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(CNN) -- Democrats, as President Obama said Wednesday, took a shellacking in Tuesday's contentious midterm elections. They lost control of the House to Republicans but managed to cling onto a reduced majority in the Senate.

The election will reverberate throughout American politics, with the newcomers vowing to lower government spending, cut taxes and torpedo the president's health-care legislation. The Republican victory generated an outpouring of commentary. Here are some thoughts from CNN.com's opinion section
Message to Obama: Americans want jobs

The midterm election was clearly a repudiation. The question is, a repudiation of what?

Fifty years of data from one election after another has shown that people vote with their gut, and this year the gut of the American voter -- left, right and center -- was angry and anxious. It's not hard to understand why: One in 10 Americans of working age is out of a job and six in 10 are living from paycheck to paycheck.

In times like these, most people can tell you what they are feeling, but when asked what would make them feel better, they can only guess. So in exit polls, some said we need to cut deficits and that would make them feel better. Others said they'd like to see the government do something, anything, to create jobs, something an anemic private sector has proved unable to do -- and has not done since the passage nearly a decade ago of the Bush tax cuts, which stimulated nothing but inequality.

California voters have just rejected Proposition 19, the ballot initiative that would have legalized marijuana under state law. Where did Prop 19 go wrong?

Prop 19 failed in part because many proponents emphasized the wrong arguments for legalization. Many advocates promised major benefits to California's budget because of reduced expenditure on marijuana prohibition and increased revenue from marijuana taxation. Other supporters claimed Mexican drug violence would fall substantially.

Both claims were overblown. The budgetary benefits, while not insignificant, would have been small compared with California's fiscal mess. Mexican drug violence is mainly associated with the cocaine and methamphetamine trades, as well as from marijuana traffic to other states.

Many voters sensed that Prop 19 supporters were overreaching, and this made them suspicious of all the arguments in its favor. Common sense should have recognized that since marijuana was close to legal already, Prop 19 would not have had dramatic effects.

Next time, Democrats should try wooing the loyal youth vote

Many will call the 2010 election the rejection of the Obama agenda heard round the world. But young voter turnout tells a very different story.

CNN's exit polls show 55 percent of voters 25 to 29 voted for Democrats, compared with 42 percent for Republicans. Even more striking, 58 percent of voters age 18 to 24 voted for Democrats compared to 39 percent for Republicans.

Ironically, the group often labeled fickle and impatient have remained solidly committed to the agenda of change they overwhelmingly voted for in 2008. In the face of record unemployment and the very circumstances that pundits speculate make the country more resistant to change, young voters sent a very clear message of support for Obama's agenda
Tea Party activist: Republicans beware!

Tuesday's elections show America is indeed a center-right country. Americans widely rejected the Democrats' big-spending policies and sent the Democratic majority in the House packing. And rightly so
For nearly two years, Americans told the Democrats they did not approve of expanded government programs with large price tags such as bailouts, the stimulus bill, Cash for Clunkers, cap and trade and "Obama care."

Time and time again, the Democrats, misreading their election win as a mandate to increase the size and scope of the federal government dramatically, rammed through unpopular legislation against the will of the majority of the American people. Tuesday, they paid the price for their arrogance and miscalculations.

The Republicans won by virtue of not being Democrats. They did little to earn their victory. To many, their Pledge to America is weak tea and doesn't go far enough in reducing spending and the size of the federal government.

William Bennett: Vice President Rubio in 2013

Tuesday was a great night for Republicans because as Marco Rubio said, we now have a second chance. It's still important to remember this country is not quite yet a Republican country, but as of Tuesday night, it is saying it is most definitely not a Democratic Party country either.

Let us celebrate, but then let us get to work, the serious work we promised.

Erick Erickson: GOP gains not sky-high

The expectations game was one the Republicans built up for themselves, with, in closing days, a number of Republicans really buying the hype that they could get to a gain of 80 or 90 seats in the House.

(CNN)

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