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We won -- massively, crushingly, across-the-board.
, John Lauber, Super Hit
, victims of Bain Capital -- you are avenged.
, Big Bird, you are saved.
If I might briefly blow my own horn a bit, my election prediction
was very close. Every Senate race I called, I called correctly, though Wisconsin was looking iffy for a while. The Electoral College came out as predicted except for North Carolina. Obama's popular-vote margin was a little over 2%, not the 4% or 5% I was expecting, but well beyond the margin of dispute.
But the important thing is that the country voted for the future over the past, for progress over those who would have dragged us backward.
Not only was Obama re-elected, but we won an enlarged Senate majority including
Elizabeth Warren, a voice the country desperately needs.
Tammy Baldwin has become the first openly-gay Senator. Gay marriage won referenda in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, while an amendment against it in Minnesota was defeated -- the first time that cause has won at the ballot box, a dramatic affirmation of the sweeping shift in public attitudes toward gays over the last few years.
Marijuana-legalization initiatives passed in Colorado, Washington, and (for medical purposes) Massachusetts, although (drat it) not here in Oregon. As usual, the public is out ahead of the politicians on that issue.
Todd Akin suffered a legitimate defeat -- I guess Missouri voters found a way to shut that whole thing down. And it turned out Senator Mourdock was not
what God intended to happen.
I feel no sense of chivalry or magnanimity whatsoever toward the defeated opposition. They are horrible, twisted, vicious, nasty people. They rallied round a ticket consisting of a sociopathic parasite who spent his career piling up obscene wealth by ruining the lives of others (which the Moloch he created is still doing
), and a Randroid who planned to "privatize" -- that is, destroy -- Medicare and throw tens of millions of bewildered old people, clutching useless vouchers, onto the mercy of a private insurance market that doesn't want them. Their fundamentalist base views anyone who isn't a heterosexual Christian as less than fully American, and their party platform would reduce American women to involuntary breeding stock for violent criminals. The last time they were in power, their obstructionism cost us precious years of progress in stem-cell technology, a delay which will end up costing far more lives than the Iraq war they blundered into. They fully deserved the stomping they just got, and far more.
But the "more" will come. This was their last shot, the last election in which the Republican party as presently constituted
will be a viable contender. Year by year the black / Hispanic / racially-mixed percentage of the population inches upward, while the non-religious and gay-tolerant percentage surges
. A theocratic, homophobic party which refuses to confront the barely-disguised racist element in its midst, doesn't have a future. They already
lost almost every swing state and almost every seriously-contested Senate race yesterday, and by 2016 Arizona will be a swing state, and maybe not just Arizona. Texas
is 30% Hispanic and 12% black. Add in Austin's liberal enclave, Dallas's vibrant gay community, and millions of blue-collar white people who are definitely reachable on the basis of economic self-interest, and a determined effort over the next four years could turn the state bluish-purple -- and that's the end of the Republicans as a viable national party, unless they drastically change.
Such change would need to start with the teabaggers, who have now cost the party at least five
Senate seats it could otherwise have won -- Delaware, Nevada, and Colorado in 2010, Missouri and Indiana yesterday. Then there's the Christian Right, whose anti-gay and anti-abortion fanaticism makes it anathema to the emerging consensus culture. But can moderates overcome those two aggressive blocs, the latter of which now actually dominates the party? The first sign is not good: In the inevitable right-wing finger-pointing following yesterday's defeat, I'm seeing a lot of blame directed, bizarrely, against Chris Christie
, for his simple acknowledgement of Obama's help and cooperation in aiding New Jersey after the devastation of hurricane Sandy -- as if he had somehow thereby stabbed Romney in the back. If this new Dolchstoßlegende
takes root and Christie, one of the most rational and moderate Republicans left in a position of prominence, is made a pariah or drummed out of the party, it will signal that the Nutties are purging the Sanes rather than the other way around.
Remember that many Republicans believe -- or at least will vote for politicians who believe -- that the Earth is 6,000 years old, that anthropogenic global warming is a myth, that corporations are people, that rape is a form of birth control, that the reason the economy crashed in 2008 was that Clinton forced the banks to make housing loans to black people, and that the only reason anyone votes for left-wing parties is that they're on government benefits and want to keep the goodies coming. Many of them have been saying for months that Romney was doomed because he was too moderate
, and are now claiming vindication. Don't be surprised if the Nutties win the coming Republican civil war and nominate a Palin / Santorum ticket, or something like it, in 2016.
Oh, well, that isn't my problem.
We didn't win everything. The House is still Republican, and sweet as it would have been to see Bachmann go down, she just barely hung on. Democrats will still have to struggle with a sluggish economic recovery in the face of bitter obstructionism (job one for the new Senate: filibuster reform). But the Supreme Court is safe. Roe v. Wade is safe. Obamacare is safe, and can be built on and improved. We dodged four years (at least) of catastrophic regression in technology and social progress. We've got a fighting chance to actually do something about global warming. And we know now that we can win, and win big, in spite of vote-suppression laws and Citizens United. We can allow ourselves to celebrate.