Activity:Voters severely punished U.S. House Representatives who voted in favor of this summer’s Defense Spending bill that called for a repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy.DADT prohibits military servicemembers from openly declaring their LGBT inclinations, at the same time barring the military from investigating a soldier’s LGBT behavior.
Change of Status:The 2010 Midterm Elections unleashed a powerful backlash against the Democratic Congress. A large majority of those Democrats who lost their seats in the election had voted in favor of repealing DADT.
Analysis:We placed on Watch all U.S. House Representatives who voted in favor of repealing DADT this summer (see Watch List Update, June 4, 2010).We stated in our earlier analysis, that voters should find repulsive a Congressman’s consent to overturn long-standing moral standards exemplified by DADT.The Watch List evaluation was borne out by midterm election results.
It is impossible to say that a voter’s choice to unseat a member of Congress can be linked back to that Congressman’s position on one single issue.Nevertheless, we reiterate our earlier statement that a Representative’s vote in favor of repealing DADT indicates that Representative’s trending towards clouded vision, disregard of moral standards and poor judgment.
65 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives lost their seats to Republicans in this election.Of these 65 seats, 48 of the defeated Democrats had voted in favor of repealing DADT (with the results of an additional 4 contests still in dispute).This figure represents nearly 75% of losing Democrats having voted in favor of DADT repeal.
We chose to focus on evaluating the seats that actually turned over, as opposed to looking at the total number of Democrats who voted in favor of repealing DADT who lost their seats.A vast percentage of the votes to repeal DADT came from Democrats who were able to secure re-election owing to their hailing from liberal bastion states such as California, New York and Massachusetts.Voter sentiment tends to be more forgiving towards a Congressman who supported obnoxious social legislation in liberal states.
For example, of California’s 53 House seats, 34 voted to repeal DADT, while in total only 2 California incumbents did not win re-election (with an additional 2 contests still in dispute). 26 of New York’s 29 Representatives voted in favor of repealing DADT, and the 5 incumbents to lose their seats had all voted in favor of repealing DADT.Massachusetts’s 10 Representatives all won re-election and had all voted in favor of repealing DADT.All 5 Connecticut Representatives won re-election, all of whom voted in favor of repealing DADT.
However, outside the liberal strongholds a different story unfolded.Florida saw 11 of its 25 Representatives vote in favor of repealing DADT.Nearly all of the Florida Representatives to lose their seats (8) had voted in favor of repealing DADT.(The lone Florida Representative who did not win re-election who had voted against repealing DADT was a Republican who was replaced by another Republican).
Illinois, as well, saw 11 of its 19 Representatives vote in favor of repealing DADT.4 of the 5 Illinois Representatives to lose their seats had voted in favor of repealing DADT.Just as in Florida, the lone Illinois Representative who did not win re-election who had voted against repealing DADT was a Republican who was replaced by another Republican.
Of the 7 Representatives for Colorado, the 2 who were unseated in this election were both Democrats who voted in favor of repealing DADT and were replaced by Republican challengers.
Ohio had 10 of its 18 Representatives vote in favor of repealing DADT.The 5 Ohio incumbents to lose their seats were all Democrats who voted in favor of repealing DADT and were replaced by a successful Republican challenge.
10 of Pennsylvania’s 19 Representatives voted in favor of repealing DADT.The five Pennsylvania Representatives to lose their seats were all Democrats who voted in favor of repealing DADT, and were replaced by Republicans.
The Obama Administration has called the 2010 Midterm elections a signal of voter “frustration.”It appears that party leaders believe voter sentiment is governed by some external forces like weather patterns, and are not connected to the actions of the Congress in the last term.What remains to come forward is an actual policy shift away from the far left, acknowledging that voters are disgusted by the high-handed tactics of this Administration and Congress to force unpopular measures down the public’s throat.
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