Reviewing the 2010 election: Let's talk about headline numbers, relatively unpublicized numbers, and what's more important than numbers.
The numbers warm GOP hearts. A net gain of probably six senators, six governors, and 65 or so seats in the House of Representatives: That's the biggest Republican surge since 1938, when the GOP netted 80 new seats in reaction to President Franklin Roosevelt's overreach. (But FDR won reelection in 1940.)
The personalities that those numbers represent are important. Marco Rubio of Florida is a potential future U.S. president. The Senate will be a livelier place with Rand Paul of Kentucky, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and other new faces. The House will have more citizen legislators like Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump, Tenn., heading from farm to Washington. (See a profile of Fincher in "Climbing the hill.")
Some lesser-known numbers are also vital. State legislatures: This year Democrats have been in the majority in 60 legislative chambers, Republicans in 36, but the GOP appeared to be picking up 19 more, including both houses in Alabama, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Judges: Iowans voted out of office three state supreme court justices who invented a state constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
Although abortion was rarely mentioned in this year's campaigning, the next Congress will be stronger in pro-life numbers and leadership. The Susan B. Anthony List targeted purportedly pro-life Democrats who voted for the Obama healthcare bill with its potential funding of abortion-and helped to knock off 15 of the inconsistent. The SBA List was 34 for 48 overall, and Americans United for Life Action was 11 for 12 in the congressional races on which it focused.
National Right to Life, Citizenlink (Focus on the Family's political wing), and the Family Research Council also spent money and claimed success. They sent a message to congressmen and to senators up for reelection next year: Don't tread on unborn babies! And when healthcare debates arise during the next two years, the House will have more pro-life doctors: Dan Benishek of Michigan, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, and Larry Bucshon of Indiana were among those elected.
All of this is pleasing for many WORLD readers-let freedom ring!-but let's go slow on jubilation. To win elections down the road, conservatives and Christians need breakthroughs among young voters, minority voters, and voters who care about the poor. Barack Obama two years ago caused a surge in voting among those 18 to 29 years old: They made up 18 percent of the electorate in 2008 but only 11 percent in 2010. Lasting victories depend upon voters coming out, not staying home: The youth vote-probably sadder, maybe wiser-will be back for the next presidential election.
Conservatives continue to have mediocre support from Hispanics and even less from African-Americans, even though both groups tend to be socially conservative. The victories of Florida's Rubio and South Carolina's Tim Scott, the first Republican African-American elected to the House from the deep South in over a century, are important. So is the return to the Senate of Dan Coats of Indiana, who fought for small government compassionate conservatism before the term sadly became synonymous with government expansion.
See WORLD's interactive national map for complete election results from across the country.