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Running away from the base - why the Democrats lost big on Tuesday

Mid term often end with the president's party losing seats in Congress and so it was this time around, only the Democrats lost lots of seats. Lots. The easy (and incorrect) takeaway from this election is to presume America is turning red - the conservatives are on the march now that they have more seats in the US House of Representatives than at any point since World War 2. Yet there are a number reasons why this election is not indicative of sizeable shift towards the Tea Party worldview. Firstly, Obama is unpopular because of his timidity, not because of his liberalism. His delay on immigration reform gave minority voters few reasons to be enthused. Secondly, the Republicans moderated their (admittedly still conservative) rhetoric - Tea Party candidates did not break through in the primaries and the GOP made overtures to those outside their own base, particularly in Colorado and in other so-called purple states that tend to decide elections. 

Perhaps most importantly, the voters, when presented with progressive measures in the form of local referendums and initiatives, choose overwhelmingly to get behind them. On Tuesday night, voters in Washington said yes to more background checks on the sale of handguns. The electorate in traditionally conservative, red states in Alaska and elsewhere choose to loosen restrictions on the sale and consumption of pot. Minimum wage hikes were approved in Arkansas and in other areas of the Deep South. Massachusetts opted to approve sick pay, despite the fact that this state voted for a Republican governor.

The Clintons and other Democratic hopefuls beware - they cannot run away from their base in 2016. 

Problems at the Office

Little England