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Election Recap: A Party in Flux, a Changed Electorate, a Divided House, Senate Election Recap: A Party in Flux, a Changed Electorate, a Divided House...

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Political Landscape Podcast / Podcast

Election Recap: A Party in Flux, a Changed Electorate, a Divided House, Senate

photo of Cory Bennett
November 10, 2012

The Political Landscape is a weekly conversation with National Journal writers, editors and other experts on the news of the day.

President Obama was reelected to a second term on Tuesday night. While the presidential election got the most focus, there were far-reaching implications from results up and down the ballots across the country.

 
  • Polling data showed an electorate forever changed, with more minorities and less white voters than ever before.
  • For the first time ever, white men are no longer the majority among House Democrats. By comparison, white men represented 98 percent of House Democrats in 1953.
  • A record number of women will join Congress: 20 in the Senate and at least 78 in the House.
  • Progressive causes gained significant momentum. Gay marriage was legalized in three states, while a ban was turned away in a fourth. The first openly gay Senator was also elected, Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
  • The GOP kept its House majority, but the Democrats increased their Senate majority.

This week, in four parts we’ll explore the implications of these results.

First, we’ll discuss broader social and political trends indicated by the election with Molly Ball of The Atlantic. Also joining is Jennifer Duffy, senior editor with the Cook Political Report, a non-partisan website analyzing campaigns and elections.

Second, we’ll look at the changes in the Senate with Jennifer Duffy, who is the Cook Political Report’s specialist on Senate races. She'll explain why the new Senate Democrats are bifurcated. Half are blue dog centrists, and half are lefty populists.

Third, we’ll look at the House. With a huge freshman class, over one third of the House will now consist of Representatives with less than three years of Congressional experience. David Wasserman, the Cook Political Report’s House editor, joins us to explain what that means for the future.

Fourth, what does all of this mean for the upcoming fiscal cliff negotiations. A series of spending cuts are set to automatically take place on Jan. 1, 2013, if the lame duck cannot reach an agreement on taxes and the budget. Will the lame duck Congress simply create a short-term solution, leaving the big decisions to the newly elected Congress? Our experts weigh in.

Check out last week's episode "Colbert, Cocaine, Clinton and the History of Politicians on Comedy Programs."

Check out all episodes of the Political Landscape.

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