NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–This was an historic election. It will be looked upon in the future as an election that changed the political landscape of the country. The House of Representatives was designed by the Founding Fathers to be the most immediately responsive to the will of the people, with every seat up for election every two years, whereas the presidency is up for election every four years and only about one-third of the Senate is up for election every two years.
The Republicans have gained at least 61 seats in the House. It probably will be at least 64 or 65 when the dozen or so currently undecided races are decided. This is the largest shift in the House in a midterm election in nearly a century. It is the greatest shift in any election in the House since the Democrats gained over 70 seats in the 1948 Truman-Dewey presidential election.
As voters went to the polls, half of them said they wanted Obamacare repealed and less than half wanted it kept. Among those who were exit-polled, 54 percent disapproved of the president’s performance and 45 percent approved. The unpopularity of the president was exceeded only by the unpopularity of Congress, with 25 percent approving and 73 percent disapproving of congressional performance.
This was clearly a rejection at a basic level of the president’s economic policies and Obamacare. However, it was not an affirmation of the Republican Party. It was a decision by a majority of the American people to give the Republicans one more chance to cut the size of government, cut government spending and repeal and start over with health-care reform. The Republican establishment in Washington would do well to listen to the 60-plus House freshmen who are coming to Congress straight from the real world.
On the Senate side, the Republicans did better than the average gain in midterm elections, which is 3.3 seats. The Republicans gained at least six, and possibly seven, seats, which would be about double the average. Of the 37 Senate seats up for election, the Republicans won at least 24, which would be about two-thirds of the seats being contested.
However, the most lasting impact of this election will be the Republican wins in governorships and state legislatures. Republicans won the governor’s mansion from Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and half a dozen other states, and carried the state legislatures as well. The impact that this has after the Census this year is difficult to adequately describe.
Political experts will tell you that having the ability to control the redistricting process in states like the ones mentioned above, as well as in Florida and Texas — populace states which Republicans retained and which will gain numerous congressional seats after the Census — is monumental. It could make as much of a difference as 30 seats nationally in the House of Representatives in every election for the next 10 years. The dramatic gains Republicans made in governorships and state legislatures will make it much more difficult for Democrats to regain control of the House of Representatives until at least 2020 and the next Census.
Typical of the change that took place is what happened in Tennessee, where the governorship went from Democratic to Republican by a two-to-one margin, and the congressional delegation went from a 5-4 Democratic edge to a 7-2 Republican majority.
In addition, for the first time since Reconstruction in the 1870s, Tennessee now has a Republican governor and a state Senate and House controlled by the Republican Party. The extent of this seismic shift can be illustrated by the results in the Sixth Congressional District, which was Al Gore’s old House seat. It had been solidly Democratic since well before the Civil War, but Republican Diane Black beat the Democrat 67-29 percent. That’s at least a revolution with a small “r.”
Judicial arrogance also received at least a stiff blow to the solar plexus. In Iowa, where the state Supreme Court imperiously ignored the will of the people and imposed “same-sex marriage” on the populous of that state, the people have responded.
Iowa has retention elections for judges (what a great idea). The people voted “not to retain” the three state Supreme Court justices who were up for a retention vote, with none of the three receiving the majority vote they needed to keep their seats on the court.
As signs at the victory rally declared, “No Activist Judges” and “It’s we the people, not we the courts.” Kudos to the people of Iowa for reminding us that it is government “of the people, by the people, for the people” not “of the judges, by the judges, for the judges.”
In a further exercise of people power, Oklahoma voters forbade judges from considering either international law or Islamic law when deciding cases. The sponsor of the measure called the vote “a preemptive strike” to prevent judicial imperialists from “legislating from the bench or using international law or Sharia law.”
Isn’t democracy a wonderful thing to behold?
Richard Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.