Recent History.

Matthew Yglesias makes his official election predictions:

This reversion to a balance of political power that leaves Democrats in a stronger position than they were as recently as the 2005-2008 period will be treated by the press as a world-historical shift in favor of the right. Most press figures will probably explicitly note that election results are invariably over-interpreted and then proceed to over-interpret again, arguing that this time it’s different.

I've really been surprised by the historical amnesia on display in this election season, especially since the relevant history is only a few years old, if that. Remember, it was only five years ago that Republicans held the presidency, as well as a majority in the House and Senate. They controlled a majority of governorships, a majority of state houses, and talk of a "permanent Republican majority" was still in the air. Fast forward four years, and Democrats control the presidency, a "filibuster-proof" majority in the Senate, and a 40-vote majority in the House. Republicans could reach their upper bound -- a 60-seat win -- and still not match the size of the Democratic majority in the 111th Congress, to say nothing of the fact that Democrats will still control the White House and the Senate (in all likelihood).

Beyond that, in passing the Affordable Care Act and financial reform, Democrats have further cemented the welfare state; if the past is any indication, Republicans will spend the next generation reacting against gains made during the last two years. This sounds like election "spin," but it's not; a Republican win today won't change the fact that conservatives are fighting a rear-guard action against a successful Democratic president and, policy-wise, a reinvigorated liberalism.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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