The More Things Change

The spin and “analysis” surrounding the November 3rd elections has been, well, mind boggling.  The pick-up of 60+ seats wasn’t really 60+ it was only 30+ because 30 of those seats “belonged” to Republicans and should have never gone to Democrats in the first place (Joe Scarborough).  It’s about the economy, it’s about government over reach, it was about Nancy, the President, and Harry; it was about doing too much or not doing enough.  It was about over exposure or not enough exposure, too much of the President or not enough.  It was about communications.  It was about Health Care, bail outs and stimulus, or not!

Voters were angry, unable to think straight.  The election was about the Tea Party, independents and de-motivated Democratic voters.  Voters were either really smart, or really stupid, depending who you ask. 

The largest change of seats in The House occurred in 1938, 81 seats.  There seems to be three overriding factors: recession, New Deal policies with minimal economic impact and policy initiatives outside of mainstream public acceptability.  1938 saw a major Republican assault on the policies of The New Deal. 

Minor parties and independents abandoned Roosevelt and the Democrats.  There was an attempt to pack the Supreme Court.  The New Deal was not working and some sitting Democrats were subjected to a White House effort to defeat them in Democratic primaries.  It had been about a decade since Republicans had enjoyed any level of success in Congressional elections.

Any of this sound vaguely familiar?

Andrew E, Busch a professor of political science at Claremont College has been analyzing and writing about mid-term elections for at least a decade; he believes that Roosevelt “overestimated the impact of his popularity and persuasive powers”.  Union violence, strikes and political activity were growing and considered a factor in the rejection of Democrats based on the 1935 Labor Relations Act passed by Roosevelt through the Democratic Congress.  The targeting of Democratic politicians was categorized in the Press as a “purge” and rendered Roosevelt impotent in the eyes of some.  “Purge’ was, at the time, a charged word as the Moscow Show Trials were ongoing. 

Professor Busch believes the 1938 election was an effort to rein in The President and force the inclusion of conservative ideas in Congress.  News commentator Arthur Krock considered to be the Dean of Washington newsmen at the time, opined that the election signaled a “return to the two party system”.

President Roosevelt found himself playing defense and a wide variety of stalemates occurred in Congress.  Professor Busch believes that 1938 was the essentially the end of Roosevelt being able to dominate domestic politics as he had in the past.  The New Deal as ongoing policy was essentially derailed in 1938.

The more things change……………………