Tags: | Republicans | midterms | GOP wave

LA Times: GOP Won an 'Opportunity,' Not a Mandate

Wednesday, 05 November 2014 10:00 AM

The GOP’s sweeping victories during the midterm elections were a wave – but not a tidal wave, says The Los Angeles Times in an opinion column on Wednesday.

The Republicans will be making the case in the coming days that the GOP blowout of the Democrats is more than just an electoral wave — it’s a mandate endorsing the party’s conservative policies, says Times’ op-ed writer Doyle McManus.

But he warns that the GOP should not to jump to conclusions, while specifically drawing attention to how leading election analyst Charlie Cook, of the highly-regarded The Cook Political Report, rates a wave.

Cook maintains that not only does he examine how many seats the winning party captured, but, and possibly more importantly, where those victories occurred, according to McManus.

Cook noted that six of the Senate seats Democrats were defending in the midterms were in strong conservative states that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won by wide margins in 2012.

When Republicans win states such as Arkansas and South Dakota, Cook says, "That's not a wave election. That's a map election."

But when the GOP takes Senate seats in swing states like Colorado, North Carolina and Iowa, as it did Tuesday, that makes it a massive shift to the right — in fact a wave, according to McManus.

"But for a tidal wave, Republicans needed an upset or two, a surprise victory in a Democratic state," he wrote. "Earlier this year, they hoped that might be possible in Minnesota or Michigan. It didn't happen. Nor did the GOP take swing-state New Hampshire.

"This year's GOP surge was more than a ripple, but not quite a tsunami. And that makes it a little harder to understand exactly what voters were trying to say."

McManus questioned whether voters were giving the resurgent GOP, under presumed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, a mandate to repeal Obamacare, cut the federal budget and lower federal taxes, or were they just showing their frustration at Obama’s policies.

Pointing out that a recent Pew Research Center poll found that likely voters disliked Republicans even more than Democrats, McManus wrote, "As for a mandate, there was little evidence that voters were backing a specific conservative agenda. How could they? The GOP never really offered one.

"Instead, most Republican candidates just emphasized their opposition to Obama, their determination to support small businesses and reduce regulation, and — to varying degrees — their desire to repeal, replace or at least reform Obama's healthcare plan."

"How, then, can the GOP claim a mandate?" said McManus, while adding that what Republicans actually won on Tuesday "wasn't a mandate; it was an opportunity."

He concluded, "Most voters have actually been pretty clear about what they want: They want to see their federal government get something done. In a closely divided Senate, that requires across-the-aisle compromises — not the full-blown conservatism that the GOP base yearns for."

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The GOP's sweeping victories during the midterm elections were a wave - but not a tidal wave, says The Los Angeles Times in an opinion column on Wednesday.
Republicans, midterms, GOP wave
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 10:00 AM
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