In America’s bluest region, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party performed exceptionally well on Election Day 2008. Not only did Obama win 11 of the region’s 12 states (and the District of Columbia) by margins unseen since Lyndon Baines Johnson’s historic 1964 landslide victory over conservative Republican Barry Goldwater, the Democratic Party also gained seven House seats and one Senate seat. In doing so, it expanded on its 2006 gains, when it captured 11 House seats and two Senate seats from the GOP.1
On election day 2010, however, the news from the northeast was not so good for the Democrats. Republicans picked up 15 House seats and one Senate seat. What explains such a dramatic shift in the most ideologically liberal and politically Democratic region in the nation? In this chapter, by focusing on the Democratic successes of 2006 and 2008 and its failures of 2010, I consider this question. And as with the other essays in this volume, I do so with special attention to the role of race in these two elections.