The first takeaway for me is the spine of Scott Walker. For the Left, having an extreme right-wing extremist in the governor’s mansion is a click worse for them than a Jewish lesbian as mayor of Mecca would be for Muslims. Wisconsin is the spiritual home of the Left. For instance, as soon as Obama became the leader of the Cult, his first act was to go to Madison and give a speech to the faithful. Walker’s success is a sin against nature in the minds of the faithful.
The lesson to be drawn from Walker’s success is two-fold. One is that no state is majority Liberal. Liberal states have a lot of fanatics, but they are not a majority. They are just better organized and perhaps more fanatical. The majority in any state will be sensible people. Walker’s appeal is based on responsible government. That’s why he has succeeded in a place thought terminally hostile to common sense.
The second part of this is that Walker never just made the economic argument. He connected his policies with people’s sense of decency and fairness. Public sector unions are expensive and unnecessary. Walker made the connection between bad product and the unions. You can sell better and you can sell cheaper. Better and cheaper sells itself. That’s why a mundane guy like Walker can withstand the best the Left can throw at a man and still win.
Another takeaway is at the other end of the scale. Scott Brown managed to lose to a wretched old bag in a state generally amenable to moderate Republicans. He suffered from one unfixable problem and that is the fact he is an outsider. New Hampshire is a funny state. A lot of voters there would have a tough time voting for a Masshole, regardless of his opponent. Granite Staters are an ornery bunch. There was simply no way Brown could explain away the fact he just moved to New Hampshire.
His bigger problem was self-inflicted. Brown had nothing to sell. Conservative Inc is always prattling on about electability, but one part of electability is having a reason to run. The Karl Rove approach of never uttering a discouraging word or taking a difficult stand, results in bowls full of mush like Brown. Brown should have picked a couple if issues and pounded those relentlessly. The voters who saw him as a carpetbagger would at least have had second thoughts about voting against the Masshole. Instead Brown played it safe and is now looking for work.
The other thing interesting thing is what went on in Maryland. In fifty years the state has had a Republican in the governor’s mansion for six years. The Democrat running this time is the Lt. Governor and backed by the full party and had Obama in to stump for him. He’s also black, running in a state that is the fourth blackest in the nation. His opponent was a guy no one knew until yesterday. Larry Hogan is still an unknown to most voters. His victory is due entirely to the fact he is not crazy.
The other unique thing about Maryland is it has a large black middle-class that is suburban. The collapse of Baltimore and Washington first led to white flight and then to black flight. Those black people living in the burbs enjoying middle-class life are finding it hard to keep it real when it means tax hikes and a tough economy. All around the country black turnout was down. More frightening if you are a Democrat is 10% of those who did vote voted Republican. In Maryland, the share was most certainly higher.
Finally, and this is for the optimists, this may signal the end of the Left as we know it. In the 60’s and 70’s, Liberalism ate itself. In 1980 Reagan ran against Liberalism. He turned it into an epithet. The Left did not fold up; they simply hid out in the Democratic Party, which still had loads of normals and even a fair chunk of conservatives. Mass media was dominated by Liberals willing to run interference for their coreligionists in office. Liberal pols could talk one way at home, but be pure moonbat in DC and no one was the wiser.
That’s not what we see today. For the first time in our history we have a purely ideological party. If you run as a Democrat, you are a Liberal. There’s no party to give the Cult cover because the party is the Cult and the Cult is the party. If the people are turning on Liberals, it will bring down the Democratic Party, unless they shed the Cult, which is unlikely. Maps like this one and the fact that the Democrats control very few state houses now, suggest the Democrats are about to become a fringe party, based in a few coastal cities.