However, what we need are the best candidates. The best candidates are not elected by voters motivated by resentment. This election could very well lead to further dysfunction in Washington and Albany.
Mayor de Blasio presents another face of the problem. His increasingly strident liberal agenda has turned off upstate and downstate New Yorkers to all Democrats. According to an article in the New York Times, he devoted time and resources to defeating Republican candidates who will now control the State Senate and their victories were propelled by ads associating Democratic candidates with “big‑city liberal[s]” like Bill de Blasio!
Any plans to restore New York City’s authority over rent‑control laws, to expand rights for immigrants or to raise the minimum wage will be blocked by a Republican State Senate. Mayor de Blasio scoffed at the idea that upstate ads depicting him as a “liberal boogeyman” had an effect on the outcome of elections.
Despite what political analysts may say, turnout and philosophy alone do not create voting trends. If the GOP delivers mediocrity and inaction after their success, they will be voted out of office in 2016.