Just before it was time to settle down to follow the election results an email arrived informing me that Ed Gillespie's internal polls showed the Virginia senate race which had indicated a Democratic Party blow out a week ago was down to a one percentage point race. That was the first indication this was to be a total shellacking of the Democratic Party.
The GOP Senate victory was larger than expected a pickup of seven seats so far and could end up at eight by the end of the day and nine after the Louisiana runoff next month. A pick up of at least 13 seats in the house, with 19 more seats to be called, and while as of now there was a net GOP gain of 3 governor's races those new seats are in blue states such as Massachusetts and Maryland, and incumbents who were dead in the water such as Scott Walker (WI) and Rick Scott (FL) retained their offices.
It was more than that a wave, it was a complete and total repudiation of President Obama. Now is the winter of Obama's discontent and there is more to come. If the GOP plays it's cards right it will get worse. According to some sources Obama privately complained to aides is that the results should not be a judgment on him. “He doesn’t feel repudiated,” the aide said.
But Obama wasn't the only loser. Harry Reid lost big. He gambled on making the race all about the Koch Brothers money and then spent more money than they did in trying to keep the senate. There are some who say he may even lose the race for minority leader, don't believe it---Reid will win.
When Joe Biden was interviewed on the radio yesterday, he let the cat out of the bag that Kansas independent Greg Orman would caucus with the Democrats. Incumbent Republican Pat Roberts used the interview as a robo-call to show that Orman was not an independent but a Democrat. Although it was only a few hours of calling, Biden's gaffe may have helped Roberts turn what was supposed to be a close race into an 11 point victory. No one will ever know if the gaffe-meister's interview was responsible for the big Roberts win....but no one will ever know if it wasn't.
The mainstream media was a big loser. First because they kept saying this will be a "tiny" wave but it turned out to be a landslide. Secondly because two years ago they spoke of the GOP as an aging monolithic party, and today they are saying the same thing about the Democrats. Guess what? They were wrong then and they are wrong now.
While it probably means little for 2016, the Clintons were big losers. They campaigned around the country, especially in Arkansas and Kentucky and lost by 16% in both states. If the GOP lost in those states Hillary could have taken credit.
Don't forget about swine in Iowa. Joni Ernst became known after she ran a commercial about castrating pigs....I understand after the race was called for Lieutenant Colonel Ernst thousands of pigs broke out of their pens and ran away.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz DNC Chair was a huge loser, but to be honest, she was a loser a long time before tonight. For a month there have been rumors her job as Chairman of the Party was in trouble, look for her to be replaced--she lost big and Hillary Clinton the expected 2016 nominee can't stand her.
Another loser is "the war on women," it simply doesn't work anymore. Mark Udall became such a joke for his over reliance on this issue they called him senator uterus. And president Obama's war on the coal industry was a loser. It was a big issue in Kentucky and West Virginia where there were big losses for the Democrats.
The Polls were also big losers. Many of the same polls who underestimated the Democratic victory in 2012, underestimated the GOP this time.
There were also big winners last night. Perhaps the biggest of which was Reince Priebus and the entire RNC team. After the 2012 debacle they laid out three objectives.
- Expanding the electorate to turn out low propensity Republican voters and to turn them out early--they did
- Prioritize low propensity voters before Election Day. Win the pre-election day votes-again it worked.
- Ground Game- Every election we hear from the GOP, this year we have a good ground game, it was never true...until this year.
Chris Christie was a big winner, He ran the party's governor's races and did very well. Cory Gardner was also a big winner---not only because he won but because his brainstorm to urge that birth control pills be allowed to be sold over the counter cut the legs out of "the war on women."
Rand Paul campaigned around the country and at the same time did outreach to the minority community, he will be a strong candidate for the presidential nomination. Scott Walker who won a tough election and beat down the union campaign dollars for the third time in four years also becomes a strong possible candidate.
Joni Ernst who becomes the first woman ever to win a senate race in Iowa wasn't even supposed to win the primary and become the Republican nominee and now becomes a future GOP star and possibly a candidate for national office in 2020.
Mitch McConnell gave an impressive victory speech yesterday. His message was now we have to get things done which was the right tone America needed to hear. In fact as if a script was sent to all of the candidates each of the GOP winners last night gave a similar and correct message, "now we need to show we can lead," or "no more gridlock."
Yesterday's election was the easy part. Now, if the Republicans want to win in 2016 they need to show they can govern. They must pass legislation and work with the White House to make sure the president doesn't reject them out of hand.
The 2014 midterm elections were a great victory for the GOP, but it wasn't a mandate. It was more like the people thought the ruling Democratic Party was doing a crappy job so they decided to try the other guys.
This is a clear opportunity for the GOP but they must take advantage of it, otherwise 2016 will look a lot like 2008 and 2012.