The 2006 Election: Was it an Innovative Midterm Election?

Essay by laurensp1 April 2009

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I think that the 2006 Election fit the bill to be classified as an innovative midterm election as defined by Mayhew. The 2006 midterm election displayed many of the characteristics Mayhew specifies, but at this point it is also hard to say if the changes made were long lasting since it has only been a few years since this election. Mayhew lists four criteria that a midterm election needs to have in order to be qualified as innovative. The four qualifications are as follows: The election has to bring a new party into power in congress, along with a new political agenda, achieve successes in enacting that agenda, and make lasting changes.

Mayhew points out that most midterm elections have very similar methods with their campaigns; they make vague statements about what they are going to do and what the previous Congress has done wrong in the past term. But some midterm elections have campains that break the typical mold such as the 1994 election, in which the Republicans used their “Contract with America”, as a more specific plan of what they were going to do if elected and as the theme of their campaign.

The 2006 election was similar in the campaign style of the Democrats, who had a six-point plan called "A New Direction For America", or the "Six for 06 agenda". This plan like the Republicans in 1994, laid out a specific game plan. They promised "honest leadership and open government, real security, energy independence, economic prosperity and educational excellence, a healthcare system that works for everyone, and retirement security". This plan included a phased withdrawal of the troops in Iraq, implementing the 9/11 Commission proposal to protect America from terrorism, eliminating tax incentives for oil companies, and raising the minimum wage among other things.

The first...