Fun, Frolic, and Midterms

When your team looks to do well in the playoffs, it's time to head down to the big-box store to buy a big-screen HDTV. But what do you do when your party looks to wipe the floor in the midterms?

The question is: When the results start rolling, how will the election rate against the Best All-time Midterms? Obviously there will be one helpful measurement. The MSM anchors will not be smiling too much on November 2, 2010.

But here's a better way to go. Dial up usmidtermelections.com and check the stats. It's got a table of all the U.S. midterm elections going back to the first midterm in 1790.

Want to know the worst result ever for the Democrats? Click here, and usmidtermelections.com will show the midterm elections ranked by the worst Democratic results ever. Here's a screenshot of the results. (Note: if you click a column heading, you will get a reorder of the results.)



You can see that the worst Democratic outing was the 1894 midterms; the Democrats lost 112 seats. The election occurred in the aftermath of the Panic of 1893, and Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was president. 

The next-worst result for Democrats was 1854. That was the year Senator Stephen Douglas (D-IL) pushed through the Kansas-Nebraska Act. His brilliant idea was to give the voters of Kansas and Nebraska the right to decide whether they wanted slavery or not. The voters didn't think his idea was so brilliant, and the Democrats lost 76 seats that year.

Notice that the 76-seat loss represented almost half of the Democratic strength prior to the election. There were only 234 seats in the U.S. House in 1854.

You might think that 1854 was a banner year for Republicans. So it was, in a way. The Republicans gained 37 seats, which is not so great unless you know the context. The 37-seat gain was from zero. Yes, the Republican Party got its start in 1854 due to grassroots revulsion with the Kansas-Nebraska Act. It was built out of a dispersal draft of the Whigs, a party that couldn't decide if it was antislavery.

That's the beauty of usmidtermelections.com. It tips you off to the pivotal years in U.S. politics. The story goes like this.

Every now and again, one of the political parties completely misjudges the will of the American people. Its leaders pass unpopular bills and confidently predict that the American people will like them once they find out what is in them. A few months pass by, and it looks like their party is going to take a drubbing in the polls. No problem, the experts say. This is not 1994, when the Republican surge took us by surprise. Oh, by the way, they add, did you know that the opposition party is running a bunch of extremist wackos and is taking money from evil foreigners?

Let's look at the midterm election results with the best Republican results at the top.



You can see that 1894 still rates #1. But the next-best result is now 1938, the year that Americans gave up on the New Deal after it had given them a recession in the middle of the Great Depression. Then comes 1914. That was the year that the Republicans got over the 1912 split between Theodore Roosevelt and President William Howard Taft. The glorious Gingrich election of 1994 is only the fifth-best. 

You can see that the Sunday forecast from realclearpolitics.com for a 53-seat Republican pickup in the November 2 election is not exactly record-breaking stuff.  But I am not discouraged. In my view, everyone is low-balling his or her prediction. If you are a Democrat, you don't want to discourage the troops.  If you are a Republican you don't want your troops to get cocky. If you are a pollster, you don't want to look reckless.

My fearless forecast is an eighty-seat GOP pickup, and why not? I'm not a party operative, and I'm not a pollster. Here's my thinking. This is not 1994, when moderate voters wanted to punish Clinton for tax increases and HillaryCare, and Republican voters were returning to work after the 1992 strike against the elder Bush's tax increases. Remember? Unemployment was 5.6 percent. This is not 1914, when Republican voters were reuniting after a mammoth split. It is not 1894 and a monster depression with real hardship. No, this is more like 1938, when American voters were reacting against a president who had seriously under-delivered and been sold to them as a lightworker. In 1938, Republicans gained 81 seats in the House.

I know what you are thinking. Eighty seats. Wouldn't that be fun!

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.
When your team looks to do well in the playoffs, it's time to head down to the big-box store to buy a big-screen HDTV. But what do you do when your party looks to wipe the floor in the midterms?

The question is: When the results start rolling, how will the election rate against the Best All-time Midterms? Obviously there will be one helpful measurement. The MSM anchors will not be smiling too much on November 2, 2010.

But here's a better way to go. Dial up usmidtermelections.com and check the stats. It's got a table of all the U.S. midterm elections going back to the first midterm in 1790.

Want to know the worst result ever for the Democrats? Click here, and usmidtermelections.com will show the midterm elections ranked by the worst Democratic results ever. Here's a screenshot of the results. (Note: if you click a column heading, you will get a reorder of the results.)



You can see that the worst Democratic outing was the 1894 midterms; the Democrats lost 112 seats. The election occurred in the aftermath of the Panic of 1893, and Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was president. 

The next-worst result for Democrats was 1854. That was the year Senator Stephen Douglas (D-IL) pushed through the Kansas-Nebraska Act. His brilliant idea was to give the voters of Kansas and Nebraska the right to decide whether they wanted slavery or not. The voters didn't think his idea was so brilliant, and the Democrats lost 76 seats that year.

Notice that the 76-seat loss represented almost half of the Democratic strength prior to the election. There were only 234 seats in the U.S. House in 1854.

You might think that 1854 was a banner year for Republicans. So it was, in a way. The Republicans gained 37 seats, which is not so great unless you know the context. The 37-seat gain was from zero. Yes, the Republican Party got its start in 1854 due to grassroots revulsion with the Kansas-Nebraska Act. It was built out of a dispersal draft of the Whigs, a party that couldn't decide if it was antislavery.

That's the beauty of usmidtermelections.com. It tips you off to the pivotal years in U.S. politics. The story goes like this.

Every now and again, one of the political parties completely misjudges the will of the American people. Its leaders pass unpopular bills and confidently predict that the American people will like them once they find out what is in them. A few months pass by, and it looks like their party is going to take a drubbing in the polls. No problem, the experts say. This is not 1994, when the Republican surge took us by surprise. Oh, by the way, they add, did you know that the opposition party is running a bunch of extremist wackos and is taking money from evil foreigners?

Let's look at the midterm election results with the best Republican results at the top.



You can see that 1894 still rates #1. But the next-best result is now 1938, the year that Americans gave up on the New Deal after it had given them a recession in the middle of the Great Depression. Then comes 1914. That was the year that the Republicans got over the 1912 split between Theodore Roosevelt and President William Howard Taft. The glorious Gingrich election of 1994 is only the fifth-best. 

You can see that the Sunday forecast from realclearpolitics.com for a 53-seat Republican pickup in the November 2 election is not exactly record-breaking stuff.  But I am not discouraged. In my view, everyone is low-balling his or her prediction. If you are a Democrat, you don't want to discourage the troops.  If you are a Republican you don't want your troops to get cocky. If you are a pollster, you don't want to look reckless.

My fearless forecast is an eighty-seat GOP pickup, and why not? I'm not a party operative, and I'm not a pollster. Here's my thinking. This is not 1994, when moderate voters wanted to punish Clinton for tax increases and HillaryCare, and Republican voters were returning to work after the 1992 strike against the elder Bush's tax increases. Remember? Unemployment was 5.6 percent. This is not 1914, when Republican voters were reuniting after a mammoth split. It is not 1894 and a monster depression with real hardship. No, this is more like 1938, when American voters were reacting against a president who had seriously under-delivered and been sold to them as a lightworker. In 1938, Republicans gained 81 seats in the House.

I know what you are thinking. Eighty seats. Wouldn't that be fun!

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.

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