The Corner

On Balance, a Republican Election Cycle

As a follow-up to Wednesday’s post, it now looks like Republicans won control of the Mississippi house and Virginia senate on Tuesday — the first by an outright majority of 62 out of 120 house seats and the latter by achieving a 20–20 tie with Virginia’s Republican lieutenant governor tipping the balance as the presiding officer of the senate. In the other state with legislative races, New Jersey, there was no change in partisan control. You can read more about each set of legislative elections from our friends at Ballotpedia.org.

Going into the 2011 election cycle, there were 25 states where Republicans controlled both chambers of their legislatures, 15 states where Democrats were in power, nine states where the chambers were split or tied, and one state (Nebraska) with a nonpartisan, unicameral legislature. With the addition of Mississippi and Virginia, there are now 27 fully Republican legislatures, 15 Democratic ones, and seven splits. The last time the GOP had this much legislative power in state capitals, most motion pictures were still being produced without sound.

On balance, while some high-profile conservative initiatives and political leaders were defeated, voters pushed American politics a bit more to the right this year. I wouldn’t oversell the point — some of those legislative victories were extremely narrow, for example, and local elections went against conservatives in some places — but the MSNBC/DNC spin on Election Day 2011 is rather silly.

But you knew that already, didn’t you?

John Hood is a syndicated columnist and the president of the John William Pope Foundation, a North Carolina–based grantmaker.

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