Michael Barone offers some random thoughts on the 2010 elections. it’s the best overview I have seen of last night’s results so far. Barone writes as of 5:35 a.m. this morning:
As I write, the House results indicate that Republicans have gained a net 61 seats (64 gains minus 3 losses) and are leading in 6 races currently undecided and trailing closely in 6 other races currently undecided. So the Republican net gain will be something like 67 seats–more than any party has won in any single election since 1948 (my Examiner column actually looks at the big seat gains for the Republicans in 1946 and the Democrats in 1948).
The upshot is that Speaker-to-be John Boehner will have a workable House majority, larger than the Republicans had during the 12 years they controlled the House from 1994 to 2006, larger than Republicans have enjoyed since the 80th Congress elected in 1946 which enacted laws which resulted in enduring public policies in 1947 and 1948. The sweet spot in the House, I would argue, is around 250 seats, enough so that you can let a fair number of your member dissent on a particular vote but not so many that dozens of members feel free to ignore party discipline because the party’s majority is so large. A 67-seat Republican gain would mean a House with 246 Republicans and 189 Democrats–a smaller number of Democrats than in any House since the one elected in 1946. The popular vote for the House is not yet available. California takes five weeks to count all its votes, a vivid contrast with Brazil, which voted on Sunday, where all the votes were counted within five hours (what is wrong with this picture?). But the popular vote appears to be a near-reversal from the Democrats’ popular vote 2008 majority in the popular vote for the House which was 54%-43%; the Republicans’ majority is likely to be greater than in 1994 and the largest since 1946 (54%-44%) and perhaps since 1928 (57%-42%). We are, as I wrote in the first sentence of my Examiner column, in uncharted territory.
So why didn’t Republicans do better in the Senate races? That’s a natural question, though as I write it appears that Republicans gained 6 Senate seats–in ND, AR, IN, WI, PA and IL–and may still prevail in CO and WA. In most years gaining 6 to 8 Senate seats would be a great victory; this year it seems somewhat less so, because more seemed possible.
One reason is that Republicans had less than optimal candidates in some significant races….
You will want to read the whole thing.