The Finnish vote. Around 100 years ago, Finnish immigrants flocked to the mines and woods of the country around Lake Superior, where the topography and weather must have seemed familiar. They've been a mostly Democratic, sometimes even radical, voting bloc ever since. No more, it seems. Going into the election, the three most Finnish districts, Michigan 1, Wisconsin 7 and Minnesota 8, all fronting on Lake Superior, were represented by two Democratic committee chairmen and the chairman of an Energy and Commerce subcommittee, with a total of 95 years of seniority.
Wisconsin's David Obey and Michigan's Bart Stupak both chose to retire, and were replaced by Republicans who had started running before their announcements. Minnesota's James Oberstar was upset by retired Northwest Airlines pilot and stay-at-home dad Chip Cravaack.
So here's a new rule for the political scientists: As go the Finns, so goes America.
December 9, 2010
Election expert Michael Barone writes about the midterms:
Gus Hall (1910-2000), who was the perennial Communist Party USA candidate for President when I was a kid, was born Arvo Kustaa Halberg in the iron-mining belt of Minnesota and grew up speaking Finnish in his family of twelve. A lot of the Finnish Communists who subsequently lost the Finnish civil war of 1918 to von Mannerheim fled to America, so the CPUSA always had a sizable Finnish contingent.
So, Obama managed to lose the hereditarily Communist vote.