Friday, March 21, 2014

About The Coming Clobbering

From The Hill:

President Obama complained Thursday that Democrats "get clobbered" in midterm elections, blaming a "toxic" atmosphere in Washington for suppressing key Democratic constituencies.

Well, no. It's not "Democrats" who get clobbered in midterm elections, its the president's party that gets clobbered in midterm elections.

For example, in 1994 -- the middle of Democrat Bill Clinton's first term -- the Republicans took dual House and Senate majorities away from the Democrats for the first time since the 1950s. And in 2006, the Democrats took both House and Senate back (they also had taken the Senate briefly in 2001, when it was split 50-50 until Vermont US Senator James Jeffords switched from Republican to Independent and caucused with the Democrats). Then in the 2010 midterms, the Republicans took back the House.

Why does the president's party lose seats at midterm?

Well, it's a lot easier to energize the president's party's base when the president is running for re-election. If he's popular at all, he has coattails. His campaign spending is basically a force multplier for his party. At midterms, he's theoretically not running. He's just governing.

And the opposition's base, almost by definition, doesn't like the way he's governing -- so it's a lot easier to energize them.

There are a lot of reasons why the Democrats look set to take a beating this November. ObamaCare is one that comes immediately to mind. Some kind of midterm general structural bias against Democrats isn't one that comes to mind at all, because such a bias is compeletely imaginary.

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