The Democratic take over in both chambers of Congress is only half the story. The New York Times reports the Rest of the Good News that In Statehouses, Too, Democrats Post Sizable Gains. The other sweep in this election which has contributed to the ‘thumpin’ was the Democratic takeover of state executive and legislative houses.
Democratic gains in Congress and governorships were matched on Tuesday by a surge involving state legislatures, where more than 275 seats and nine chambers switched from Republican to Democratic hands.
The victories, combined with the six new Democratic governors, have given the Democrats one-party government in 15 states, including New Hampshire for the first time since 1874, and Colorado for the first time since 1960.
No party has totally controlled as many as 15 states since the Republicans achieved that level after the 1994 election.
This was the other critical aspect of the campaign. Not only does it contribute to the mandate and message to DC, it sets the states up for better control of the 2008 elections and beyond. It will be especially crucial in 2010 when the next census is completed and Congressional redistricting is done by the state legislatures. Then the abuses of Delay, et al can be corrected.
The Democratic lead in the Governor’s Houses adds to the Democratic voice in DC to Congress and the President. US voters have much better access to their governors than some legislators and the governors have better access to the White House than many legislators. The present occupant of the WH has demonstrated repeatedly that his resistance to input is ridiculously high. The more avenues at this point the better.
The challenge for Democrats is to show that just because one party has control of both legislative and executive branches, they can still govern honestly and competently for the citizens of their state and country. Let’s be sure we meet it.