Socialists in historic French electoral victory: What does it mean?
Ordinarily I wouldn't trouble you with such mundane political news from abroad, although it should be said that conservatives have controlled the upper chamber in France since 1958.
What this illustrates is that for the next decade, at least, we are going to see these wild swings in voter sentiment as democratic peoples cast about for someone - anyone - to solve the mess we're in.
There is a chance that the Democrats will win back control of the House in 2012. AT Political Correspondent Rich Baehr will tell you that at this point, it is a slim one. But a lot of those freshman GOP House members were elected in a rising tide in largely Democratic districts. The natural equilibrium once re-established will knock many of them off. Coupled with the usual number of open seats due to death and retirement, and the possibility of a House flip is there.
This at a time when the GOP has an extremely good chance to take the senate!And we are seeing the same thing happen in Europe. Those on the "outs" in politics look pretty darn good to voters when those in power are failing them.
What does it mean? Volatility squared. With anti-government sentiment at an all-time high, the next few years will be deadly for incumbents. And leaders like Sarkozy and Obama - once beloved or, at least, popular - may find themselves victims of the whipsaw emotions of electorates who are scared, in some cases desperate, and in all cases dissatisfied with politics as usual.
A casualty of this in Europe may be the EU - or, at least, the EU as we know it. In America, it is possible we will see a succession of one term presidents and a flip of one chamber or the other every two years. Leaders who can offer steady, rational leadership and who tell the people the truth about our predicament may do better than those who blame others for their failures and come up with gimmicky solutions.
But given the depth and breadth of our economic problems, it is likely that this volatility will continue until people start feeling more secure in their jobs and their pensions.