This week’s election returns cement numbers proving that President Barack Hussein Obama is the greatest builder of the Republican Party since President Ronald Wilson Reagan.
When Reagan was elected in 1980, it was with the message that “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’” This message sufficiently resonated with voters that had not voted Republican in previous elections that in 1980, the GOP picked up a whopping 12 seats in the U.S. Senate, giving it control of that chamber for the first time since 1954. Reagan continued to build that electoral coalition of what became known as “Reagan Democrats,” until in his 1984 reelection, the Gipper ultimately carried 49 of the 50 states.
Although Democrats achieved great gains in Reagan’s final midterm election in 1986, the Great Communicator had built a massive foundation for the Party of Lincoln that would ultimately be crucial to Republican victories for decades to come. Legions of voters decided they were Republicans, and the younger ones elected to lower offices became the higher-ranking officers of subsequent election cycles.
But since Reagan, coastal elites have steadily steered the Republican brand back in an establishment direction. While the GOP sometimes won elections, it had trouble explaining why it should win because it could not explain what principles it stood for.
Then came Obama, and the Republican Party has resurged, fueled by millions of Americans who have weighed Obama’s agenda, and found it wanting. These millions of Americans have concluded, as Reagan once famously said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
The numbers bear this out. Since Obama took office, Republicans have picked up 12 out of 50 governorships, 13 out of 100 U.S. Senate seats, and 69 out of 435 U.S. House seats. In down-ticket races for state Senate and state House, the GOP has picked up 910 seats.
This is not an anti-establishment wave. If it were, then incumbent Republicans would be getting thrashed alongside Democrats. Instead, incumbent Republicans are getting reelected, while Democrats are getting annihilated en masse. This is an anti-statist wave, an anti-socialist wave. It is a rejection of big government.
An example of this is Kentucky. Earlier polls had suggested that Democrats and liberals would have a good night nationwide, and particularly that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway—a liberal Democrat—would best Republican Matt Bevin.
Obamacare was central to Kentucky’s gubernatorial race. The White House’s agenda—epitomized by the President’s namesake law—dominated an election for a state—not federal—office. Kentucky is one of only a couple Midwestern states to create an Obamacare exchange, and there is no reason to think that exchange will be spared the fate of the 12 exchanges out of 23 nationwide that have already gone under.
Although Democrats have controlled the governorship for 40 of the past 44 years in the Bluegrass State, voters decided they had enough of big government. Nationwide, voters said the same.
What would Ronald Reagan say?
Ken Klukowski is legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.