Laboratories of Democracy: the rise of one-party control of state governments provide clear contrasts in what works

As usual, Michael Brown writes an interesting piece about America’s “laboratories of democracy.  One of the strengths of our Republic is the division of individual states with their respective sovereignty. Much like our economic system, built on underlying free-market and competition, these individual states are free to govern themselves and compete outside the direct control from Washington (well…for the most part). The results should be instructive.

First, we are starting to see the intraparty disputes, where factions within either political establishment are challenged. Second, we are seeing the overall product of either Democratic, or Republican rule.

For the national public, one-party Democratic and one-party Republican states provide a look at how each party governs — and the results.

In California, voters just gave Democrats two-thirds majorities in both houses and a tax increase, as well. We’ll see if their policies help California reduce its dismally high unemployment and resolve its enormous pension underfunding.

In Illinois, Democrats won again, despite increasing the state income tax from 3 to 5 percent in 2011, after which the state’s unemployment rate went up, while declining in neighboring states. Democrat Michael Madigan has been speaker of the Illinois House for 28 of the last 30 years.

Many Republican governors and legislatures have gone in another direction, holding down spending increases and seeking to cut taxes or hold rates even, rather than raise them.

Texas’ low taxes (no income tax) and light regulation have been followed by some of the most robust job creation in the nation. Texas’ population grew so rapidly in the last decade that it gained 4 U.S. House seats from the 2010 Census.

No-income-tax Florida gained two seats, and no other state gained more than one. California, for the first time in its history, gained none.

States are laboratories of democracy, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote. Citizens of every state can monitor their experiments and judge which set of one-party states is getting better results.

Bill O’Reilly echoed this sentiment on his show:

Michael Barone explains why so many pundits (including himself) misjudged the election

As usual, Keith Backer at the Battleground Watch blog has some really good information about the election.  (If you don’t frequent his blog, and you’re an enthusiastic election follower, then I would recommend checking it out.)

Strassel: The GOP Turnout Myth

A good piece in the Wall Street Journal digs deeper into the conventional wisdom regarding Romney’s loss. As it turns out, Romney’s turnout problems may have been worse than people previously thought. Sure, we know that he garnered about the same or less than McCain did in 2008. What we’re starting to see as the numbers are finalized throughout the country, is how poor he did amongst Hispanics. Obama did worse than 2008, but Gov. Romney failed to capitalize on the downturn. Obviously, there are many reasons for this. It’s the exception, not the rule, that one particular issue or gaffe (such as the famed comment made about the 47%).

What we are seeing is that the GOP needs to make a consistent and concerted effort to reach out to those groups who appear hesitant towards the conservative message.

This is the demographic argument that is getting so much attention, and properly so. The Republican Party can hope that a future Democratic candidate won’t equal Mr. Obama’s magnetism for minority voters. But the GOP would do far better by fighting aggressively for a piece of the minority electorate.

And that, for the record, was the GOP’s real 2012 turnout disaster. Elections are about the candidate and the message, yes, but also about the ground game. Republicans right now are fretting about Mr. Romney’s failures and the party’s immigration platform—that’s fair enough. But equally important has been the party’s mind-boggling failure to institute a competitive Hispanic ground game. The GOP doesn’t campaign in those communities, doesn’t register voters there, doesn’t knock on doors. So while pre-election polling showed that Hispanics were worried about Obama policies, in the end the only campaign that these voters heard from—by email, at their door, on the phone—was the president’s.

Often missed in talk of the GOP’s “demographics problem” is that it would take relatively modest minority-voter shifts toward Republicans to return the party to a dominating force. The GOP might see that as the enormous opportunity it is, rather than a problem. The key to winning turnout is having more people to turn out in the first place.

407,000 votes in four key states made the difference for Obama

Jim Geraghty from the National Review takes a closer look at the numbers and uncovers some surprising statistics.  According to his analysis, the four key swing states which would have delivered victory for Team Romney were agonizingly close:

Florida: 73,858

Ohio: 103,481

Virginia: 115,910

Colorado: 113,099

Those four states, with a collective margin of, 406,348 for Obama, add up to 69 electoral votes. Had Romney won 407,000 or so additional votes in the right proportion in those states, he would have 275 electoral votes.

This shows in no uncertain terms, that this election was extremely close, and that President Obama appears to NOT have quite the mandate he thinks he has.  (Hat tip to Battleground Watch for the lead.)

Why Romney Is Likely to Win

Morning Jay: Why Romney Is Likely to Win | The Weekly Standard.

Jay Cost argues that there are two main signs that Obama is an inevitable loser next week:

(1) Independent support (by a wide margin) Romney over Obama; and

(2) Romney leads on the important issue of the economy.

Romney’s momentum is ongoing

The National Journal writes how Obama’s efforts to push early-voting as a backstop to his inevitable challenge on election day:

Hey, remember how the Obama campaign’s fantastic get-out-the-vote operation was going to create this impregnable firewall of key swing states, and run up such an enormous advantage in the early vote that Romney would never be able to make up the difference?

First interesting indicator of the morning from early voting: I mentioned Tuesday that early voting in Cuyahoga County, Ohio – the Democrat vote stronghold that includes Cleveland – slipped behind the pace of 2008 after running ahead for the first twenty-eight days of early voting or so. (We don’t know how these early voters are voting, but Obama won this county 69 percent to 30 percent last time around, so we can presume he’s leading this cycle on a somewhat comparable rate.) Well, the early vote collapsed Tuesday and Wednesday. Of course, a big chunk of that dropoff is from the remains of Hurricane Sandy dumping snow and wind and miserable weather on the Cleveland area. But if we see early voting continue to be slow in these final days, it will be a bit of evidence that the Democrats get-out-the-early vote effort in Ohio isn’t really expanding their total share of the vote; they’re just getting their traditional Election-Day-voters to vote earlier.

Republicans are also growing in confidence that a Romney victory is not only a possibility, it’s becoming a probatility:

Republicans have never been more confident that President Obama will lose re-election, according to the latest National Journal Insiders Poll, but Democratic conviction their party’s leader will earn a second term still hasn’t wavered.

On average, GOP insiders polled by National Journal gave Obama slightly less than even odds he’ll occupy the White House another four years. The 4.6 average score – based on a 1 (no chance at re-election) to 10 (virtual certainty) scale — was a precipitous drop since the last Insiders Poll, a late September survey in which Republicans pegged the score at 5.8. That poll was taken before the first presidential debate in early October, after which Mitt Romney‘s support surged. In April, Republican Insiders rated Obama at exactly even odds.

 

George Will: Obama’s empty, strident campaign – The Washington Post

George Will: Obama’s empty, strident campaign – The Washington Post.

If you were looking for more evidence of a collapsing campaign, take a look at George Will’s latest column in the Washington Post.  We’ve all noticed that as the picture becomes clearer about Obama’s dire prospects in a few days (yes…it’s a few days folks), his campaign has grown more crazed and desperate.  If you watched some of the earlier interviews with some of his surrogates (i.e. Stephanie Cutter) you’d see a nervous energy start to permeate their media interactions.

Fighting in blue states is a good sign for Romney – Right Turn – The Washington Post

Fighting in blue states is a good sign for Romney – Right Turn – The Washington Post.

Romney’s momentum accelerating

James Pethokoukis writes that Mitt Romney may be cruising to a “decisive victory” on Election Day. Fox News also has had a few videos of the latest take on the race out of Ohio.

New Projection: Romney 52, Obama 47

The Weekly Standard is predicting a Romney victory of 52 to 47%.