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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Essays on 2010

The Forum has a special issue on the 2010 elections.

It includes an article by Epic Journey coauthor Andrew E. Busch: "The 2010 Midterm Elections: an Overview." From the abstract:

This paper addresses three key questions related to the midterm elections of 2010: What happened? Why? And what difference does it make? Republicans made historic gains in the U.S. House and in state elections while making strong gains in the U.S. Senate. They benefited from an economic and issue environment that strongly favored them; in the House they also benefited from the overexposure of Democrats. Republican Senate gains were limited partly because Democrats were not overexposed there and partly due to factors specific to individual races, particularly candidate quality. A number of key demographics moved against Democrats, and the elections were marked by the emergence of a new popular movement in the form of the Tea Party which helped mobilize Republicans and conservative independents. The election results are best understood as a repudiation of Democratic rule, though a simple economic explanation is not sufficient. The long-term importance of the 2010 elections will depend on the interaction of important contingencies with the underlying alignment of the electorate, the character of which remains uncertain.

Zachary Courser of Claremont McKenna College writes of "The Tea Party at the Election." From the conclusion:

If those Tea Party supporters who voted Republican in 2010 are disappointed at the results they observe, they should consider embracing political association and letting go of independence as a political creed. Rather than reading Saul Alinsky, the political observations of Alexis de Tocqueville would be of greater use. Tocqueville observed that "in democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all others," and commented on how Americans in the 1830s were unusually good at combining to effect political change:

As soon as several Americans have conceived a sentiment or an idea that they want to produce before the world, they seek each other out, and when found, they unite. Thenceforth they are no longer isolated individuals, but a power conspicuous from the distance whose actions serve as an example; when it speaks, men listen.