Highlights from AEI Conference “AEI Election Watch, Session VI”

WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 5, 2010—In the final session of the 2010 Election Watch series, Karlyn Bowman began by discussing the demographics of the electorate. Three groups that have a near-perfect record in predicting elections once again proved to be good bellwethers—independents, white Catholics, and voters with some college education sided with Republicans in this election. John C. Fortier discussed the House races, noting that the Republican wave washed over Republican and swing districts, but it stopped short in mildly Democratic districts. A more ideological electoral map has now emerged, one with fewer Democrats representing Republican-leaning districts. Henry Olsen then discussed the white working class. He pointed out that the white working class constituted the second source of the Republican electoral wave, the first source being the Republican-leaning districts that voted out Democrats. Michael Barone discussed the major pickups that Republicans made in state legislatures, far more than were expected, which gives them major advantages in redistricting. Barone cautioned, however, that the redistricting party cannot count on redrawn electoral lines for guaranteed success in the future. Norman J. Ornstein discussed how the election results would affect governing in Congress, focusing on a possible tug of war among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, early shutdowns of government over continuing budget resolutions and the debt limit, and potential cooperation on the issue of infrastructure.

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