Monday, May 24, 2010

Major GOP win in Hawaii

The GOP is on a roll. After winning the governorship of New Jersey, Republicans rocked the political establishment by winning Ted Kennedy's seat in the bluest of blue states, Massachusetts.

Now, Republican can add Hawaii's 1st congressional district to their list. Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou won the special election this past Saturday to succeed Neil Abercrombie, who resigned to run for Governor. Due to the special circumstances of this race (two Democrats--Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case--ran in this open, free-for-all, winner-take-all election), Djou did the impossible and won with 40 percent of the vote, compared to 31 percent for Hanabusa and 28 percent for Ed Case. Djou won't have much time to rest though, as he will be defending his newly-won seat in congress this November.

Hawaii's first congressional district is its most urban, and includes all of Honolulu. The win is a major victory for Republicans--not only did Djou run as a fiscal conservative opposing Obama on healthcare, Cap-and-Trade and other initiatives, his win represents the first time Hawaii will be represented by a Republican in more than 2 decades and only the second Republican to represent the islands on Capitol Hill since statewood.

And let's not forget that this district is Obama's childhood home and gave him 70 percent of the vote in 2008. Will it be difficult for Djou to retain this seat? Yes, but not impossible: George Bush garnered 47 percent of the vote here in 2008.

Here's a visual breakdown of the district's vote. Notice the sea of red!

Which state will be the next to turn from blue to red? Republicans can't take anything for granted--as the Democratic retention of Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district proved last week. But with the right candidates, the right message, and the right ground game, Republicans can continue to pile up wins in blue states.

Friday, May 07, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Yesterday, UK voters came out in droves to vote in their first national elections since 2005 and the winner is...

Well, let's just say that the British Elections are like our 2000 U.S. Presidential Election Redux. It's like deja vu all over again. The Conservative Party needs to gain an absolute majority in Parliament (326 seats) to form a government on their own. The vote counting lasted long into the night, along with reports and complaints of long lines at polling places and masses of people being turned away (again, similar to our 2000 election).

Check out the BBC's live feed for the latest results, vote count, and news:

Most recent estimates have the Conservatives at 305 seats, Labour at 258, and the Liberal Democrats (a third, center-left party) at 57 seats. The Conservatives are just shy of a majority, and will need the support of the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government, a phenomenon that Britain (a country that prides itself on stable governance unlike its neighbors in Europe that often see coalitions form and governments fail routinely) has not witnessed in several decades.

It is disappointing that the Conservatives under-performed considering the weakness of the British economy, the unpopularity of Gordon Brown, and a wave of scandals that have plagued the Labour party, but it is worth noting that Labour suffered it's worse showing since 1931. Based on current estimates, Labour ranks in the House of Commons will be reduced from 341 to 258, a net loss of 83 seats, while the Conservatives will increase their share from 193 to 305-307 seats, a net gain of 112-114 seats. And despite the buzz over Liberal Democrat candidate for Prime Minister Nick Clegg's performance at the debates and the possibility that his party would make its strongest showing ever, the final results demonstrated that the opinion polls were not to be trusted: the Liberal Democrats will actually lose 6 seats in Parliament, falling from 63 seats to 57.

Despite the outcome of a hung Parliament, the shift to the right in the UK in in line with recent shifts to the right throughout Europe. Add Great Britain to the list of western nations with center-right governments amidst discontent with the European social democracy-style welfare states and the high taxes, massive deficits, high unemployment, and stagnant GDP growth. France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, and now Great Britain, among many others, are trending rightward.

Barring any major surprises, it is safe to say that David Cameron will be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the first Conservative to hold the nation's highest office in more than 13 years.