The best thing Republicans had going for them in this election was the fact that they weren't in the same party as President Obama. But it would be a huge mistake for them to act as though this was an endorsement of their policies -- a mistake they seem likely to make. A mistake that seems destined to be part of the 2016 Republican autopsy.
The voting turnout in this year's congressional and gubernatorial elections was the lowest since 1942. Much of the story was in young people, poor people, black and Hispanic citizens who tend to support Democrats voting in far lower numbers than in 2008 or 2012. The Democrats just weren't offering them very much. But the other part of the Election Day story was older voters and the white working class, especially men, deserting the Democrats in droves -- again, because Democrats didn't seem to be offering much. Republicans, at least, were promising lower taxes. Turnout on average dropped from 2012 by a staggering 42 percent. But as Sam Wang reported in a post-election piece for the American Prospect, the drop-off was evidently worse for Democrats. The two parts of this story seem to create an impossible conundrum for Democrats.
Rather than stand and fight, the Democratic National Committee decided to run away and decouple their reelection campaign from the very visible, 24/7 presence of President Obama. This was their "playbook" for holding or increasing Democratic Party seats in the House and Senate. How did that work out?