Was it a 'landslide"

Rick Moran
It would seem illogical to quibble about words at this point but a good case can be made that the vote yesterday was perhaps not quite the Democratic victory achieved by other presidents.

John Hinderaker:


Obama won around 52 percent of the popular vote, defeating John McCain by between five and six points. That's nothing like the true landslides of the past: Reagan by ten points in 1980 and 18 in 1984; Nixon by 23 in 1972; or even Bush by eight in 1988. And yet, with hindsight, it is remarkable how much Obama had going for him. After breaking his pledge to take public financing he raised more money, by far, than any Presidential candidate in history, outspending McCain nearly two to one. Millions of new voters, many of them minority voters, were registered, and they went heavily for Obama. Obama enjoyed the monolithic support of the entertainment industry and was something of a fad among the young. He benefited greatly from being an African-American; the idea that his victory would be a good thing for America, on that ground, was widespread even among his opponents. He ran largely against a retiring President who, for three years, has rarely seen his name appear in a sentence that did not include the word "unpopular." He had the active support of essentially 100 percent of the nation's news media. And, perhaps most important, he benefited from a financial crisis that struck at the most opportune moment (for him) and was unfairly blamed on the Republicans by most voters.

Despite all of this, Obama mustered only a five-point win.

Something of the same sort happened in Congress. The Democrats were awash with money, outspending their opponents in nearly every contested race. Democratic candidates benefited from the new registrations and the Obama phenomenon. In the Senate, they had easy pickings because the seats that were up this year were overwhelmingly Republican.


Yet here too, the Democrats' results, while positive, were not of the landslide variety. At the moment it appears that they will gain five seats in the Senate and 20 in the House.

John is correct. While no doubt a big win by the Democrats, it is far short of what one might have expected given the host of issues that broke their way.

Obama was not running against an incumbent. With the kind of money he had available to spend plus the wretched nature of the McCain campaign, the Republican should never have won many of the states in play. Instead, Obama eked out extraordinarily narrow victories in states where he spent the equivalent of the GDP of some African countries.

The Senate - where the GOP was defending 23 seats 2 including 2 appointed incumbents - showed an 8 seat pickup (short of Reagan's 12 seat slaughter of Senate Democrats in 1980 where the Dems had 21 seats at risk). And the house featured fully 28 GOP open seats and it appears now the Democrats will underperform there as well.

Obama's coattails were long in some places, short in others. The key here appeared to be the African American vote. And even in states like Georgia and Mississippi where black turnout was unprecedented, GOP senators won.

Yes, a big win for the Democrats. But a landslide mandate? No doubt they will claim as much and the press will aid them in crowing about it. But given all the advantages - including a lackluster candidate that a third of the country saw as too old to be president - shouldn't they have done a lot better?





It would seem illogical to quibble about words at this point but a good case can be made that the vote yesterday was perhaps not quite the Democratic victory achieved by other presidents.

John Hinderaker:


Obama won around 52 percent of the popular vote, defeating John McCain by between five and six points. That's nothing like the true landslides of the past: Reagan by ten points in 1980 and 18 in 1984; Nixon by 23 in 1972; or even Bush by eight in 1988. And yet, with hindsight, it is remarkable how much Obama had going for him. After breaking his pledge to take public financing he raised more money, by far, than any Presidential candidate in history, outspending McCain nearly two to one. Millions of new voters, many of them minority voters, were registered, and they went heavily for Obama. Obama enjoyed the monolithic support of the entertainment industry and was something of a fad among the young. He benefited greatly from being an African-American; the idea that his victory would be a good thing for America, on that ground, was widespread even among his opponents. He ran largely against a retiring President who, for three years, has rarely seen his name appear in a sentence that did not include the word "unpopular." He had the active support of essentially 100 percent of the nation's news media. And, perhaps most important, he benefited from a financial crisis that struck at the most opportune moment (for him) and was unfairly blamed on the Republicans by most voters.

Despite all of this, Obama mustered only a five-point win.

Something of the same sort happened in Congress. The Democrats were awash with money, outspending their opponents in nearly every contested race. Democratic candidates benefited from the new registrations and the Obama phenomenon. In the Senate, they had easy pickings because the seats that were up this year were overwhelmingly Republican.


Yet here too, the Democrats' results, while positive, were not of the landslide variety. At the moment it appears that they will gain five seats in the Senate and 20 in the House.

John is correct. While no doubt a big win by the Democrats, it is far short of what one might have expected given the host of issues that broke their way.

Obama was not running against an incumbent. With the kind of money he had available to spend plus the wretched nature of the McCain campaign, the Republican should never have won many of the states in play. Instead, Obama eked out extraordinarily narrow victories in states where he spent the equivalent of the GDP of some African countries.

The Senate - where the GOP was defending 23 seats 2 including 2 appointed incumbents - showed an 8 seat pickup (short of Reagan's 12 seat slaughter of Senate Democrats in 1980 where the Dems had 21 seats at risk). And the house featured fully 28 GOP open seats and it appears now the Democrats will underperform there as well.

Obama's coattails were long in some places, short in others. The key here appeared to be the African American vote. And even in states like Georgia and Mississippi where black turnout was unprecedented, GOP senators won.

Yes, a big win for the Democrats. But a landslide mandate? No doubt they will claim as much and the press will aid them in crowing about it. But given all the advantages - including a lackluster candidate that a third of the country saw as too old to be president - shouldn't they have done a lot better?