Ronald Reagan is Finally Dead

Shocking Mandate for Democrats & Progressives Last Night

Bizarre. Shocking. Unexpected, to put it lightly. Something happened last night.  The country lurched to the left.  And not just on gay rights.  On a number of issues and candidates.

The GOP Won the House Because They Cheated

First, a word about the House.  From everything I’m reading, House Republicans held on to their majority because the Tea Party win of 2010 permitted Republican majorities in state legislatures to redistrict  like crazy, and they basically fixed the election for the House.

So, in a nutshell, the Republicans won the House they way they always win: they cheated.

Ronald Reagan RIPBut even were we to accept the Republicans’ claim that they won some “mandate” last night by holding the House.  I’ve got news for them. If they won a mandate for holding the House, then we won twice the mandate for holding the Senate and the White House.  The voters gave them one lever of power.  They gave us two.  So let’s do play that game.

Now back to everything else.  CNN just announced that Democratic Senator Jon Tester won re-election in a very difficult race in Montana.  Another less-than-expected Dem victory. Now, as for the extent of the Democratic victory, aka, the victories that have meaning.

The Republican Rape Twins Lost

The rape boys lost.  Republicans Todd Akin (“legitimate rape” from Missouri), who was running against  Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, and Richard (rape-babies are a gift from God) Mourdock from Indiana) both lost their bids for the US Senate.

Allen West is Toast, and Bachmann Only Just Survived

In the House, where Republicans expanded their majority due to Tea Party redistricting, some key ideologues lost.  Republican Allen West, a total nutjob from Florida, is reported to have lost. While nutjob-ette Michele Bachmann in Minnesota won a second term, but only just.

Marijuana Legalization Won Big

Then there’s marijuana.  From AP:

99% 1% OWS
99% via Shutterstock

The marijuana measures in Colorado and Washington will likely pose a headache for the U.S. Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which consider pot an illegal drug. The DOJ has declined to say how it would respond if the measures were approved.

Colorado’s Amendment 64 will allow adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, though using the drug publicly would be banned. The amendment would allow people to grow up to six marijuana plants in a private, secure area.

Washington’s measure establishes a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and stores, where adults can buy up to an ounce. It also establishes a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence.

Big Wins for Dems in the US Senate

Okay, that was surprising.

Then there was progressive Democrat Elizabeth Warren beating Scott Brown in Massachusetts, taking back Senator Kennedy’s seat for the Democrats.  Sherrod Brown in Ohio held on to his seat. Angus King, though an independent, he’s expected to caucus with Democrats, won in Maine.  Chris Murphy, another Democrat, won Joe Lieberman’s seat in Connecticut.  Bill Nelson held on to his seat in Florida, and so on.  And Dem. Tim Kaine because GOPer George “Macaca” Allen in Virginia.

AP blames the Republican’s significant Senate losses on the Tea Party:

The results were a bitter loss for the GOP and are certain to prompt questions about the promise and peril of the tea party movement that just two years ago delivered a takeover of the House to the GOP. In 2010, three tea party Senate candidates in Nevada, Delaware and Colorado cost Republicans seats they were favored to win. On Tuesday, a tea party-backed candidate in Indiana denied the GOP a seat that the party had been favored to win, while Fischer and tea party-backed Ted Cruz of Texas prevailed in their races.

Huge Gay Rights Victories

Now for the gays.

  1. Minnesota rejected banning gay marriage in the state constitution.
  2. Maryland legalizes gay marriage.
  3. Maine legalizes gay marriage.
  4. Washington state on verge of legalizing gay marriage (still no declared winner, but the media is saying we appear to have won).

