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Four More Lessons from the GOP Landslide

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A few more items to add to the list we drew up while the balloons were still falling early Wednesday morning: 

Christine O’Donnell was even less electable than Alvin Greene. Despite never actually campaigning and displaying even more bizarre behavior than O'Donnell, the South Carolina Democrat outdrew the Delaware Republican by 358,276 to 123,025 -- a margin of 235,000 votes. (For that matter, Greene also earned more votes than Sharron Angle, who collected 320,996 while losing to Harry Reid in Nevada.) But South Carolina’s a bigger state, you say. But this was Alvin Greene! would be our response.

California’s big GOP candidates were even less popular than legalized pot. Yes, Prop 19 went down to defeat -- but final returns show that the 3,423,145 votes it drew made it more popular than Meg Whitman (3,102,646) and Carly Fiorina (3,170,287), both of whom spent a lot more money for the privilege of losing.

The biggest loss for Democrats may not have come in the House. Here’s a bit of unfavorable math for those hoping the Republican’s new House majority will prove short-lived: By picking up 680 state legislative seats across the country, the GOP is now positioned to completely control the redistricting process for 190 congressional districts. Depending on how much those district lines are gerrymandered, future elections could be fought out on ground that is less favorable Democrats, giving Republicans a built-in edge while they try to defend this cycle’s gains in 2012.

Bucking Obama on health care reform wasn’t enough to save Democrats. In all, 34 Democratic congressmen voted against the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, 21 of them lost anyway. A similar thing happened with the House’s climate change bill: 44 Democrats voted against it, and 28 of them were then voted out of office. That doesn’t mean the midterms were not a repudiation of Obama’s agenda, as Republicans some pundits have claimed. But it’s certainly another piece of evidence that voters this cycle were not especially concerned with the details, as Ron Johnson, the senator-elect soon to occupy Russ Feingold’s seat, noted during his campaign.

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