I have slightly more faith in the American electorate today -- apparently it's actually true that dirty politics will eventually come back to bite you in the ass, something I'd hoped but not actually believed. I'd lay this one directly at the GOP's feet, because as another republican said a year or two ago, they'd manage to get as corrupt in a mere decade as it had previously taken the democrats forty years to manage (and they'd managed to be significantly less genteel about it in the process). Most people weren't voting for the democrats, I think -- they were voting against the GOP. And, well, it was important that they did, because IMNSHO the constitution was starting to look a bit shaky. The question is whether the dems will actually grow a pair -- they've been a really, really incompetent opposition party the last few years, and a healthy opposition party is necessary for healthy politics.
I don't know if there's a precedent for this, but I don't think a single democrat incumbent for governor, senator, or house member lost (that's over 500 total races for both parties there, so that's out of something like 200-250 relevant races), and (pending almost inevitable recounts) a minimum of four and possibly six GOP senate incumbents alone got sent packing. Has either one of those ever happened? The GOP should be really glad that they had 40 senators (and a president) who weren't running, because they got completely and utterly smashed across the board -- not just nationally, where they've lost six governors, about thirty house members, at least four and probably six incumbent senators (meaning loss of control of both the House and Senate), they've lost at least nine of the ninety-eight state legislative bodies, lost ground in several more, and so far gained nothing there, either, with a number of chambers still up in the air.
In Colorado alone, they've lost a congressman (for the second straight election), the governor, and several more state house and senate members (which the democrats took for the first time in forty years in 2004). Colorado's been tending democrat for a while, but not that democrat -- this is still a fairly conservative state.
Which means that this wave is temporary, since a number of districts will almost certainly revert to the Republicans in 2008 (like TX-22 or FL-16, which the democrats won almost entirely due to late GOP scandals and resignations). Which is fine -- it's good to shake things up now and then, and I'm generally in favor of a lot of incumbent losses, whatever the party. I'm definitely a fan of split governments. And 2008's a whole new ballgame now.
I do hope this helps the GOP recover its soul. I could have voted for the republican party of fifty years ago, back when it actually was the party of fiscal responsibility and all that, something they've now ceded to the democrats -- the current leaders of the party are poison now. I'm not holding my breath, though.