Thursday, November 4, 2010
Election Post Mortem
By now, everyone has read that the Republican Party and its Tea Bagging friends are going to take over the world. It's amazing to me how the media forgets that politics in this country-- especially recent politics -- can change with the bat of an eye. The last three elections (2006, 2008, 2010) have been pretty much brought with them a change in Congressional and Presidential Power.
I certainly don't want to play Pollyanna here, but I think we do need to remember that not all was lost, and some things were gained:
• Massachusetts became Massachusetts again: I'm beginning to think we should thank Scott Brown for waking the Democrats up in time for 2010, because every single statewide and congressional seat went Democratic. Even races where the Republicans fielded strong candidates, they lost. And Deval Patrick, champion of gay marriage, won by a larger margin than expected.
• Most incumbent gay marriage supporters weren't punished for their support: Lynch was re-elected Governor of New Hampshire by a comfortable margin. He had signed the gay marriage law during his term. California elected Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman. As Attorney General, Brown had refused to defend Proposition 8 in the courts while Meg Whitman supported it. The same goes for Barbara Boxer, who vowed to fight on for same sex marriage in her acceptance speech.
•Remember 1994? I sure do. Hands down that election was one of the most depressing ones for me. The late and great Ann Richards was ousted as Governor of Texas. Mario Cuomo was ousted as Governor of New York. On Tuesday his son Andrew Cuomo -- passionate supporter of gay marriage -- won the Governorship by a landslide. In 1994, Democrats lost both houses of Congress. This year, we held onto the Senate. That's important. In 1994, the Democrats lost 8 senate seats; in 2010, they lost 6. In 1994, Democrats lost 54 seats; in 2010, they lost 60 (a difference of only 6). Bill Clinton went on to easily beat Bob Dole in 1996.
• Many of the far, far right candidates lost: Christine O'Donnell, Sharon Engle, Carl Paladino, and Carly Fiorina.
• So, yes. This was not a good night for progressives. But let's keep it in perspective.