Seeing Red: The Most Disastrous Elections for Democrats

    By | Small Business

    Associated Press

    Presidential candidate Bobby Jindal recently warned that America would become the next Greece if Hillary Clinton wins the election. He’s not alone in bashing Democrats. The 2016 Republican candidates have framed the upcoming election as a battle for America’s soul.

    After major victories in the 2014 midterms, Republicans have some reason to be hopeful. Add to that the rarity of any one party winning three presidential terms in a row, and 2016 could potentially be a disaster for Democrats. In fact, the last time the Democratic Party won three terms in a row occurred during FDR’s and Truman’s presidencies.

    With this in mind, InsideGov ranked the 17 most disastrous elections for Democrats from FDR to Obama, using data from the American Presidency Project.

    In some cases, Democrats lost ground due to an unpopular president (see: Jimmy Carter). In others, external events like war and economic turmoil drove people to the GOP. Regardless, these are the elections where it paid to be a Republican.

    We’ll start with a few minor Democratic defeats and work our way to the most disastrous of all.

    *Note: Elections are ranked in ascending order by the number of Congressional seats lost to Republicans.

    2004 Election

    2004 Congressional Seats Won By Republicans | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 3
    Senate Seats Lost: 4
    Total Lost: 7

    In the 2004 election, Republicans solidified their majority in Congress, stealing an extra seven seats from the Democrats. Moreover, President Bush won re-election against John Kerry in a close race.

    1992 Election

    1992 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 10
    Senate Seats Lost: 0
    Total Lost: 10

    Despite winning the presidential election—Bill Clinton prevailed over incumbent George H. W. Bush—the Democrats lost 10 seats in the House to Republicans. Even with the lost seats, the Democrats still maintained a majority in both the House and Senate.

    2002 Election

    2002 Congressional Seats Won By Republicans | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 8
    Senate Seats Lost: 2
    Total Lost: 10

    President George W. Bush was riding a wave of popularity in 2002, with an approval rating consistently above 60%. The GOP used the opportunity to bolster their majority in Congress, gaining 10 seats overall.

    1984 Election

    1984 Seats Won By Republicans | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 14
    Senate Seats Lost: +2
    Total Lost: 12

    The GOP had cause to celebrate in 1984: Ronald Reagan was re-elected in a landslide victory and Republicans stole 14 House seats from the Democrats. Despite these setbacks, the Democrats gained two seats in the Senate and maintained their majority in both houses of Congress.

    1972 Election

    1972 Congressional Seats Won By Republicans | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 12
    Senate Seats Lost: 2
    Total Lost: 14

    The 1972 election is remarkably similar to 1984. President Nixon had an easy re-election victory, and Republicans gained back seats in both the House and the Senate. Like 1984, the Dems still held on to their majority in the House.

    1978 Election

    1978 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost:15
    Senate Seats Lost: 3
    Total Lost: 18

    Jimmy Carter had a rocky start to his presidency. By the time the 1978 election rolled around, the U.S. was struggling through a major energy crisis and Carter’s approval rating took a serious hit. The public responded by voting in more Republicans in the midterm election.

    1960 Election

    1960 Congressional Seats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 22
    Senate Seats Lost: +2
    Total Lost: 20

    In terms of House elections, the GOP crushed its rival party in 1960, walking away with an extra 22 seats. The silver lining for Democrats: JFK bested Richard Nixon in the presidential election.

    2014 Election

    2014 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 13
    Senate Seats Lost: 9
    Total Lost: 21

    The most recent midterm election served a major blow to Democrats and President Obama. Gaining a net total of 21 seats, Republicans further cemented their majority in Congress (the largest Republican majority since 1928). Can the GOP carry this momentum through 2016?

    1952 Election

    1952 Congressional Seats Won By Republicans | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 22
    Senate Seats Lost: 1
    Total Lost: 23

    By the time Truman left the White House in 1952, he had used up all of the Democratic goodwill earned by FDR. His exit approval rating of 32% was a major drop from his starting rating of 87%. It’s no surprise then that Republicans regained a majority in the House and pushed Eisenhower into the White House.

    1950 Election

    1950 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 29
    Senate Seats Lost: 6
    Total Lost: 35

    This is where things start getting ugly for the Dems. Truman’s handling of the Korean War severely hurt his public image and the GOP gained major victories in the House and Senate, allowing them to reclaim a majority two years later.

    1980 Election

    1980 Congressional Seats Won By Republicans | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 34
    Senate Seats Lost: 12
    Total Lost: 46

    As Ronald Reagan won the presidency, the GOP gained major wins in both houses. This was also the first election since the Civil War where Republicans won a large majority of representatives from a southern state (South Carolina), marking an important turning point in U.S. politics. Today, the Deep South is reliably red.

    1966 Election

    1966 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 47
    Senate Seats Lost: 4
    Total Lost: 51

    Racial instability and an unwieldy war in Vietnam plagued LBJ’s second term. By the 1966 midterm election, the American public had soured on the Democratic party and voted in 51 new Republicans to Congress.

    1942 Election

    1942 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 45
    Senate Seats Lost: 12
    Total Lost: 57

    Midway into his third term, FDR was still a popular figure in the U.S. with an approval rating of 72% going into the 1942 election. That didn’t stop the GOP from stealing 57 seats in Congress. Miraculously, the Democrats maintained their majority in the House, despite the major setback.

    1994 Election

    1994 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 52
    Senate Seats Lost: 8
    Total Lost: 60

    Known as the Republican Revolution, the 1994 midterm election was a fiasco for Democrats. The election marked the first time Republicans gained a majority in the House since 1952, elevating Newt Gingrich to the position of Speaker of the House.

    Gingrich successfully turned Americans against President Clinton and championed a more conservative philosophy of governance.

    1946 Election

    1946 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 55
    Senate Seats Lost: 9
    Total Lost: 64

    The 1946 midterm election occurred 19 months after FDR died in office; the U.S. had less faith in Roosevelt’s successor, Harry Truman. Republicans won an impressive 64 seats overall, gaining a majority in the House.

    2010 Election

    2010 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 63
    Senate Seats Lost: 6
    Total Lost: 69

    Obamamania had worn off by 2010. The Affordable Care Act was failing to gain traction, the economy was sputtering along and the U.S. sank deeper into debt.

    But what really propelled Republicans to victory was the birth of the Tea Party movement and its grassroots approach to campaigning. Suffice to say, this was not a good year to be a Democrat.

    1938 Election

    1938 Congressional Seats Lost By Democrats | FindTheBest

    House Seats Lost: 71
    Senate Seats Lost: 6
    Total Lost: 77

    There’s no other way to put it: the 1938 election was a complete disaster for Democrats. When the economy tanked, Republicans claimed the New Deal had failed.

    Moreover, Roosevelt’s “Court Packing” initiative had backfired, resulting in public outrage. The GOP capitalized on these failings and stole a whopping 77 seats from their rivals.

    Research More Representatives on InsideGov

    This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Seeing Red: The Most Disastrous Elections for Democrats

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