Lessons of Election 2010: Welcome Back, Red (and Blue) America!

For a shocking political realignment, the

election map

came out looking kind of familiar, didn’t it? Especially later at night, when the unstoppable Republican wave, sweeping westward, hit Harry Reid and broke, leaving the Pacific coast dry and blue. Harry Reid’s doom was central to the Narrative. Nevada hated Harry Reid more than anything, because Nevada was America and Reid was the walking embodiment of Obama’s socialist legislative agenda and America was just plain fed up. Except in the end, more than half the voters stuck with him.

So the map ended up red in the South, Southeast and the big, wide middle, and blue in the Northeast and far West—a big flood, but not a biblical one. It didn’t wipe out the underlying geography. In Oklahoma, voters went out and cast 70 percent of their ballots for Tom Coburn, then voted to make

English the official language

and to outlaw sharia and international law. In New York, I followed signs in four languages to the polling place, where I picked up an English-Spanish ballot full of safe, secure Democrats. Gobernador: Andrew Cuomo.

For all Barack Obama’s happy talk about transcending the blue/red divide, this is a big, heterogeneous nation—one that achieved brief, fleeting agreement two years ago in its shame and horror over what it had been through under George W. Bush. There was no nationwide agreement this time. Republicans restored their grip on the South, and they made big gains in the Midwest and the Hillary Belt. They were the opposition party in a midterm election in a disastrous economy.

But the Republicans did not bump off Harry Reid, or

throw out Barney Frank

, or make

Carl Paladino the governor of New York

, as the Narrative hoped they might. They did not send Christine O’Donnell to the Senate or seize California. The Republican Party controls the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court; the Democratic Party controls the presidency and the Senate. The election is over. Now the politics starts.