My weekly column is up at the Daily News. It’s a little delayed due to Veterans’ Day falling on a Tuesday.
Riding the wave
Conservative leadership was key to widespread victory march
As I watched the election results begin to roll in last Tuesday from a hotel room in New Jersey, it quickly became apparent that we were witnessing the strongest Republican wave in a lifetime. The crest of the wave pushed Republicans into power in places thought to be forevermore the domain of liberals. The nation spoke.
On the national level, the most watched elections were for the U.S. Senate. Even as pre-election polls were indicating that the Republicans had a good chance of taking control of the Senate, pundits on both side were indicating that the Democrats might just pull it off. As it turned out, the Republicans gained firm control of the Senate.
Although the House of Representatives was already controlled by the Republicans, they strengthened their control by adding at least another 12 seats to their majority. This is the most seats that the Republican Party has held in the House in almost a century. It also means that President Barack Obama has seen his party lose 69 seats in the House since he took office.
Full Republican control of the Congress will make for an entirely new political dynamic for Obama’s final two years in office.
No longer will Sen. Harry Reid be able to bottle up legislation on Obama’s behalf. No longer will judicial appointments go through unchallenged. No longer will the president’s numerable abuses escape Congressional scrutiny.
The Republican wave was not restricted to the federal elections. It swept down the ballot.
Republican governors will now lead a majority of states, including deep blue states like Maryland, Massachusetts and even our southern neighbor, Illinois. The GOP will also control 30 state legislatures while the Democrats only control eight. The remaining legislatures have split control.
Nowhere was the Republican wave more apparent than in Wisconsin. Indeed, what happened here in Wisconsin was the current driving the wave.
The highlight of the election was Scott Walker being elected governor for the third time in four years. Walker won the election by a convincing six points.
His re-election was all that more impressive when put in context. The national Democrats and their allies had put everything into defeating Walker. Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and other prominent Democrats came to Wisconsin to campaign for Walker’s opponent.
The unions and special interests poured in millions of dollars in negative advertising against Walker. Even the Democratic district attorney of Milwaukee successfully used the power of his office to silence Walker’s conservative allies with a sham of an investigation.
Through all of this, Walker came out on top. Not only that, but his party strengthened its control of both houses of the Legislature with a more conservative caucus. And to put a cherry on the top of the victory cake, Republican Brad Schimel handily won election to become the next attorney general of the state.
Walker and the Republicans in Wisconsin were rewarded by the voters because they actually moved the ball when in power. They pushed forward a strong conservative agenda including tax cuts, regulatory reform, concealed carry, expansion of school choice, tuition freeze, and dozens of other conservative initiatives that made Walker’s first term one of the most productive in recent history. Based on their past success, the voters expect Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans to do more of the same in another term.
The Republicans at the federal level and in other states should look to Wisconsin’s Republicans to learn how to ensure future electoral success. They need to lead. More than that, they need to lead with a conservative agenda.
The firm advancement of the conservative agenda has solidified Republican control of a state that twice voted for Obama. That was not an accident. It was an affirmation that voters will reward conservative leadership.
(Owen Robinson’s column runs Tuesdays in the Daily News.)