Yes, the Republicans made large gains in the recent midterm elections--fueled by a combination of disaffected Democrats, soured independents and a highly motivated conservative base that sincerely believes that Barack Obama is not only responsible for the nation's economic woes, but is also a communist Kenyan Muslim. But while the GOP's gains were comparable in numbers to the 1994 sweep that ushered in the era of Speaker Gingrich, there are significant differences. Most notable is that in 1994, the GOP's gains could be considered the culmination of a gradual shift in the nation's ideology, as the party's gains were relatively evenly distributed across the country. 2010's wave, however, could hardly be considered such a shift, as it followed immediately upon two Democratic wave years. But perhaps more importantly, those gains were concentrated in areas with a particular demographic profile: older, white and working-class. And while the GOP celebrates its gains, these results should actually be the cause of some degree of alarm--especially when combined with the results from California.
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