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.