Election 2014: Why the Republicans Swept the Midterms

Election 2014: Why the Republicans Swept the Midterms

Election 2014: Why the Republicans Swept the Midterms

Election 2014: Why the Republicans Swept the Midterms

Synopsis

The Republican party overwhelmingly carried the midterm elections of 2014, winning nearly every contested congressional and gubernatorial seat and taking the Senate after eight years of Democratic control. Many have characterized this sweep as a sign of a fundamental political shift toward the GOP. But acclaimed political commentator Ed Kilgore argues that the results of the midterm elections were a predictable outcome that was less an ideological watershed than the culmination of several long-term cyclical and historical trends.

Election 2014 strips down conflicting and biased political narratives to present an accessible account of how and why Republicans triumphed so decisively. Kilgore crunches electoral data and evaluates such structural factors as the economy, presidential approval ratings, and voter turnout patterns. Ultimately, this bracing analysis sheds light on the election's implications for the future direction of American politics.

A longtime policy analyst at the Democratic Leadership Council, Ed Kilgore is the principal writer for the Washington Monthly's "Political Animal" blog.

Excerpt

“Campaign books” are a strange genre of American nonfiction, heavily influenced by a few models from the relatively recent past. There is most obviously the Making of the President series by Theodore White, covering the presidential elections from 1960 through 1972. (A final volume discussed the 1980 elections in the context of a revised take on the previous quarter century.) These books were self-consciously “official” in tone and relied heavily on authorized reporting of the major contenders, with most of the analysis focused on the winning campaign (as the titles suggested). Then there is the deliberately iconoclastic countermodel of “gonzo journalist” Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972, which abandoned objectivity and every other rule of conventional political reporting in the pursuit of “deeper truths” about American politics and government and an impressionistic presentation of the frenetic pace and sheer hellishness of a national campaign. A number of insider-outsider hybrid books have since occasionally appeared, the best received of which was Richard Ben Cramer’s What It Takes, an account of the 1988 . . .

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