I’ll have more in the morning, but my quick thoughts.
Of course it was a bad defeat tonight. Let’s not kid ourselves.
We had a chance to stop the decline, and we didn’t.
We held the House pretty strongly, so that’s good, and a reflection that candidates and ideology matter. We nominated candidates at the District level who could make the case; we didn’t make the case at the national level. It also looks like we did well in state races.
Wrong lessons will be drawn from the Senate races. We nominated a moderate who lost in a Wisconsin which rejected the recall of Scott Walker. Todd Akin was not a Tea Party candidate, Sarah Steelman was and a divided field allowed a weak candidate to win the nomination. Richard Mourdock’s comments, while not Akin, were damaging, but that is not why Mourdock lost; Lugar and his supporters undermined Mourdock all summer and fall before his comment, and had Republicans in Indiana been unified, Mourdock would have won. Other Senate seats were successes — Ted Cruz and Deb Fischer are good additions.
Understand that liberal candidates will be forgiven and protected by their base, as Massachusetts proves. It’s always been that way, and always will be.
So what is the path now?
Stand with House members, they will need all the support they can get. Don’t compromise on principles, and push the eventual legislative compromises to the right as much as possible.
View Tuesday as a substantial setback but not the end.