Daily Archives: November 3, 2010

Here is my first take on the mid-terms. I’ll have more to say later.

On Tuesday, the US electorate spoke pretty clearly about what it does not want. It does not want slow economic growth, continuing financial distress, and persistently high unemployment. A sufficient number of voters also said that they do not want a transformative policy agenda of the kind that Barack Obama has lately dangled in front of the most committed Democrats in an effort to get them to the polls. What voters have yet to decide is what they do want – and therein lies a large problem for their country.

See also Bill Galston

Much depends on the strategy President Barack Obama himself adopts, and then announces in his 2011 state of the union address next January. Like Bill Clinton after his November 1994 mid-term defeat, Mr Obama must decide what balance to strike between conciliation and confrontation. He will have to give some ground he would rather not; if he resists everything the new Congress enacts, he risks a negative public reaction. He will have to pick his fights carefully, and with a tactical flexibility and attentiveness to the public mood that has not been his strong suit up to now.

…and Chris Caldwell.

[F]or Republican candidates there is no longer any such thing as being too close to the Tea Party. (Although Tea Party activists have presumably learnt a lesson about getting too close to candidates such as O’Donnell.)

A pessimistic Republican, however, might say that the organisational limits of the Tea Party have been revealed. The group’s strength is its leaderlessness, its informality, its lack of hierarchy, which makes it a powerful engine of grassroots organising. Possibly it is of less electoral use in situations that require co-ordinated action and complicated logistics, like a Senate race in a populous and varied state like Pennsylvania. For that sort of operation, a big corporate operation of the sort Republicans perfected under Karl Rove may still do the trick better. This could as easily be an argument for scaling the Tea Party up as for accepting its limitations.

US midterms interactive graphic

US midterms interactive graphic

This interactive graphic explores the results of the Congressional and gubernatorial races as they are declared.

By Emiliya Mychasuk, FT.com’s US news editor, and Alan Rappeport, FT reporter, in New York. All times are eastern standard.

3:09am - As we wind down, three key senate races remain up for grabs and too close to call – Colorado, Washington and Alaska. In Alaska, the home of Sarah Palin, Lisa Murkowski held a late rally with supporters deriding critics who questioned the possibility of a successful write-in campaign. Murkowski-backers broke into an impromptu cheer of “Yes we can”, echoing President Obama’s own rallying call from two years ago.

Ms Murkowski told CNN that she was “close” to declaring victory and that she would still caucus with the Republican party if elected.

By Emiliya Mychasuk, FT.com’s US news editor, and Alan Rappeport, FT reporter, in New York. All times are eastern standard.

11.56pm – The Democrats look like they are going to keep control of the Senate.

But in the meantime, the state regarded as a Presidential bellwether, Ohio has elected Republican John Kasich over Democratic incumbent governor Ted Strickland. In a state that has been hit hard by the recession and will be a major battleground in the 2012 presidential election, Mr Kasich was accused in debates over free trade of backing policies that would send US jobs overseas.

11:45pm –  US news editor Gary Silverman was wondering earlier when the likely new speaker John Boehner would make his victory lap.  The 60-year-old Mr Boehner, a 10-term Republican congressman from western Ohio, began his speech by saying that there was “frankly not a time for celebration, this is a time to roll up our sleeves” and described the elections as a “repudiation of Washington, and politicians who refused to listen to the American people.” The speaker-in-waiting said the “President sets the agenda” but the people had sent a message to the President: “Change course.”

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

Clive Crook’s blog: A guide

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