The Corner

Nate Silver Teases Us

A look 60 hours into the future:

Dawn breaks over New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 3. Democrats catching the early train to work are thinking about adding a little whiskey to their morning coffee. For the headlines they are reading are truly terrible.

Not only did Republicans take over the House, but they did so going away — winning a net of 78 seats from Democrats. Seven seats in New York State changed hands; so did six in Pennsylvania, five in Ohio, and four in North Carolina. Party luminaries such as Jim Obertsar and Raul Grijalva were defeated. Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich survived, but they did so by just 2 points apiece, and their elections weren’t called until 1 a.m. Democrats picked up just one Republican-held seat — the open seat in Delaware — but Joseph Cao somehow survived in his very Democratic-leaning district in New Orleans. Virtually every race deemed to be a tossup broke to the Republican.

The news isn’t much better in the Senate. The Democratic candidates in North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois all lost, flipping those seats to red from blue. So did Harry Reid in Nevada and Joe Manchin in West Virginia; both of them lost by 7 points, in fact. Washington State isn’t finished counting its ballots, but Dino Rossi has about a 30,000-vote lead over Patty Murray, and looks likely to prevail. California isn’t done counting either, and the race between Barbara Boxer and Carly Firoina remains too close to call. It might not matter anyway: Joseph I. Lieberman has scheduled a press conference for later that afternoon, and is expected to announce that — after seeing the strength of the mandate the voters have given the G.O.P. — he’ll begin conferencing with Republicans when Congress reconvenes in January.

Gubernatorial races provide little respite. Jerry Brown beat Meg Whitman in California — one of the few positives that Democrats can take out of the night. But Democrats lost the close races in Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon and Connecticut, and were blown out in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Rick Perry, while expected to win in Texas, did so by a surprisingly large margin — nearly 20 points — and is making the rounds on the morning shows; the whispers are that he could be a Presidential contender.

Pundits are running out of metaphors to describe what just happened. Not just a wave; a hurricane. Not just a hurricane; a tsunami! Not just a tsunami; a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.5 earthquake. Or by a meteor strike!

Democrats knew it was going to be bad. But they didn’t think it was going to be this bad. So, what happened?

Silver goes on to give five reasons why the Republicans might outperform their poll numbers on Tuesday. Worth a read.

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