Just posted to the homepage: two new articles on the election results. First, “Cash Cowed: How Money Is Deforming Our Politics,” by Margaret O’Brien Steinfels. It begins:
The 2010 midterms will go down as one of the most fiercely fought campaigns in our political history. Nasty campaigns from Connecticut to California to Alaska and back to Nevada and Wisconsin wiped out the Democratic majority in the House and reduced their unreliable super-majority in the Senate. What was this strife all about? Yes, there were policies to fight over, although the Republicans seem unlikely to repeal health-care legislation. And yes, the chronic problems of our electoral system—the breakdown of party structures; the 24/7 media frenzy; and voter volatility—exacerbated uncertainties and anxieties. And then there was economy. But above all, there was a tsunami of money.
Second, E. J. Dionne’s election postmortem, “What Now?” It begins:
President Barack Obama allowed Republicans to define the terms of the nation’s political argument for the past two years and permitted them to draw battle lines the way they wanted. Neither he nor his party can let that happen again.
Democrats would be foolish to turn on themselves in fruitless bickering over whether their troubles owe to a failure to mobilize and excite their base or to win support from the political center. In fact, Democrats held moderate voters while losing independents. What hurt them most was this brute fact: Voters under thirty made up nearly a fifth of the electorate in 2008 but only about a tenth on Tuesday, according to network exit polls. This week’s verdict was rendered by a much older and more conservative electorate. Yes, there was an enthusiasm gap.
Also, don’t forget about our Commonweal Conversations event at New York University on Saturday, November 13, at 4 p.m.: “Politics, Faith, and the Midterm Elections.” The event, featuring Jean Bethke Elshtain, Mark Shields, Peter Steinfels, and Paul Baumann, is open to the public. Following the conversation, Commonweal Associates are welcome to join the speakers and editors at a private reception (please RSVP for that here). Not yet an Associate? You can sign up here. See you there.