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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Madison and the Midterm

On the NewsHour, historian Michael Beschloss spoke about the midterm election with Jim Lehrer:

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: It's exactly what James Madison wanted. And, in a sense, he would be glad to see what happened on Tuesday night, because he wanted the Senate to be somewhat protected from these waves, but he wanted the House to be an instant Geiger counter, to use a modern word, you know, something that...

JIM LEHRER: I can't believe James Madison used...


MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Yes. Well, that's why I'm saying it wasn't the word he used.


JIM LEHRER: OK. All right.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: But you never know.

But he wanted this to register big changes in the American -- in American public opinion. And I think it really did. The interesting thing, though, maybe a precedent for this, is, we have been talking about 1946, when Truman lost Congress , and there were a lot of things written at the time: This is the start of big era of Republican domination of Congress. The era lasted exactly two years.

Two years later, an even bigger wave swept the Democrats back into leadership.

Or as political scientist William Connelly puts it, James Madison Rules America.