I am sitting here on a day that feels like spring, a little groggy from having stayed up late to watch the election results–except it turns out I didn’t stay up late enough, because I went to bed assuming that things would go as they had been and the Republicans wouldn’t get a majority in the Senate until after the run off election in Louisiana, and I woke up to find that the Republicans had pretty much swept the field.
For those of you who have no interest in the US elections, or who do but are always confused as hell about what is going on–which is most of us–this may not sound like a very big deal, but it is in fact a VERY big deal.
It is a big enough deal that there ought to be several of my friends running around with their hair on fire.
I don’t know, because AOL seems to be down this morning, so the only way I can get to my e mail is on my son’s phone, which is of minimal help.
I HATE touch screens.
That being said, a few notes on last night, and going forward:
1) Exactly how much trouble is the Democratic Party in if it couldn’t manage to unseat Sam Brownback as governor of Kansas?
Brownback honestly deserved to lose that election, not because of his ideology, but because his governance of Kansas has been a train wreck.
Deficit up, jobs down, revenue flatlining–you name an indicator of how well a state is doing, and Brownback failed at it, and he failed at it in a way that can be traced directly to his policies.
He’s also been ideologically rigid to the point of silliness.
One of the reasons former governors tend to do better as Presidents than former senators is that governors have to run what amounts to a small country, and you can look at what happened while they were in office and see what happens when they do the things they want to do.
Apparently, the people of Kansas didn’t care.
2) A fair number of the races that were supposed to be really close ended up not actually being close.
It was a little confusing, because a lot of those races were close at the beginning of the night but ended up as blow outs–Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Cory Gardner in Colorado, whoever the Republican was who took Georgia away from Sam Nunn’s daughter.
I went up to sleep and they started calling these things with really significant margins.
3) The media, including Fox, spent half the night pretending that races that weren’t close were. You’d look up at the screen and it would say R 66%, D 31% and wonder why anybody thought that race was too close to call.
And I do realize that it’s probably best not to call a race with only 23% of the vote in, but in some of these cases…well.
4) As I write this, the Senate race in Virginia is still up in the air. The Democrat has declared victory, but the Republican hasn’t conceded, and the vote is close enough that this makes sense.
But that race WASN’T supposed to be close. which means that even if the Republican eventually loses, this will still not be unalloyed good news for the Democrats.
Virginia is the place where a great big whacking hunk of federal government workers live.
Democrats are in favor of expanding that workforce and paying them more money, while Republicans are not.
A Democrat should be able to win in Virginia if he sleeps through the election.
5) White House spokespeople really, really, really have to stop going on the cable news shows talking about how this was not a referendum on the President.
The only way what just happened here makes any sense is if this election WAS a referendum on the President.
I’ve spent months reading about how the Republicans couldn’t hope to win anything on a platform that amounted to “we’re not Obama,” but they did.
6) The Democrats (and Democrat-leaning news media) really, really, really have to stop saying that the election wasn’t a referendum on Obamacare.
It was for 23% of voters who went to the polls. That’s only about half the number who put the economy as their first and most important issue, but it’s still a great big hunk.
7) There was no indication, one way or the other, that anybody cared at all about Ebola.
8) If the Democratic Party dies in the next few years–which a couple of friends of mine has worried it will–it will die because its supporters insist on “explaining” events like last night by the supposed “fact” that the American people are a pack of racist, sexist, nativist, homophobic idiots who don’t know their own best interests.
That nonsense had already started by the time I woke up this morning, and the truth is that it’s only likely to get worse.
9) In the run up to this election, the Obama administration deliberately delayed the implementation of several provisions of the Affordable Care Act–the most notable being the employer mandate–thought to be unpopular with the voters.
Having done that, however, those provisions are now set to go into effect in 2015, which means…
…right in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election.
Which seems to me like very bad timing.
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