The scope of the Democratic victories on Tuesday is such that political scientists will be studying whether this was a "critical election," heralding an electoral realignment -- a fundamental shift of popular allegiance from one political party to another.
Lanny Davis, a special counsel to President Bill Clinton and a foaming-at-the-mouth attack dog for candidate Hillary Clinton, is first out of the gates with an op-ed piece making that argument in Thursday morning's Wall Street Journal, pronouncing this the start of a realignment. Never mind the fact that Lanny Davis has proven himself to be one of the world's bigger assholes in recent months. About this, he may be correct. (He does err, however, in asserting that 1980 constituted a realigning election. Political scientists are by no means in agreement about that.) Even so, if we accept the argument that the Republicans have dominated the White House since 1968, Obama's mobilization of votes for Democratic candidates may prove transformative. But we won't know that for a while.
In any case, if it turns out that this IS the start of a realignment, here's part of the reason why: according to the New York Times, “the share of adults who are working — 61.8 percent — is at its lowest level in 15 years…The share of adult men with jobs, which has been gradually falling for much of the last few decades, is now at its lowest level since a two-month period in early 1983.” October was the tenth consecutive month in which jobs declined. The U.S. has shed 1.2 million jobs in 2008.
Hat tip to Think Progress.