I've been trying to figure out how Democrats crashed and burned so badly this week, and I'm afraid the answers are unpleasant and disheartening.
Barack Obama provided precious little leadership. Americans like strength in their leaders — or at least the appearance of strength — and we didn't see much of that from Obama. (W, you will recall, always acted strong even when he was acting like a total asshole.) Strength is what attracts the so-called "independent" voters. If they had any concept of policy differences, they couldn't possibly swing back and forth between increasingly polarized political parties — they'd be able to figure out which party had their best interests at heart, and stick with it.
Some people vote Republican for good reasons. The best reason is that they are rich. Republicans have been good friends to the rich for decades now, which is not to say that the Democrats have not been good friends to the rich as well — just not quite so good.
Another reason people vote Republican is because they are religious. Granted, the GOP has been promising to overturn Roe v. Wade for roughly a generation of aborted babies now, and never actually come through, but hope does spring eternal. Oh, yeah, and then there's the matter of the faggots. Well, I suppose if you think voting for a Democrat consigns you to hell for all eternity, voting Republican makes a certain sort of sense.
Anybody who does not fit into the aforementioned categories must automatically be consigned to the third "r" of Republicanism: they're retarded. (Note to the politically correct: I am not using this term with reference to persons with severe intellectual disabilities, persons who, hopefully, are not voting at all. Rather, I use it to describe people who fall into the normal range of cognitive functioning but still don't know shit from Shinola. In this sense, "retarded" describes so called "independent" voters.)
Add to that the absence of the youth vote from the midterm election (no good parties or concerts), the absence of the black vote (perhaps they figured out Obama's not really black), and a shift in the female vote (like, what have the Democrats done for them lately), and the tale is told.
A Japanese style "lost decade" of deflation won't do us fixed-income retirees any harm at all, and quantitative easing might boost stock prices enough to maintain the values of our TSAs. Hell, quite a few of us are likely to be dead before it's all over. On the other hand, those of us who have kids still in the labor market will continue to chew our knuckles.