Roughly two months ago, we explored the question of whether Republicans were headed for a "wave" election victory in 2014. The results are in, and the verdict is unequivocal: Yes. As of this writing -- in the wee hours of the morning -- Republicans appear poised to win their largest House majority in well over half a century. They have won the United States Senate by a decisive margin, netting eight seats outright, with a ninth almost certainly on the way. They will actually gain a number of governorships -- building on their already-remarkable 30-20 advantage. And they've expanded their dominance of state-level legislative chambers. A comprehensive blowout. There are many things for conservatives to celebrate. An incomplete list, in no particular order:
(1) Senators-elect Cory Gardner, Joni Ernst, and Thom Tillis are all winners of formerly-blue seats in states carried by Barack Obama at least once. Gardner tossed a perfect game in his race, beating Sen. Mark "Uterus" Udall soundly (by six points, with 89 percent of the vote counted). He neutralized the "war on women" nonsense and outperformed among Latinos. The national party should turn Gardner's win into a case study. Joni Ernst dominated Bruce Braley, winning by eight points. Adding insult to injury, Democrats also lost Braley's House seat. These 'precriminations' told the story. And Thom Tillis, who trailed in the polling average for the entire race, came from behind and ousted Kay Hagan.
(2) The last time Republicans defeated more than two incumbent Democratic Senators in one election cycle was 1980. In 2014, they've gotten four (Pryor, Udall, Hagan, Begich), with a fifth -- Mary Landrieu -- looking like a sitting duck. Landrieu garnered just 42 percent of the vote in Louisiana, compared to 55 percent for her two GOP rivals. She will need a miracle to win the December 6 runoff.
(3) The polls were, in fact, skewed. Toward Democrats. Significantly. Mitch McConnell won by 15 points in Kentucky. David Perdue beat Michelle Nunn by 13 points, easily avoiding a run-off. Tom Cotton absolutely destroyed Mark Pryor. Tillis wasn't supposed to win. The polls were way off in all of these races. And, I'm happy to add, the disgusting race-baiting failed.
(4) If the GOP takes Louisiana as expected, and if Maine independent Angus King decides to caucus with Republicans -- which he's reportedly open to doing -- the party will control 55 seats in January. Republicans were at a 60-40 disadvantage in the upper chamber as recently as early 2010. That's a breathtaking turnaround, mirroring Democrats' Senate gains from 2004 to 2008. Question: Might Sen. Joe Manchin be thinking about pulling a Jim Jeffords and switching parties, given what just happened in his state? That would be 56.
(5) Democrats insisted that Obamacare was not a big issue in this campaign. Republicans' campaigns blew that theory out of the water…and then there's this (a tally that doesn't include Begich or Landrieu):
(6) Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has now beaten the Left three times in four years. And each win has built on the last. He beat Mary Burke by nearly seven points in a race that was supposedly "tied" two weeks ago. The Marquette poll nailed it again. Walker has been rewarded by voters for his courageous and successful governance in a state that hasn't been carried by a Republican presidential ticket in decades. And this perspective is just delicious:
So Charlie Crist lost as many races as Scott Walker won in the last four years.— Daniel Ehlers (@DanielEhlers) November 5, 2014
Three Crist losses, with three different parties. Good riddance.
(7) Speaking of governors, that category of races contained the night's most stunning outcomes. I thought a very optimistic projection would be a break-even hold of 30 governorships for the GOP. Nope. They gained ground, losing only Pennsylvania. They held serve in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Maine (!), and Kansas (!!), while picking off Democrat-held governorships in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Maryland (perhaps the biggest shocker of the whole night), and Barack Obama's home state of Illinois. Obama campaigned for the losing candidates in the latter two states. As I write this, Connecticut and Colorado are still too close to call (both trending Dem). Both would be pick-ups for Republicans. The GOP looks like it will occupy at least 33 governor's mansions starting next year, to the Democrats' 17. Weren't Republicans supposed to be a "regional party"? John Kasich won Ohio by more than 30 points. Brian Sandoval's margin in Nevada is just silly. Kudos all around to Chris Christie and the RGA. Oh, and enjoy:
Greg Abbott got nearly a million more votes than Wendy Davis. A million!— Jimmy (@JimmyPrinceton) November 5, 2014
Media darling/Abortion warrior Wendy Davis lost Texas by more than 20 points. Greg Abbott won women by nine points, based on exit polls, and annihilated Davis among white women. Abbott also carried a very respectable chunk of the Hispanic vote. And Davis' State Senate seat has been won by a pro-life conservative woman. Savor that one.
(8) Republicans still have a long way to go in making inroads with minorities and young women -- and they shouldn't over-interpret this 2014 romp as a "false positive" for 2016 -- but several victories are worth highlighting. The conservative voters of South Carolina elected Tim Scott to his first full term as a US Senator by a huge margin. Scott is the first African-American elected to the Senate from a Southern state since Reconstruction. That's uplifting, and it busts some self-serving, race-baiting lefty narratives. In New York, Republican Elise Stefanik became the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives, at age 30. Her race was a blowout. In Utah, Mia Love won a hard-fought victory, becoming the first black female Republican to serve in Congress. In West Virginia, Shelley Moore Capito became the first GOP Senator from her state since the 1950's, and its first woman Senator ever. And Joni Ernst is the first woman to win any Iowa election for governor, US Senate, or the House of Representatives.
(9) Harry Reid has been demoted. And despite the beat-down over which he presided, he will be running for Minority Leader.
(10) Barack Obama, unchastened:
Over to you, Senator Obama:
Sen Obama after '06 Dem takeover: "If Pres Bush is stubborn, refuses to take signals from the election..." http://t.co/OI2LOyuzA7— Morgen (@morgenr) November 5, 2014