After the November 2 congressional elections in the U.S., Democrats suffered their worst electoral defeat in decades, losing more than 50 seats in the House of Representatives, according to the CBS News.
For the first time in 16 years, Democrats were in control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. After the elections, Republicans celebrated their victory and vowed to exercise their new power in Congress to roll back some of President Barack Obama’s key accomplishments.
According to Reuters, Obama called the result “a shellacking” and told a White House news conference the solutions demanded by frustrated Americans would be hard to find. “I’m not suggesting this will be easy,” he said. “The overwhelming message that I hear from the voters is that we want everybody to act responsibly in Washington, we want you to work harder to arrive at consensus.”
Obama said he felt “sadness” at the loss of so many Democrats who had taken tough votes to back the healthcare overhaul, economic stimulus package and other initiatives.
“It’s hard, and I take responsibility for it in a lot of ways,” he said. “There is also a lot of questioning on my part in terms of, ‘could I have done something differently or done something more so that those folks would still be here?’”
But something seen as a disaster for the Democrats now can, in fact, be just a temporary difficulty.
In December 2009, James Pethokoukis, the Money & Politics columnist for Reuters Breakingviews, wrote in his article, Why the democrats will lose the House in 2010, that the trend was not the Democrats’ friend. “The party of the sitting president almost always suffers losses in midterm congressional elections. To that time-tested dynamic now add voter anger about high unemployment, big deficits and controversial legislation. Expect Senate majority leader Harry Reid to lose his effective 60-seat supermajority and Nancy Pelosi to hand the House back to the Republicans,” he wrote.
“Most of the losses were predicted by structural factors, but not all of them. Democrats lost at least 15 more seats than the basic model would’ve predicted, and though you can try and explain that away (they were holding seats because of a demographically unique election in 2008, or the model doesn’t account for extreme economic conditions), it’s not really worth doing: Democrats lost a lot of seats. Even more than the economic conditions would’ve predicted. The question, of course, is why. And the basic answer is that Republican groups came out to vote and Democratic groups didn’t… the most important question isn’t what they could’ve done to make more Americans like them, but what they could’ve done to get more young voters to the polls,” Ezra Klein wrote in an article to the Washington Post.
“The American voter needs to grow up a little and stop looking at Obama or anyone else as a Messiah who can save them, but rather as a person who works. Obama said that he would bring about change and the Republicans are shouting now because he did and they don’t like his health legislation. He came into a government heavily burdened with a huge budget deficit. He passed incentives, and everyone says that helps; the question is whether it helped enough, and one of the reasons it didn’t is that the Republicans wouldn’t agree to even greater incentives. The Republicans are being a little hypocritical about this. America was on verge of a Great Depression like that of the 1920s, and it didn’t happen because of the incentives,” Sheldon Schorer of the Israeli branch of the American Democratic Party said in an interview to the Haaretz.
According to the National Public Radio, three times in the past century, a sitting president’s party has lost its majority in at least one house of Congress. And all three times, the president went on to win re-election — Harry Truman in 1948, Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 and Bill Clinton in 1996.