Tuesday night brought a sound shellacking for Democrat candidates on all levels.
Dismayed Democrats looked on as state after state turned deep red. Races that pundits predicted would be neck and neck became lopsided landslides for the Republican candidates. The Senatorial contests in Kentucky and Arkansas were called minutes after the polls closed. All the other seemingly close races (Georgia, North Carolina, Kansas, etc.) were won handily by the Republican candidates. The only remotely exciting Senatorial race was in Virginia, a state that wasn’t even on anyone’s radar, since Democrats were supposed to have such an authoritative hold on it.
It was a particularly dismal night for highly-anticipated female Senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky.
Grimes was defeated almost immediately after the polls closed. By the end of campaigning, most electoral counts gave McConnell a definitive lead and probability of winning. Democrats had temporarily pulled funding and the race seemed like a lost cause.
This is a very different picture than the beginning of the race. Grimes was the young firebrand pitting youth and vivacity against the political stagnation of Mitch McConnell’s reign. She was exciting and tough.
However, she soon ran into some major setbacks. Her ludicrous refusal to admit who she voted for in the 2012 election cost her credibility and integrity. In fact, her wholesale hostility toward the President (a valid strategy in Kentucky, a state where the President is particularly unpopular) came across as disloyal and overtly political.
While these missteps may seem minor, any mistake in the face of the well-connected, well-funded, Speaker of the House was bound to be costly. She was running against on of the monoliths of modern politics— a perfect campaign was crucial.
For Grimes, as with Democrats in general, this setback is bound to be temporary. The pendulum of political favor will swing back their way, maybe even as soon as 2016, in time for the next Presidential election. Grimes is young and the party salvageable. But for now, she and all the Democrats have no choice but to lick their wounds as Republicans smugly take their seats and prepare another two years of gridlock and childish bickering.