Fox and the other networks have consulted the augurs and declared the signs good for the Republican party. Projections – as at 2am – suggest the GOP will pick up around 60 seats in the House of Representatives. That’s roughly in the middle of most of the best pre-election predictions. And it’s a very big wave, if not quite a tsunami. In effect, however, it more or less takes the House back to the early Bush years with the GOP holding 230+ seats and the Democrats, this time, somewhere short of 200. Wiping out the past two Congressional elections is not nothing.
But as Marco Rubio*, the newly elected Senator from Florida, put it this elections was not “an embrace of the Republican party, but a second chance to be what the Republican party said it would be, not long ago.” How long this lasts remains to be seen and not the least interesting aspect of the new Congress will be how the new and veteran wings of the Republican caucus get along. Rand Paul – an upgrade, we may all agree, on Jim Bunning – says if he has his way there will be a Tea Party Caucus in the Senate.
In the Senate, mind you, Delaware and West Virginia have (for very different reasons) helped the Democrats keep their majority. Even so, Joe Manchin’s acceptance speech in coal-dependent WV was such that you could legitimately have thought he was a Republican. It was the standard “We need to fix Washington” and “work together” stuff. And he promised to put West Virginia first every day. So Democrats will need to protect him from difficult votes if they’re to hold the seat in 2012. (Manchin is just filling out Robert Byrd’s term.)
So, everything is changed.