Campaigns and elections

The Effect of the MA Special Election

Joshua Tucker Jan 20 '10

Just as “John predicted”:, now that Scott Brown has “won the MA special election”:, we will be subject to a relentless barrage of explanations as to how the US political wold has been “turned upside down”: in a matter of days.

As a public service announcement, therefore, we at the Monkey Cage “once again”: won’t try to interpret what the election _means_, but instead bring you the following graph that displays the actual effect of the MA Senate election on the balance of power between the two political parties in Washington and across the nation’s statehouses.


Yes, the Democrats’ have lost their filibuster proof majority in the Senate.* And yes, I’m aware of the fact that there could be a ripple effect whereby more moderate Dems move to the right out of fear of losing the next election. But as to the actual balance of power in Washington today, the graph tells the story.

The “1993 Canadian Elections”:,_1993 this was not.


* Losing the filibuster-proof majority is sure to be a major blow to the Democrats because they previously had been able to move so swiftly on so much legislation because the caucus was such a powerful, unified bloc. Or, alternatively, it means that now the Democrats need to make sure that in a given piece of legislation that at least three of Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins. Ben Nelson, and Joe Lieberman are on board, as opposed to previously when you only needed two of these four on board. More technically, the “pivot point”: in the Senate has probably moved from Nelson/Lieberman to Snowe/Collins, which is probably not that “big a gap”: