Today's Washington Post has an interesting piece on the failure of wealthy and self-funded candidates to win their elections on Tuesday:
The Center for Responsive Politics calculates that out of 58 candidates who used $500,000 or more of their money on federal races in 2010, fewer than one in five won. Eight of the top 10 self-funders this cycle lost, with only GOP Senate challenger Ron Johnson of Wisconsin ($8.2 million) and House candidate Scott Rigell of Virginia ($2.4 million) emerging victorious.
Damian Palettapoints out clues Obama left in his press conference yesterday on where he might be able to compromise with the new Republican House majority. One of them had to do with congressional earmarks:
Earmarks: Mr. Obama said that this is one area where he could definitely find common ground with certain Republicans. “You know, I’m a strong believer that the earmarking process in Congress isn’t what the American people really want to see when it comes to making tough decisions about how taxpayer dollars are spent,” he said.
As someone pretty invested in an institutional view of politics, I should say that last night's elections show the limits of the approach. If economic performance were the sole predictor of political results, then Sharron Angle should have won the Nevada Senate race without a problem; at 14.4 percent, the state has the highest unemployment rate in the country, and Harry Reid -- with an approval rating in the low thirties -- was practically the He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named of Nevada politics.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick C. Boucher (AP Photo/Bristol Herald Courier, David Crigger)
It's fitting that the first post-election column by an elected Democrat would be from Indiana's lame-duck senator, Evan Bayh, whose calling card is inoffensive, business-friendly centrism. His explanation for Tuesday's Democratic losses -- "Democrats were too liberal" -- is likely to be the standard one going forward, for the simple reason that it's easy. Whenever Democrats suffer an electoral loss, moderates and conservatives flood the nation's op-ed pages with a torrent of editorials blaming the left for the party's losses, declaring that this is a "center-right nation" and that Democrats should have never bothered governing.