Obama's Democrats got thumped. How did Republicans do it?

US President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally for Tom Wolf, Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania Governor, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 2, 2014Intense frustration with President Barack Obama, an abandonment of Democrats by independent voters and failure to convince Americans that the economy was improving propelled Republicans to a game-changing midterm election victory. When the smoke cleared early Wednesday, Republicans had seized seven Senate seats, tightened their grip on the House of Representatives and earned stunning wins in governors’ races in blue states like Obama’s Illinois, leaving whiplashed Democrats to contemplate what went wrong. Exit polls confirmed what several Republican winners hammered home Tuesday night: voters are convinced the nation is headed in the wrong direction and are skeptical of the abilities of the president and his Democrats to turn things around.

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