How important is this election compared to other elections?


The 2008 elections led, after all, to a very important piece of health care legislation that’s not going to be repealed during the 112th congress. In other words, even after the soon-to-come revival of conservative political fortunes the health policy status quo is going to settle well to the left of where it was before the election. And it seems overwhelmingly likely to me that had Kay Hagan and Al Franken not won their close elections in North Carolina and Minnesota that the Affordable Care Act never would have passed. So as far as elections go, that’s a pretty big deal.

By contrast, looking ahead even if the Democrats defy expectations and eke out a narrow House majority they’re not going to turn around and pass a cap-and-trade bill. And if Republicans defy expectations and pick up 65 House seats instead of 55 House seats, that’s not going to conjure up the votes to scrap the minimum wage. In any remotely plausible range of outcomes, we’ll be looking at an era where either nothing happens or else compromises are reached between the party leaders.

Or the 2008 elections were the chance of a lifetime for Democrats and they blew it, on health care (where they might have gotten much more had they simply tried) and on everything else. Even the stimulus was botched (asking for half of what was needed, then giving away another 35% in near-useless tax cuts) – thus the 9.6% 9.2% unemployment rate that’s dooming Democratic control of Congress. And, if you’re gay, an enviro, an immigration advocate/Latino, a civil libertarian, an AIDS activist, or a union member, to name a few categories of the Democratic base, the results of the 2008 election weren’t nearly so laudable, since most of the big biggest promises made to you were broken, and now are toast.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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