Our State Government Victory
By Bruce Walker
November 19, 2012
Few of us, I am sure, feel hopeful this week. Obama not only won re-election, but he did better than we feared he might. Democrats not only held on to the Senate, but gained a couple of seats. Republicans held the House of Representatives but lost seats. In the Senate races, very dumb comments by our candidates in Missouri and Indiana caused net Senate losses. In House races, although losing seats is not good, maintaining control is very important, and Republicans have enough votes to comfortably control the House through the next election.
What about the presidential race? Candy Crowley's profoundly dishonest "correction" of Romney during the debate, Chris Christie's inexplicably dumb embrace of Obama before the election, and the distraction of Sandy all incrementally affected the presidential voting. The massive support of the leftist establishment media, of course, was the key ingredient.
Republicans have enough votes to filibuster any Obama proposals in the Senate and to vote down any Obama proposals in the House. Moreover, the dynamics of the second midterm election -- the 2014 election -- will make Republicans bolder in opposing Obama. Republicans should gain seats in the House and, because there are a lot more Democrats than Republican Senate seats up in 2014, Republicans should gain Senate seats as well.
Moreover, Obama owns all our national problems, although he has no clue about how to make things better. The nation is going to grow poorer and our social problems greater in the two years before Obama's party must once again face the voters. But that does not mean all of the nation will be declining in the same way. Some parts of America may be in reasonably good shape, while other parts of America sink into third-world levels.
That is why the Republican success in state government elections in 2012 is so important. The National Conference of State Legislatures has maps which show the change clearly. This map shows Republican and Democrat control of state governments after the 2010 election. Compare that map with this map, which shows Republican and Democrat control of state government after the 2012 election.
Given the net gain of a couple of governorships by Republicans and the fact that in a number of state legislature chambers, Republicans actually gained seats, it's clear that Republicans have more muscle in state governments now than after the 2010 election. The domination in the South is complete: out of the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, Republicans are one vote short -- the Virginia Senate is tied -- from controlling every one of the 22 legislative chambers and of every governorship but Arkansas.
What does that mean? It means that Republicans can pass right-to-work laws in a number of states which currently have fat, lazy leftist unions. In Michigan, for example, not only did Republicans hold both houses of the state legislature, but two state questions, Proposition 2 and Proposition 4, which would have strengthened collective bargaining rights, went down by huge margins.
Remember how Democrats in Wisconsin recaptured the Wisconsin State Senate in the recall a few months ago? Well, Wisconsin Republicans gained three seats and control in the Wisconsin Senate while maintaining comfortably control of the Wisconsin House. Indiana passed a right-to-work law after the 2010 election, and big labor threatened revenge. What happened on Election Night 2012?
Republicans won an open governorship and gained a whopping ten seats in the Indiana State House of Representatives, maintaining comfortable control of both legislative chambers. Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin do not have right-to-work laws, but Republicans control state government in each of those states. Why not follow Indiana and end forced unionism?
The ratification of Republican control of state governments throughout much of the nation gives Republicans the chance to draw stark contrasts between Republican governance and Democrat governance. Already, Republican governors can tout the fact that unemployment is significantly lower in the states they govern. High taxes, rogue unions, terrible public schools, and lush welfare systems push productive citizens and successful businesses to leave Democrat-run states and move to Republican-run states, which are much friendlier.
What can Democrats do to stem this tide, this "voting with their feet," as it used to be called when refugees from communist nations left their homelands for the West? Nothing. Obama, with much more constricted power than he had in 2009, can do little to help Democrat states or to hurt Republican states. The leftist establishment media likewise can do nothing to affect state governments, as the utterly failed efforts in Wisconsin in 2010, in Prosser's judicial election, in Walker's recall election, and in the Republican gains in both legislative chambers of Wisconsin demonstrate.
We lost the federal election in 2012, but we won the state government elections. Our state government victory can mean a great deal -- if we have the wisdom and courage to use this power to show the real difference between the Party of Obama and the Party of Liberty.
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.