The Great Denial continues. The liberals continue to labor under the assumption that nothing very bad happened in early November. They are still supreme. The columnists go on as though nothing is amiss. This week, E.J. Dionne consulted with three defeated members of Congress and passed on to President Barack Obama their advice on how to succeed during the next two years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues as if she is speaker for life, though it probably will be a generation until another Democrat holds the post. Mental illness can be amusing.
The fact is that the Democrats lost badly in the midterms, and they probably are going to lose again in 2012. The Republicans picked up six seats in the Senate and more than 60 in the House. They won 683 legislative seats nationwide and gained six governorships. That will give them a powerful say in redistricting. Moreover, in 2012, the Democrats have to defend 23 seats in the Senate, and they probably will lose the presidency, unless the Republicans run a platypus.
In truth, the Democrats have been living on borrowed time for years. Their philosophy is liberal, and outside of the academy, government employee labor unions and a few enthusiasts wedded to identity politics, liberalism is not very popular. In the most recent elections, liberals accounted for 20 percent of the vote. Conservatives accounted for 42 percent of the vote, and independents accounted for 29 percent and broke for the conservatives' positions. These figures have been about the same for nearly three decades.
Most polls show a margin of 40 percent for conservatives and 20 percent for liberals going back to the Reagan years. Even before that, conservatives clearly outnumbered liberals, which is why in the aftermath of the past two elections one had to wonder about the predictions of conservatism's demise. Where was 40 percent of the electorate to go? How could a minority of 20 percent govern the country for long?