Winners and losers of the 2014 election
The American people have spoken, and the results are almost exactly what I predicted last week here in The Washington Times.
Government so often picks winners and losers at the expense of the people, but on Election Day the people get to pick winners and losers at the expense of the government.
The biggest winner was liberty in America. The American people have had an up-close and personal view of what Marxism in this country really looks like, and they have resoundingly rejected it. This gives us a chance to offer an alternative based on the principles that established American Exceptionalism in the first place. This should be what the 2016 election is about.
Like it or not, this was a huge election cycle for Karl Rove and the GOP establishment. After a disastrous 2012, the GOP establishment rebounded to survive a contentious primary cycle largely unscathed. And then for once, the GOP establishment’s “electable” candidates were actually electable in the general election.
Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee frustrated conservatives for cozying up to now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during his primary battle with Matt Bevin. Mr. Huckabee supported several other establishment incumbents against conservative primary challengers as well. It turns out each man’s political instincts were rewarded because they both backed the winning horse.
Nine months ago, Joni Ernst’s U.S. Senate campaign was going nowhere. Now she’s the woman that provided Republicans the 51st seat they needed to capture the majority in the U.S. Senate. She ran the most memorable ad of the campaign, and despite an unprecedented onslaught by Democrats who consistently warned Iowans how conservative and pro-life she was, she won anyway. Now she’s poised to become a national figure in the GOP quickly. Expect her to be used frequently to deconstruct Hillary Clinton’s attempt to gender-bait in 2016.
“Free the weed” continues to build momentum. Oregon and Washington, D.C. joined Colorado and Washington State in legalizing marijuana. An effort to permit medicinal marijuana in Florida received 58 percent of the vote, falling just short of the 60 percent threshold it needed to pass.
One issue you can expect Democrats to latch onto is raising the minimum wage, which received overwhelming support on the ballot in very conservative states like Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Given how strongly Republicans performed in those places, there’s no way to spin this other than this is a popular issue. Somewhere Rick Santorum is saying “I told you so.”
A Republican establishment who previously couldn’t stand Ted Cruz aggressively sent him across the country down the stretch, in an attempt to buoy its candidates struggling to close the sale with voters in places like Kansas and Georgia. That helped energize the base, which helped Republicans out-perform their poll numbers in those places. For his reward, Mr. Cruz now gets to use the accouterments of a majority as his 2016 presidential campaign playground. Grab the tub-o-corn and a front row seat, because that could be fun. I get the sense sales of antacid tablets in the 202 and 212 area codes are about to soar.
If I’m Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich, I am seriously considering a presidential run now. Mr. Walker has essentially had to win three gubernatorial elections in blue state Wisconsin the past four years, and each time he seems to win by a larger margin than what he had before. Mr. Kasich got over 60 percent statewide in Ohio, a state Republicans have never won the presidency without. It’s doubtful either candidate can galvanize conservatives in the upcoming 2016 primary (Mr. Walker is soft on amnesty and Common Core; Mr. Kasich on Obamacare), but the establishment would be wise to consider them over far less likable options like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.
There is no way to interpret Tuesday’s results as anything other than a complete repudiation of President Obama. In some respects, this was even worse for the president than was 2010. Democrats lost governor’s races in Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Maryland — all states the president won in 2012. The loss in Maryland is particularly embarrassing, because this was the rare state Mr. Obama personally visited down the stretch to help the Democrat candidate. However, as bad as that is, it pales in comparison to the sour symbolism of Democrats losing the governor’s race in Mr. Obama’s home state of Illinois of all places. If the 2014 election could be summed up in one sentence it would be the American people have weighed and measured this president, and he has been found wanting.
Deader than a door nail is the so-called “war on women” meme. Voters drove a stake through its heart on Tuesday, sending not one but two Republican women to the U.S. Senate. Feminist icon Wendy Davis even lost the female vote to Republican Greg Abbott in the Texas gubernatorial race by five points.
Planned Parenthood lost all three races — Colorado, Iowa, and Texas — where it made its macabre message of killing innocent pre-born children on demand a centerpiece of Democrat campaign efforts. In Colorado, Mark Udall earned the nickname “Mark Uterus” for running what amounted to a one-issue campaign on behalf of killing, and he lost. In Iowa, Planned Parenthood ran so many ads telling voters Ms. Ernst was 100 percent pro-life with no exceptions they helped her turn out her base. And in Texas it’s fitting Ms. Davis’ campaign began with her supporters flinging feces at pro-life state legislators. Foreshadowing the foul stench still to come.
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