Michael Barone provides his patented take on the Wave manifested in the elections of 2010 with a Woody Guthrie kind of twist (if you can forget that Guthrie wrote his Woody Sez column for the Daily Worker). Barone says the Wave (he calls it a tsunami) benefiting Republicans washed over the United States “from the Washington Bridge to the Donner Pass.” Yet he pauses to note this scandal:
Republican gains in state legislatures were even more impressive. They will control the redistricting process in four of the five states in this region. The exception is Illinois, where Rod Blagojevich’s successor as governor, Pat Quinn, held on by a few thousand votes — helped perhaps by the refusal of some Democratic county clerks not to send out military ballots in the time required by federal law. They did manage to send unrequested ballots to inmates of the Cook County Jail, though.
Barone provides a demographic analysis that includes Finnish Americans. What about the Finns? Barone has the answer, and it is one that has local interest for those of us in Minnesota:
Around 100 years ago Finnish immigrants flocked to the mines and woods of the country around Lake Superior, where the topography and weather must have seemed familiar. They’ve been a mostly Democratic, sometimes even radical voting bloc ever since. No more, it seems. Going into the election, the three most Finnish districts, Michigan 1, Wisconsin 7 and Minnesota 8, all fronting on Lake Superior, were represented by two Democratic committee chairmen and the chairman of an Energy and Commerce subcommittee, with a total of 95 years of seniority.
Wisconsin’s David Obey and Michigan’s Bart Stupak both chose to retire, and were replaced by Republicans who had started running before their announcements. Minnesota’s James Oberstar was upset by retired Northwest pilot and stay-at-home dad Chip Cravaack.
So here’s a new rule for the political scientists: As go the Finns, so goes America.
The only question Barone doesn’t answer is: What would Woody Guthrie say?