The Issues That Mattered?

Eight days ago was a sweep of an election that saw Republicans gain control of the Senate and greater control of the House. Right now, with the declaration of Dan Sullivan the winner over Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Mark Begich10%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard10% in Alaska, the Senate has 53 Republicans coming in. In Louisiana, we could see the 54th on December 6th, as Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Bill Cassidy59%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard59% is poised to take that seat as well.

Louisiana is providing a very interesting feel for the issues that mattered in this election cycle. The Cassidy campaign has tried many talking points in the race, but the only ads you now really see in the state are ones that tie Landrieu to Obama. Ads on immigration and gun control came and went fairly quickly. Landrieu’s only real tactic was to talk about how important her seat on the Energy Committee was, despite having done nothing to aid her state with that spot.

The issue that people seemed to respond to is Obama. It is a lack of progress in the country that people seemed to vote against. Stagnation hit hard and the economy hasn’t really gotten any better. I’m reminded of a Josh Marshall piece at Talking Points Memo that adds a little something to this discussion (though, naturally, Marshall’s end result is wrong):

Democrats have toyed (and I use that term advisedly) with the issue of rising inequality for the last two elections. But let me suggest that as a political matter inequality is a loser. What is driving the politics of the country to a mammoth degree is that the vast majority of people in the country no longer have a rising standard of living. And Democrats don’t have a policy prescription to make that change.

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Fundamentally, most people don’t care particularly how astronomically wealthy people are living their lives. It is a distant reality on many levels. They care a great deal about their own economic circumstances. And if you are not doing any better than you were 5 years ago or a decade ago or – at least in the sense of the hypothetical median wage earner – 40 years ago, that’s going to …read more    

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