May 24th, 2010
01:11 PM ET

Zelizer: Democrats shouldn't be so blue anymore

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/24/joe.sestak.getty.jpg caption="Rep. Joe Sestak's victory illustrates that some of the grass-roots energy from the 2008 presidential election is still alive and kicking, Julian Zelizer says."]

Editor's note: Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. His new book is "Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security: From World War II to the War on Terrorism," published by Basic Books. Zelizer writes widely about current events.

By Julian Zelizer
Special to CNN

For several weeks, Democrats have been feeling blue about the 2010 midterm elections. Many have been worried about the possibility of a precipitous decline in the size of their majority in the House and Senate, or even about Republicans retaking control of Congress.

The primaries and special elections turned into a litmus test on the condition of Democrats. If that assumption is true, then Tuesday produced some good news. Even with the alleged "anti-incumbent" fever that has spread through parts of the electorate, Democrats came out of several key races with positive news.

The first good sign came from a special election in western Pennsylvania to fill the seat of the late John Murtha. Democrat Mark Critz, a former staffer for Murtha, defeated the businessman and Tea Party candidate Tim Burns. In his campaign, Burns ran as an "outsider" and tied Critz to Washington Democrats. In response, Critz focused much of his campaign on how to create jobs for the middle class and Murtha's record of bringing government funds back to the district.

The district is the kind of electoral mix - economically liberal and socially conservative - where Republicans are hoping to make big gains in November. So Critz's victory is not good news for the GOP.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Democrats • Raw Politics
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Tim Gibson

    I do not believe the dems should be reading anything into the tea leaves yet. Afer all, the fat lady has yet to sing.

    May 24, 2010 at 5:23 pm |