Cover Story: Political shifts

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown riding a wave of voter anger winning a U.S. Senate seat in the Bay State, one of the country's most traditionally liberal states.

Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general who had been considered a surefire winner until just days ago.

North Carolina had a similar experience nearly 40 years ago.  The saying goes that elections have consequences.

And often when a ruling party (the Democrats in this case) take control of two of the three branches of power the tendency of any party is rule with a mandate forgetting there are consequences.

As we see in our Cover Story the pendulum swings back and forth.

A seismic shift in Massachusetts, the pundits called it.  And one that could have national implications in the country's debate over health care legislation.

The GOP's Scott Brown taking over a Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat that hasn't been in Republican's hands since 1972.

North Carolina had a similar experience changing hands from long-time Democrat to the GOP when Jim Holshouser was elected Governor of the state coincidentally also in 1972.  No Republican had been the state's chief executive in 72 years.

"In North Carolina it was more of a gradual tide whereas here is more of a tsunami tectonic shift."

If anyone would know it would be Jim Martin from Mecklenburg county.  A six-term former Congressman, the only two-term Republican governor North Carolina has ever had.

"It was at a point where no Republican could be elected judge," he says.

There is one big difference he says in comparing the politics of the Tar Heel state with the Bay State.

In Holshouser's election in the early 70s North Carolina had been building a Republican base, whereas Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts (the bluest of all blue states) some pundits say appears to be more directed in response to the country's health care debate.

Exit polls showing Brown attracted disappointed Democrats and independents uneasy with where they feel the nation is heading.

Jim Martin calls it a pendulum that swings in politics.  "It's part of what we've seen in previous decades with the political pendulum swinging one way and then due to an over reactions swinging back the other way. It never quite centers but because we have two political parties one of which is more conservative. The other which is more liberal contending that's going to put that pendulum and keep it swinging."

The country seems to like governing from the middle.

It's not just Democrats who've taken it on the chin.  It happened in the mid-term election during Ronald Reagan's first term in office.. and other times.

Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts marks the third statewide loss in a row for Pres. Obama's party.. the Democrats have also lost recent governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia.

Brown once he's seated will rob the Democrats in the United States Senate from a filibuster-proof majority, meaning Republicans could be in a position to block any of President Obama's initiatives.