Still “50-50 nation”?

The unemployment rate has jumped to 10.2 percent according to figures released today, three days after the 2009 election. This is the highest rate in 26 years. It is also almost exactly one-third higher than the unemployment rate on election day 2008.
I don’t blame Obama, except for over-promising. However, I suspect a great many voters blame him, and blame the governors of their state and their representatives in Congress, especially Democratic ones.
It is for this reason that I agree only with half of Charles Krauthammer’s analysis of Tuesday’s election. Krauthammer writes:

November ’08 was one shot, one time, never to be replicated. Nor was November ’09 a realignment. It was a return to the norm — and definitive confirmation that 2008 was one of the great flukes in American political history.

There should be no dispute that the 2008 election did not reflect the political norm. But neither did this year’s — not with the economy in such bad shape.
A normal election, if there is such a thing, would take place in a normal economy and in a time of international uncertainty, but not war. The 2000 election might qualify, although the presence of a third-party candidate interfered somewhat with “laboratory conditions.” The electorate divided 50-50 in that one.
Demographic changes may have tilted the playing field somewhat in favor of the Democrats. But when all is said and done, I don’t think we’re too far from being a “50-50” nation.

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