After an election, there’s inevitably a variety of pronouncements of politicians on what they “heard the voters say.” They and the various pundits largely “hear” an echo of their own previously held views and find vindication of their particular hobbyhorses. It’s a subjective and self-serving exercise.
There’s also the question of how representative the electorate of 2010 was: Was it the sign of things to come, or was it an aberration? The Democratic consultant Geoff Garin said in an interview, “The idea that these voters represent the center of gravity in this country is not correct, because the 2010 electorate didn’t represent the full range of American voters: it’s very different from the electorate of 2006.” By several accounts, it was older, whiter, and more conservative than the usual electorate.
It appears that in losing at least sixty-two House seats the Democrats got whacked by the center: that independents swung to the Republicans by a substantial margin, a phenomenon t...