Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meeting Dino Rossi & Historic House Turnover

There was an intimate gathering in Silverdale, WA today, where the next US Senator from WA State came to shake hands and kiss babies. It is always interesting to meet candidates face to face. You get a good feel for the type of person they are by their mannerisms and ticks. More importantly, I am always interested to see how tall candidates are. I’ve met some pols that were freakishly tall, and others (Like Al Gore in 1998) who was shockingly short (about 3 inches shorter than me, but he had giant bear-claw hands). Dino Rossi seemed to be about my height at 5’11”, and talked with his hands like a standard grandson of Italian immigrants (My wife is grand-daughter of Greek immigrants – so I GET IT!) In short, I told him to give ‘em hell in DC. He replied with a gracious and sincere ‘God Bless You for your efforts’. Was a great morning.


Also, a quick look at the House races across the nation; Real Clear Politics is predicting an epic turnover in the House. This morning their polls indicate a 62 seat exchange on average – with a high/low of 78/46. Since 1840, only 16 congressional elections have resulted in political landslides for on party over the other (greater than 48) – mostly due to the increase in the number of states (and thus more seats in the House), Great Depressions, or Great Wars. Since a swing of 75 seats in 1948 in favor of the Democrats, they held the House until the Republican Revolution in 1994 (less two years of slight GOP control from 52-54), with a 54 seat swing. The history of the House is extremely interesting as a fluid body representing the issues of the day; a true indicator of the wisdom of the founding fathers in their creation of the Constitution. It saddens me that current political heads don't respect the founding documents and intent just a little more.


History of large turnovers in the House of Representatives:

  • 1842 saw a 49 seat gain by the Democrats (a net loss of 70 seats by the Whigs) after the Whig Party's POTUS died in office, sending a very unpopular man to fill his role. Unpopular leaders tend to inspire the opposition.

  • 1854 bore a crushing blow to the Democrats with a 73 seat loss whilst the American party and Republicans picked up 62 and 46 seats respectively. Immigration, slavery, and talks of secession led to a minority party government representative of a tumultuous climate in the Antebellum States of America.

  • In 1872 as the House grew by another 49 seats, the Republicans picked up 63 seats; continuing the post-war dominance of the federal government.

  • In 1874, marking an end to the Reconstruction era, the Democrats picked up 94 seats while the Republicans lost 96, giving control of the House to the Democrats for the first time since the War of Northern Aggression.

  • 1890 fell on hard economic times, and the ruling Republicans lost 93 seats, giving 86 of them to the Democrats, and control of the house once again.

  • A depression in 1894 dealt a crushing blow to the ruling Democratic Party, giving up 125 seats. Republicans gained 130 seats, picking up some from minor parties.

  • 1910 saw a 58 seat swing from Republicans to the Democrats, and loss of majority of the House. This was caused mainly due to deep factioning within the Republican Party.

  • 1914, Republicans picked up 61 seats from the Democrats, though not enough to retake control of the House.

  • 1920’s election turned over an additional 62 seats from the majority Democrats to the Republicans, who took an overwhelming majority in the wake of Wilson’s unpopular decision of World Governing.

  • 1922 flopped 72 seats in favor of the Democrats, though not enough to give them a majority.

  • 1930, the second year of the Great Depression, gave a 52 seat victory to the Democrats, leaving the Republican party with a slim 2 seat majority.

  • In 1932, Republicans lost 101 seats, giving 97 of them to the Democrats and a few to third party candidates.

  • 1938 Republicans took 81 seats from Democrats and other minor parties. The democrats still maintained a 60% majority of the House.

  • 1942 Republicans picked up 47 seats from Dems, bringing the House back to a near even 50%-50% split.

  • Following WWII, in 1946, Republicans picked up 55 seats and the Majority in the House for the first time since the Depression began.

  • 1948 gave a 75 seat swing to the Democrats, the majority, and set the stage for 40 years of control of the house (less a short two years from 52-54 by the Republicans).

  • The largest turnover in recent history was 54 seats in 1994, a result of the Republican Revolution.

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