Texas Liberal

All People Matter

The 1974 Midterm Elections—Some Of The Last Fun We Would Have

The 1974 midterm election was a Democratic triumph in a time of Republican ascendancy. The Congressional Class of ’74 made a long-term impact on Washington. But as it turned out, ‘74 was just a warm-up for the Reagan years. 

In 1974 Democrats picked-up 43 House seats and 4 Senate seats. Many of the newly-elected Democrats considered themselves liberals. Two years later Democrat Jimmy Carter took the White House. Yet it was the unique circumstance of Watergate combined with a deep recession that propelled Democrats. Richard Nixon’s big win over George McGovern in 1972 was more telling of the future.

The impact of Watergate on Republicans in 1974 is funny because Congressional Republicans really had nothing to do with Watergate. It shows how you can get nailed sometimes just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wish I was old enough to recall Election Day 1974. It must have been a lot of fun.

Less fun is that ‘74 and Carter’s win in ‘76 were not indicative of the political times. Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. He brought with him a Republican Senate. Reagan dominated the 80’s.

If possible Democratic gains in 2006 are to be sustained, it will require hard work from all of us. Winning one election is just the beginning of what needs to be done.

October 19, 2006 - Posted by | Elections, Political History, Politics


  1. Well, I don’t remember the election so well, but I remember the politics of that year of 1974. It was not fun. I didn’t become involved in election politics until 1978 in the state (Vermont) and 1980 (on the Jerry Brown campaign). 1974 found me at M.I.T. Neurosciences in Boston as an audiovisual assistant listening to the Watergate hearings at lunch or in the evening. I voted for Father Drinen (and joined NOW) but if the Watergate hearings had not come along and worked somewhat well, I would have been totally radicalized. I decided that I might have to go underground in a secret way much like Samuel Adams to remove Nixon from office. I remind myself sometimes of those thoughts when I hear comments about the Weathermen.

    I always thought that Ford’s pardon of Nixon was against the express statement of the Constitution on pardons. The fact that Nixon resigned and was not formally impeached as a completed act to me is irrelevant. What was he pardoned for if not the impeachment? He was not indited for anything else. While many of Bush’s actions are more grievous than Nixon’s were, there is a sense of strong existing counter powers in goverment nowdays, or with the public. That I do not recall being present in 1974.

    Comment by John Potthast | May 8, 2008

  2. You people are very ignorant to keep thinking Bush committed grevious crimes. He couldn’t have done half of what people accuse him. All you do is regurgitate what you hear other liberal people say. Why don’t you do real research on Bush, and quit bad-mouthing him. History will show he did well as a President.

    Comment by Kevin Pontier | January 26, 2011

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