Overshadowed by Republican victories in Congress, Republican control of state legislatures is the real story out of last Tuesday’s elections:
The Republican wave that hit the U.S. Congress in Tuesday’s midterm election also boosted the party in state races, where it gained control of 10 chambers and could be on track to holding the largest number of legislative seats since before the Great Depression.
Democrats lost their majorities in the West Virginia House, Nevada Assembly and Senate, New Hampshire House, Minnesota House, New York Senate, Maine Senate, Colorado Senate, Washington Senate, and New Mexico House to Republicans, who also won enough seats to tie control of the West Virginia Senate, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reported on Wednesday.
With Tuesday’s vote, Republicans took over the U.S. Senate, beefed up their majority in the U.S. House and won the governor’s office in several key states. The vote also increased the number of state legislative chambers with Republican majorities to 67 from 57. Party control of the Colorado House and Washington House was still up in the air.
The number of states with Republicans in control of both legislative chambers came to 27 ahead of the election and has now edged closer to the high mark of 30 in 1920, according to Storey. By contrast, Democrats will control the lowest number of state legislatures since 1860, he said.
When Obama was elected in 2008 he was often compared to FDR by a breathless mainstream media. For Democrats he has become the anti-FDR, restoring the Republican party to the dominance in state legislatures that they enjoyed prior to the New Deal. Majorities in Congress come and go, as do Presidents, but it is in the state legislatures and their control that parties lay the foundation for policies, and politicians, that can be tested on the state level and taken nationally if successful. For decades the Democrats enjoyed this crucial advantage over the Republicans, and Obama has taken that away from them. I suspect that most Americans will look back at the Obama presidency with regret and bitterness, and few groups will have more reason to do so than the Democrats.