For the most part I keep this blog free of my politics, except as my broad political philosophy shapes my opinion on the topics discussed here - which is quite a bit.
But I have made a long term tradition of putting out my US election forecasts and commentary, originally as an email. Now that I have a blog I hijack it. The nearly half of you who come from elsewhere can skip this without perceptible loss; in fact so can my fellow 'Murricans. But I actually invite you to stick around; some global perspective would be interesting in comments.
I am a yellow dog Democrat, and we're gonna take a shellackin' tomorrow night.
This is the least of surprises. The country has a nasty economic hangover, and who is the electorate going to take it out on but the party in power? (I could say a word or two about the Bundesbank, for whom every year is 1924, but they aren't on the US ballot.) I think the argument that Obama's policies helped keep us from going over a cliff is valid, but it is not a vote getter.
House of Representatives - net Dem loss 56 seats, GOP takeover
House Democrats will bear the brunt of it. My call is thoroughly middle of the road, and leaves the next House with 235 Republicans and 200 Democrats, an 18 point GOP margin. Some of those Republicans are convincing evidence of interstellar travel, but they will be shuffled off to the remoter reaches of C-Span and YouTube, and the GOP House will focus on keeping the legislative branch tied up in knots, which is both easy and effective for them.
Senate - net Dem loss 6 seats, Dems retain majority
Senate Democrats will also take a drubbing, but will probably keep the majority, not that narrow Senate majorities are good for a whole lot, especially when the other party has the House.
Sorry, Harry Reid. He may be remembered as a very effective Majority Leader, but Nevada is a stranded space colony, and the colonists will send the Imperial governor out the airlock. I won't be so sorry about Feingold; a bit self righteous and a bit of a showhorse were a bit too much.
He is not on the ballot, but will take a media beating in the short run. This is irrelevant to his political fate. Barring the unforeseen, meaning mainly a crisis abroad, that will depend on what happens to the US economy over the next two years. Adam Smith's animal spirits did not come across for him and the Dems this year, but I would not bet against them two years from now.
I know the economic conventional wisdom is that a sluggish economy will persist for years, but the ECW usually just mirrors the recent past. In some alternate world we will turn away from consumption and austerity will become a way of life. This is the same alternate world where 9/11 made Americans serious and thoughful about foreign policy.
In the real world we are 'Murricans. We like to buy stuff. We have had to put it off because some of us lost jobs and more found out their homes weren't piggy banks after all (or found they were broken ones). We will start buying stuff again. So the economy will probably pick up enough for Obama to claim credit in 2012, whether he deserves it or not. In the meanwhile he will discover the world, because that is what presidents do when they can't get anything through Congress.
The Golden State is apparently on a different planet in this election from the rest of the US, and politically a much more habitable one. This in spite of the fact that the Great Recession hit harder here than in most places, and a dozen lost colonies' worth of abandoned housing developments.
Perhaps that is because the face of the GOP in California is Arnold Schwarzeneggar, who as it turned out was not only no Terminator, but also no Ronald Reagan. As it looks now, Barbara Boxer will be re-elected Senator, but at least to me the big story will be the second coming of Jerry Brown, who I voted for in the 1970s and have already voted for again.
And on the footnotes of politics front I will go out on a bud, as it were, and venture that Proposition 19 will pass, making personal possession of marijuana legal under state law.
The image of the Acropolis comes from a collection of travel photos.