by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Carlin’s Al Sleet (the hippy-dippy weather man) reminded us that behind every silver lining, there’s a dark cloud.
[T]here are no comforting augurs for Republicans in President Barack Obama’s victory. It was crushing and ominous, and it’s pointless to try to deny it. Republicans are comforting themselves with a few arguments, none of which are persuasive.
It was a close election. Yes, but that doesn’t quite capture it. A better way to think of it is as a narrow landslide. The president won by more than two points nationally, a big margin by contemporary standards. The Electoral College magnified it into a 332–206 stomping. While just 400,000 more votes in four key states would have won the election for Mitt Romney, two can play that game. John Kerry lost by about 120,000 votes in decisive Ohio in 2004, and Al Gore by 500 votes in decisive Florida in 2000 (while he won the national popular vote). These, by the way, are the only two presidential elections Democrats have lost in the past six.
This year, Republicans managed only to take back Indiana and North Carolina from 2008. And Obama had coattails. Democrats picked up two Senate seats in a year when Republicans dreamed of taking back the majority because so many Democratic seats were up. Democrats also picked up about seven House seats despite redistricting that tilted the playing field in the GOP’s direction. Republicans had better hope they don’t suffer defeats in many more such close elections.