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Conventional wisdom believed, and repeatedly told us, that the Republicans would take over Congress because:
• The president is unpopular
• Midterm elections are historically a vote against the incumbent
• Certain Democratic constituencies (youth, Latinos) don't vote in midterm elections
• And 21 of the 36 contested Senate seats were held by Democrats, giving them a lot more to lose
But at the same time it was written that 2016 will be different. This is because:
• The GOP will have to defend two years of running Congress and screwing up
• Republicans are out of touch with America
• A fresh face will head the Democratic ticket
• Those same constituencies will vote en masse
• And 24 of the contested 34 Senate seats will be held by Republicans
It is never too soon to look down the road ahead and point out that it leads nowhere. The Tuesday Tribune, the edition reporting the sweeping Republican victory, carried a story headlined "Big wins, but big worries for GOP." The story quoted Republican senator Rand Paul asserting, "The Republican Party brand sucks. . . .The problem is the perception that no one in the Republican Party cares." A pollster was quoted as saying that "no major party has ever been as unpopular in the history of polling as the Republican Party is." Another poll, conducted just before the election, found "that barely 1 in 4 voters thought Republican control of Congress would make the country better."
So losers, console yourselves. In two years you'll be back on top. Of course, the 2018 midterms don't look so good.