Having beaten up on E.J. Dionne several times in the past for tendentious columns, fairness suggests noting when he gets something right, or at least partly right. His post-election column doesn’t sugarcoat things for Democrats, nor engage in the excuses (turnout) or evasions (if only everyone was required to vote) that many liberals are using to comfort themselves.
For Democrats, the 2014 election was not the 2010 Republican landslide. It was worse. . . After a defeat of this scope, the sensible advice is usually, “Don’t overreact.” In this case, such advice would be wrong. Something — actually, many things — went badly for the progressive coalition on Tuesday. . . A dismissive shrug is inappropriate.
As The New Yorker’s Jeff Shesol pointed out, leading Republicans from incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Sen.-elect Cory Gardner to Rep. Paul Ryan all discerned a message from the voters against what Ryan called “incompetent big government.”
After this, however, Dionne reverts to form, wondering whether Republicans will go crazy and revive Democratic fortunes by default. He would have done well to dwell more on the “incompetent government” theme. So should the GOP, because it will be a powerful theme to pursue in 2016. More on this in due course.