Quantcast

Election 2009: What Really Changed? | The Nation

  •  

The Notion

Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

Election 2009: What Really Changed?

So the tide turned Tuesday on Democrats, liberals, Obama, the left. Republicans are "energized," The New York Times reports today, their elation marred only by the prospect of an inter-party feud that could cost them winnable races in 2010.

So the conventional wisdom asserts. Intelligent conservatives know better. One of them is Andrew Pavelyev, who, over at David Frum's blog, parsed the results of Tuesday's election in a strangely overlooked state: North Carolina.

As everyone knows, Barack Obama narrowly won North Carolina a year ago. As most people agree, Republicans must win it back to defeat him in 2012. So what happened on Tuesday? As Pevelyev observed, Republican Bill Knight won the mayoral race in Greensboro, defeating the incumbent Democrat. "Unfortunately," he went on to note, "Greensboro will now be the only North Carolina city with a population over 100,000 that has a Republican mayor. After an unbroken 22yearstring of Republican mayors, Charlotte yesterday elected a Democrat, Anthony Foxx. The Democrats also won 8 out of 11 seats on the city council."

Democrats may indeed fare badly in 2010, but, if so, it will surely not be because most Americans in North Carolina and beyond suddenly experienced a change of heart about the party that brought them George W. Bush (and that may yet bring them Sarah Palin). Two weeks ago, a CNN poll showed that the GOP has fallen to its lowest approval rating in a decade. Just 36 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party, compared to 54 percent with an unfavorable view.

The numbers are basically the reverse for Democrats, whose main problem is mustering the will to deliver something tangible (jobs, affordable health-care) to the voters who elected them a year ago. If they don't, they will surely lose some races in 2010, and perhaps two years later as well. And they will have themselves to blame for this.

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.