Let’s stop a moment here.  Up until now, we’ve lost these ballot measures every single time.  More than 30 times in a row, we lost.  Now we won.  Suddenly.  And not just once.  But we win all four (if we win Washington state).  That’s not just a coincidence. But those weren’t the only gay victories last night:

  1. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) wins a Senate seat, she’ll be the first openly-gay US Senator (and also expands the historic number of women now in the Senate, another fascinating social win this election).
  2. Dem. Patrick Maloney wins in the House from NY.
  3. Dem. Mark Pocan wins Tammy’s seat in the House.
  4. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) wins  his re-elect.
  5. Dem Jared Polis was re-elected in CO.
  6. Dem. Mark Takano poised to win in CA.
  7. Dem. Kyrsten Sinema, who would be the first openly bisexual member of Congress, is ahead in Arizona.
  8. And a judge that ruled in favor of gay marriage in Iowa held on to his seat in the face of a religious right/GOP onslaught.

And in a way the biggest gay rights victory: A presidential candiate endorsed gay marriage and it not only didn’t cause him to lose, it didn’t even get mentioned by the opposition party, other than a last-minute effort by Marco Rubio and the religious right to phone bank gay marriage opposition in swing states.

But at the national level, the Republicans didn’t dare touch it. Just look back at that list of wins.  Other than the House, where the Republicans basically cheated by redistricting their victories, Democrats – and progressives – won huge victories across the board.

I’m still digesting this in an effort to figure out what the heck happened. But something did happen last night. And it was much bigger than Democrats winning.

The left, progressives, won last night, across the board.  And I’m not entirely sure why.  Especially when you consider how much money the Republicans spent, from Sheldon Adelson to the Koch Brothers to Mr. “I was born in a socialist country.

They all lost. The Tea Party lost.  Conservatives lost. Tax cuts lost. Gay-bashing lost. Repealing Obamacare lost.

Ronald Reagan finally died last night.  It’s been almost 25 years since Ronald Reagan left office.  It’s been nearly ten years since he died.  Enough already.  He’s gone.  It’s over.  The voters are no longer falling for the knee-jerk Republican electoral panacea of tax cuts, intolerance, and war.  That might have worked in the 1980s, but the 80s are over, the Soviets are gone, the gays are here to stay, and it’s time for the Republican party to enter the 21st century.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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42 Responses to “Ronald Reagan is Finally Dead”

  1. CaProgressive says:

    Did you vote for Obama?

  2. future_man says:

    Thanks Indigo,
    Yes, and after 30 years the curtain is closing on the Ron and Nancy show. It’s really old school now…
    So, perhaps we can breathe some relief into the picture…. knowing there are fully 59+ million people who support the guy who “evolved” for our human rights.

    Maybe in the next feature people will begin to support each other to dig out of our collective nightmares and into our individual dreams. Once upon a time in America people built barns for each other.
    In the 80s people came out of nowhere to help people with HIV.
    And now people send flowers to gay newlyweds entering city hall….couples they don’t even know.
    Just for the fun of it.

  3. MiserableOldFart says:

    The reagan and bush tax cuts for the rich were the most destructive economic acts of the past 100 years. They savaged the social contract that held this country together and accomplished their REAL Goal- the fostering and promoting a permanent overclass of ultra-rich to rule (and ruin) the country.

  4. Joseph says:

    “Oregon Democrat Rep. Tina Kotek on track to be first openly lesbian Speaker in the country”

  5. mf_roe says:

     ie Rights aren’t privileges

  6. BeccaM says:

    And no Grand Bargain.

  7. BeccaM says:

    You’re right, gay marriage bans have indeed gone down several times, particularly state constitutional amendments.

    But this was the first time an affirmative “same sex marriage becomes law” ever passed a popular vote.

    Sadly, I want the discussion to come around to admitting it’s wrong altogether to put any minority’s rights up to popular vote.

  8. Jim Olson says:

    …and if they don’t, won’t or can’t, then it’s time for the rest of us to thank them for their time, but to bid them farewell as their party and their ideology fade into obscurity; consigned to the dustbin of history.  

  9. UncleBucky says:

     I’m making a couple voodoo dolls. I still have a problem with the comb-over on one… On the other one, I simply didn’t put a mouth, that seems to be the trick.

    In other cases, no dolls are needed.

