Public opinion polls had suggested before the 2010 Elections that the American people disapproved of United States President Barak Obama not only on fiscal policies and other policies that affect the economy, but also for funding abortion, his lawsuit against Arizona’s border security law, and his weaker policies on the War on Terrorism. They disapproved of the liberal Democratic Congress even more strongly and demanded the political reform of Congress. The citizens of many states also wanted more fiscal responsibility and political reform in state government.
Political reform, the right to life, border security, and the War on Terrorism were among the issues raised by candidates for federal offices. The U.S. House Republican candidates, for example, had drafted a Pledge to America, modeled on the successful Contract with America in 1994 that was the platform upon which the Republicans won the majority in the House that year for the first time in 40 years and served as the basis for their legislative agenda. The Pledge included platform planks not only on fiscal policies and other policies that affect the economy, but on political reform, a return to Constitutional principles, the right to life, border security and defense.
The voters repudiated Obama and the liberal Democrats in both federal and state elections based upon all of these issues. Republicans won the majority in the U.S. House running on the Pledge to America. A few specific examples of candidates winning on a conservative platform on these non-financial issues are noteworthy:
A number of Republican candidates for state attorney general won election on promises to join the nineteen other states that have already joined Florida’s lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance. Although there is a financial aspect to this issue, it is being argued on federalism grounds. As I noted in my first post-election blog post, Republican prosecutors have continued to win election to a range of offices, a trend I first observed in the 2009 Elections, about which I also commented in a post-election blog post that year;
Pro-life Republican candidates for Congress did well. The Republican House and Senate caucuses will now be larger and more pro-life. True pro-life incumbent Democrats also did well, while pro-abortion incumbent Democrats did not. The standard of measure for voters of whether a representative was pro-life or pro-abortion was Obama’s federalization of health insurance, an act that required federal funding of insurance for abortion, notwithstanding Obama’s executive order to the contrary, which does not have the constitutional force of law. Voters elected many candidates who challenged self-described “pro-life” incumbents who had voted for the bill;
Republican candidates, especially in the Southwest of the U.S., who ran on a pro-border security platform did well. For example, Republican Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, whose state was sued by the Obama Administration for enforcing federal law, was easily reelected, while Susan Martinez, a Republican of New Mexico was elected governor of her state on a border security platform. Although Republican Lou Barletta defeated an incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative on a fiscal responsibility platform, he was most known for his anti-illegal immigration policy as Mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania;
Another Pennsylvanian, Republican Pat Toomey, won election to the U.S. Senate by criticizing his opponent for voting for the bailouts, the economic stimulus, the cap and trade energy tax bill and the federalization of health insurance. He also pointed out that his opponent had called for a civilian trial in Pennsylvania for the September 11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.
Moreover, there was a general sense that the election of a Republican Congress would provide a check on all of the unpopular liberal policies of Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress. Because many issues were planks of the platforms of conservative and Republican candidates, these newly-elected officials now have a broad mandate for reform.