5 Nov 2014

Going, going, gone – Democrats lose control of the US senate

So it turns out the midterms did matter, that every vote counted, that politics is still a bloodsport in the US.

Today, pundits powered by too many lattes will go deep to try to get to the heart of what just happened – and why it was so.

For now, it feels like an undoing of what President Obama won, with state after state that awarded him his Presidency rejecting the Democrats in favour of the Republicans. States that changed from Republican red to Democrat blue in his wake, suddenly red again.

Of course, there were the predictable ones. Someone tweeted that Crayola should name one of its red crayons “South Carolina”, the result there was so inevitable.

But it’s not the low hanging fruit that matters so much, rather the places where the Republicans had to work hard to shake out a Democratic incumbent or challenger. And their policies of finding the best candidates, to broaden the reach of the conservative message, brought results.

Read more: Grimm, Blair and Love: the new faces of Republican power

So what happens now? There’s a dismal record of cooperation between parties in the legislature, although the right noises were being made overnight by new senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. And the President was apparently ringing around those who’d won races on both sides, recommending a bipartisan get-together on Friday.

But there’ll be other get-togethers before then with an eye not so much on what just happened, but on how to capitalise on it, all the way through to the vote for President in 2016. Now the midterms have ended so spectacularly, who will emerge for the Republicans as leadership material, standing alone amid the dry ice once the celebrations are over?

And with large parts of the country in retreat from the Democrats, how will the candidate who represents the party’s best known established brand – Hillary Clinton – sell herself as a new beginning?

In the meantime, everyone will simply have to adjust, Throw out the script for how this town – and this country – works. It’s suddenly all out of date.

Follow C4KylieM on Twitter

Tweets by @C4KylieM