A surprisingly productive May for Democrats

It’s only one month, and there will be plenty of twists and turns between now and November 2012, but I can’t help but notice that the month of May has been awfully kind to the Democratic Party.

Last night, in a major upset, Buffalo-area voters elected a Democratic congresswoman in a ruby-red district that never elects Democrats. The driving issue of the campaign: the Republican agenda in Congress.

That’s the highest-profile win for the party, but it’s also the latest in a line of recent victories.

* New Hampshire: Last week, there was a special election in a state House district where Republicans have dominated for years. The Democratic candidate won in a landslide, even after a local town clerk illegally required photo IDs to vote.

* Florida: Also last week, Jacksonville was home to a high-profile mayoral race, and the state GOP touted the election as the first warning shot of the 2012 cycle. Instead, voters elected Democrat Alvin Brown — Jacksonville’s first African-American mayor — stunning the Republican establishment statewide.

* Wisconsin: Three weeks ago, there was a special election in a Wisconsin state Assembly district that has been represented by a Republican for 16 years. In this case, the Democrat won by eight points.

* Maine: Two weeks ago, there was a special election to fill a vacancy in the state Senate, in a district that has been very competitive in the recent past. In this case, the Democrat won by a crushing 2-to-1 margin.

This is not to say that Dems are back on track after a brutal 2010. Indeed, Democrats did quite well in 2009 special elections, only to receive a “shellacking” a year later.

But Republicans started 2011 thinking the wind was at their backs, and it was the GOP with all the national momentum. After a series of losses in races Republicans expected to win with relative ease, the party would be wise to take a moment to realize Americans aren’t buying what the GOP is selling.

Indeed, it looks an awful lot like buyer’s remorse is the most common public sentiment.

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