Michael Barone

Not this year. Republicans won Senate or governor races or both in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. They captured five House seats in Pennsylvania, five in Ohio, two in Indiana, four in Illinois and two in Michigan. You might want to add the five they captured in Upstate New York. That's 23 of the 39 seats they needed for a House majority.

Republican gains in state legislatures were even more impressive. They will control the redistricting process in four of the five states in this region. The exception is Illinois, where Rod Blagojevich's successor as governor, Pat Quinn, held on by a few thousand votes -- helped perhaps by the refusal of some Democratic county clerks not to send out military ballots in the time required by federal law. They did manage to send unrequested ballots to inmates of the Cook County Jail, though.

But the dominant message here is that government spending is the problem, not the solution.

Blacks and Hispanics. Black voters remained almost unanimously Democratic this year. Not so Hispanics, who voted Republican in Florida and only mildly Democratic in Texas, where Republicans captured two Hispanic-majority House seats on the Mexican border. And Republicans Brian Sandoval and Susana Martinez were elected governor in Nevada and New Mexico.

The Finnish vote. Around 100 years ago, Finnish immigrants flocked to the mines and woods of the country around Lake Superior, where the topography and weather must have seemed familiar. They've been a mostly Democratic, sometimes even radical, voting bloc ever since. No more, it seems. Going into the election, the three most Finnish districts, Michigan 1, Wisconsin 7 and Minnesota 8, all fronting on Lake Superior, were represented by two Democratic committee chairmen and the chairman of an Energy and Commerce subcommittee, with a total of 95 years of seniority.

Wisconsin's David Obey and Michigan's Bart Stupak both chose to retire, and were replaced by Republicans who had started running before their announcements. Minnesota's James Oberstar was upset by retired Northwest Airlines pilot and stay-at-home dad Chip Cravaack.

So here's a new rule for the political scientists: As go the Finns, so goes America.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM