All media accounts and polling suggest that the Democrats are going to get massacred today. That may well be. One of the things that I pride myself, and this blog on, is that I don't make predictions. No better way to look foolish that to make predictions about politics. Rather, I try to rely on the fundamentals. Given my training as a political scientist, there are certain fundamentals when it comes to congressional elections. Namely:
- Midterms are bad for the incumbent President's party.
- Incumbent members of Congress are overwhelmingly re-elected
- Turnout is lower in midterms and favors the out-party, which tends to be more energized
- Minority party gains tend to be concentrated in open seat contests
Beyond these, however, there is another "fundamental" that will probably play the greatest role tonight, although it won't get discussed nearly as much as it should: 10%. The unemployment rate. In all of the commentary on why Republicans will do well, few people--especially Republican flaks--will admit that in many ways their success will be due to factors completely beyond their control. Sophisticated campaign operations, money, targeted GOTV, etc. are in the end ancillary.
I'll be blogging throughout the night as results come in.