Michael Barone applies his election number-crunching prowess in his latest Washington Examiner article to the latest batch of national election results. Barone starts with an Ohio electorate that cast big votes against both ObamaCare’s individual mandate and new restrictions on unions’ bargaining power.
[T]he real bragging rights here belong to the public employee unions and the Democrats. They got actual results: the Kasich reforms will not go into effect. The other side got a theoretical victory: for the federal mandate to buy health insurance, if upheld by the courts, will surely trump any state effort at repeal under the supremacy clause of the Constitution.
There is an additional charge here that may be laid against Kasich this year, just as it could be made against Schwarzenegger in 2005: political malpractice. They allowed the public employee unions to vastly outraise their side and failed to counter the unions’ ad barrages. They had effective arguments on their side that they simply did not communicate to voters. In 2005 this gave the public employee unions five more years to plunder the private sector in the states where they hold sway.
The Ohio result, on the other hand, is balanced off by the success of public employee union opponents to keep in place, by narrow margins, the restrictions imposed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the legislature by maintaining Republican margins on the state Supreme Court in an April election and in the state Senate in recall elections held this summer. Also restricting the public employee unions is the fact that taxpayers today simply do not have the kind of money to be plundered that everyone thought they did in the years immediately after Schwarzenegger’s defeat.
Other November 8 results were less negative for Republicans. At a time when polls show huge dissatisfaction with politicians of both parties, it is an interesting fact that incumbents did quite well this cycle. Democratic Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear was reelected 56%-35% just as Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was reelected with 64% against a field of other candidates last month. Mississippi Republican Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant was elected 61%-39% to replace term-limited Republican Governor Haley Barbour; similarly, West Virginia Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was elected 50%-47% for the rest of the term held by Joe Manchin, who resigned after he was elected U.S. senator.