  10. Stev84 says:

    AZ defeated a gay marriage ban by popular vote before. That is usually forgotten. So it’s not the first time. The AZ ban was comprehensive and would have banned any form of relationship recognition. That didn’t go over well. So the next year, they kept it strictly to marriage and passed it.

  11. hollywoodstein says:

    BTW, how many Supremes is Obama figured to appoint, Two more?  Three?

  12. hollywoodstein says:

    Me still hungry.  Me want filibuster reform.

  13. I don’t know about the death of Ronald Reagan, but Reaganomics is still very much alive…yet!

  14. BeccaM says:

    This is an election worth remembering. Yes, much of the focus is on Obama and the Democratic party in general, and how they were able to overcome active and extensive GOP-led voter suppression tactics for the win.

    But think about it: What won wasn’t mushy center-right neo-liberalism, but Progressive Liberalism. For the win, Obama and the Dems had to emphasize populist ideals, including sensible (and non-xenophobic) immigration reforms. Making the rich pay their fair share in taxes. Green energy sources. Ending wars. Preserving Medicare and Social Security as they are now for future generations. Union and worker rights. Gay rights. Women’s rights.

    Across the board, the results even more impressive than Dem wins or Obama’s win were all the progressive Dems who didn’t just win their elections, but often did so while pitted against the worst right-wing nut-cases the Republicans ever fielded, and who were funded massively by corrupt billionaires and corporations. The choices could not have been more starkly contrasted.

    Truth won over lies. (Mostly… Folks here already know about my issues with the man who just won re-election, but I have to be honest and admit that Mitt Romney would’ve taken the lying to a stratospheric level and married that to a breathtaking degree of aggressive incompetence. Romney might very well have made us nostalgic for Dubya.)

    To be certain, we still have a hell of a lot of housecleaning ahead of us, to get rid of the Blue Dogs and conservative neo-liberals, and to undercut their influence in the political process. We need to fight hard against any Medicare/SS-cutting ‘Grand Bargain’ and against the very notion that austerity does anything but make a bad economic situation worse — including always increasing deficits, not closing them.

    What happened last night though is the ideals of progressivism won. And the Dems need to get the message loud and clear: Want to win in 2014? Don’t break your promises. Don’t walk back to center-right conservatism. Don’t call unilateral capitulation to the right ‘sensible bi-partisanship.’ If the Republicans threaten to stop all governance, then find ways around them — and above all, don’t apologize for having to do so.

    Love your base and they’ll love you back. Throw the progressive-left base under the bus, as happened after 2008? Then expect to be looking for new jobs a couple years from now, because people don’t bother to vote for those who fail to do what they were elected to do.

  15. stockj1227 says:

    Jimmy we are taking over the party. By 2020, the GOP will be far more libertarian than today. We will legalize drugs, privatize marriage, etc. I also suspect we will develop better reforms for welfare, medicaid, social security, defense spending, medicare, Obamacare, etc.

  16. Ford Prefect says:

    It’s far too soon to say the  2GA is somehow over.

    Under BushCO, the top 1% Hoovered up (if you’ll excuse the pun) 65% of all income gains. Under Obama, they’ve Hoovered up 93%.

    So not only is the Second Gilded Age not over, it’s only getting worse. Only reversing that trend will end it and it will likely be another decade or two before that happens.

  17. caphillprof says:

    I think the 2008 crash of capitalism and the ensuing almost depression was a wake up call for many Americans.  They’ve seen a very slow recovery hindered by House Republicans and Senate GOP filibusters at each and every turn.  The tax cuts for the wealthy and the lets cut Social Security and Medicare crowd are now correctly seen as failures for a sound economy.

    The Republican campaign against the federal government (the same federal government that they always expand whenever they control the White House) was vitiated by Hurricane Sandy.  It’s patently clear that state, county or city governments are simply not enough in the 21st century.  The notion of little government makes little sense in the era of big finance, big petroleum, big population, big storms.  Katrina may have been dismissed as a one off, but Sandy makes this a crisis.

