Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory looks at downballot results and frets, and concludes that Obama only won because of the celebrity factor.
He kinda has a point, but let me help him along a little bit:
1. Generically speaking, Democrat Congressional candidates got slightly more votes than Republican Congressional candidates in the national aggregate. The reason Republicans won 233 (?) of 435 seats, which wasn’t much of a loss compared to 2010, is because of favorable Republican gerrymanders that Republican-run state legislatures ushered in during the Red Wave of 2010 drew for Congressional seats. The Obama personality cult, as Brown puts it, that showed up to save Obama, hardly affected House seats because most of that milieu were clumped up/ghettoized in what were and still are solid blue Congressional gerrymanders. To see an example, look at Ohio: Colored blue for Obama’s win and Sherrod Brown’s win, but 12 of 16 House seats went Republican.
2. And, in the process, Republican state legislatures drew themselves favorable boundaries in their own state legislative maps.
3. In a Presidential election year, the media will pay a lot of attention to the Presidential race and quite a bit to Senate races, but not much to House races and almost no attention to anything further downballot. A nice rule of thumb is that the more the media obsess over a race, the more likely it is that a Democrat will win it. This is a handy explanation to explain the line of demarcation somewhere between U.S. Senate and U.S. House. Presidential election years don’t have many Gubernatorial elections, and the only party flip I can think off offhand was in North Carolina, and that was largely expected. So you can’t infer much there.
4. Democrats might as well give up any hope of flipping the House in 2014. The same gerrymandered House map which held red in spite of the very mild blue wave in 2012 will still be law in 2014, when there will be no Obama at the top of the ballot and ergo no reason for his personality cultists to show up to vote. Even if Republican turnout is down a bit because of frustration with the current Republican surrender monkey leadership, it still won’t matter.