Turning sharply to the left in rhetoric and economic policy cost the Democrats over 60 house seats.
Nominating under-qualified rightwing extremists in Delaware, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska and West Virginia cost the Republicans 4 Senate seats or 5 if Murkowski caucuses with the Democrats.
Meanwhile, moderate and qualified Republicans won in Illinois, New Hampshire and North Dakota. A Moderate Republican did unexpectedly well in blue Washington state, on a night when most Republican Senate candidates underperformed.
The first lesson is that most of the time, going to the center wins you votes. There are some exceptions, such as if you need a clear message to be percieved as an alternative or if you are winning anyway, like Rubio. But the rule works, on average.
The second lesson is that 100% of the time, with no exception, you win by nominating qualified candidates. Nominating individuals with little ability and second-rate cognitive skills such as Christine O'donnell and Sarah Palin always costs you votes. This is particularly true if these candidates combine this with extremist positions on social issues.
I hope the 2010 results at least means Sarah Palin has less power and is less likely to run for President.