    It now appears that it’s folly to try to win elections by hating women, hating blacks, hating Latinos, hating gays, hating immigrants legal or illegal.

    And there are just too many people who know from first hand experience that the fat cats, the 1 percenters did not get there by themselves, that they have had lots of government help along the way, that more often than not they have been able to play be different rules, bank in different nations, pay different tax rates and almost always were the recipients of very lucrative federal government contracts.

    The second gilded age is now over.

  18. ronbo says:

    Shhhhh!  Ronald Reagan is a hero of our President.  Why is it that Neo-Liberals act just like Republicans?
    Please ask those who call Obama a “liberal”:  Is the beginning of the alphabet “Y” because it is to the left of “Z”?

  19. lynchie says:

    I guess we now get a chance to see what Obama is made of. Is he truly just Raygun in a nice suit or is he really dedicated to representing the people of this country. Are the Dems in the House and Senate, who have a much longer shelf life, really prepared to prevent the cannibalization of SS and Medicare. Are they really prepared to change the Free Trade laws to provide real inducements for companies to keep the jobs in America. Are they prepared to deal with the minimum wage (Canada is proposing $11.25 from and average of $10.00) and raise it to something that resembles a living wage. Or are they going to keep the status quo and ignore the voting public.
    There is no question the demographics of the country are changed. More participation of minorities, more women, more young voters and the “old, white males of the GOP” are doomed like the dinosaur.  The euphoria of last nights election while sweet does not give me a warm fuzzy that the “old white males of the Dems’ get it either. But change is coming and it can’t be stopped and for our children hopefully we will see more tolerance and compassion.

  20. Naja pallida says:

    Polling has consistently shown that we are actually a pretty far left-leaning country. Elections have shown us to be center-right. It is quite a dichotomy that we continuously vote against what we claim we want as a people.

  21. Blogvader says:

    It does give me a swelling of hope to see liberalism win big in so many places, especially after fighting for gay causes myself.  (I was fortunate enough to be part of the movement that got non-discrimination integrated into my university’s charter.) After having heard and seen so many hateful things about gay people in the last decade, that was particularly sweet.

    But to say ‘conservatism’ or ‘Ronald Reagan’ are dead, well, I think we’re being a bit too optimistic.  Americans have the short-term memories of goldfish, and the folks who swung for Obama this time could just as easily swing to Republicans in two or four years.  And, if they do, we’ll hear the same rhetoric we heard out of George Bush when he was elected. 

    Frankly, I just want to see progress, and not the ‘Grand Bargain’ sort of progress where Democrats take everything off the table to get Republicans to play.

    Certainly the neo-con, hard-right 2011 kind of Republican Party is dead.  The changing voting demographics will force them to move to the center by sheer necessity.  I think the key Obamacare provisions going into affect will spur that, because they won’t be able to spread lies about it once its successes manifest.

  22. Ford Prefect says:

    I can’t help but think this statement applies to many of our ruling elites. ;^)

  23. FunMe says:

    That is why all of us need to continue to pressure the politicians to do the right thing.
    Case in point: GetEqual and other groups pressuring our Democrat politicians to get rid of DADT.

  24. FunMe says:

    It’s a new century for sure, in more ways than one.

    We are not a center right country as these elections proved. Sure some sheep Americans followed whatever the CONservative media wanted them to think. But thank goodness many of them have finally opened their eyes.

  25. condew says:

    Ronald Reagan remains an inspiring story of how an actor surrounded by a scary wife and a lot people with a vested interest in maintaining his image was able, with good drugs and carefully controlled access, to continue to play the role of a lifetime and avoid resigning from the presidency in spite of being mentally incompetent.

  26. Marco Luxe says:

    I think I just heard Reagan’s demon spawn Grover cough.  May he come down with a soviet-style “cold”. 

  27. Indigo says:

    Yes and no. Ronald Reagan won’t fade away that easily, he’s still an herb in the voodoo stew and, imho, always will be. But faded, yes. Even so, let’s not count our blue dog puppies before they’re hatched, to tangle old sayings. After all, boys & girls, we elected a Blue Dog president who never saw a waffle he couldn’t waffle a second or third time.

  28. Jimmy says:

    I’m not sure you can say the country lurched to the left. I’d say it was more a repudiation of the extremes within the GOP and Romney/Ryan in particular. A lot of people who call themselves Cmonservative support things like marriage equality. If they can ever take back the party things might be more difficult for Dems. However, that’s a big “if” right now.

  29. Ford Prefect says:

    Indeed, the one thing I take away from the various state races is voters in many places seem to be waking up. Walsh, Akin & Mourdock (The Rape Brothers) are gone. Joe Lieberman is now free to visit his bribes in the Caymans… have a nice trip, Joe!

    But Obama is still Reaganite Numero Uno and he sounded a lot like him last night. His obsession with a deficit most Americans don’t care about shows just how tone deaf he is. The good news is there is some new blood that might push the administration in the right direction. I wouldn’t bet on it, but it’s a possibility. If the Dems go hog wild in the lame duck session, then they will be advertising themselves as traitors to their own base.

    If they wait until the new congress is sworn in, then perhaps there’s a chance for some decency. It’s still an outside chance, but it’s better than the current lineup in the Senate. If the Senate Dems leave the 60-vote rule in place, they will be hanging out their placards as rat bastards.

  30. FuzzyRabbit says:

    Agreed. Civil rights for gays got a much needed boost with this election, but remember James Carville’s advice from 20 years ago: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

    Reaganism isn’t dead yet. Even the Democratic party has embraced Reaganomics with a passion. Obama has promised a “grand bargain” consisting of cutting social security, medicare, medicaid and benefits for the poorest so that military spending and low tax rates for the wealthiest can be maintained.

     Obama is a great orator, but he is actually politically right of center.
    Our work has just begun if we want to bring back opportunity and prosperity for more than just the wealthiest one percent.

  31. Naja pallida says:

    On day one of the new Congress the Democrats could set new rules for use of the filibuster with a simple majority vote, if they really wanted to. If they don’t even try, it will be a surefire sign that they are happy with the status quo. They don’t even have to eliminate it, just put some sensible limits on its use so that it can’t be used to create indefinite gridlock.

  32. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Alec Baldwin Tweet:

    You know your party is in trouble when people ask, “did the rape guy win”, and you have to ask, “which one?”

  33. true

  34. No.  But maybe, just maybe, a growing number of sane republicans may just may start speaking up against the nutjobs controlling their party.

  35. Ford Prefect says:

    There’s almost nothing here to disagree with, except declaring Reagan dead. It’s a bit soon for that, given Obama’s dedication to strawman deficit reduction, Grand Bargain Catfood, and so on. We know where that is headed, especially if they lay into this during the lame duck session, rather than waiting for a surprisingly good looking Dem Senate caucus to be sworn in.

    Still, the best news to come out of this election is the democratic voter coalition seems rather healthy. Indeed, the best thing is that the Democratic voters seem well to the left of the Democratic elites, who are still praying to Ronny Raygun’s as I type this. Pot was legalized in three states, plus locally in MI. Marriage Equality is now mainstream in many states, as of last night. In Cali, the tax revolt of Prop 13 seems at an end. Also too, the 3-strikes rule is reformed. 

    So, if the Dem elites continue their rightward march as Obama announced last night, it seems people will not be happy with them at all. For the first time in quite a while, that gives me a wee bit of hope.

  36. Bj Lincoln says:

    Now we need to expose the stall tatics and limit the filibusters used by the GOP to undercut everything that needs done. Obama once again has asked for them to join together and move us forward. The GOP needs to stop trying to make Obama look bad and start working.

  37. Bill_Perdue says:

    This election was a failure. At a time of deep economic crisis it produced no mandates, no solutions and no winning party.

    About 206 million Americans were eligible to vote.

    Of the eligible voters a total of 146 million Americans, or about 75%, actually registered to vote. That’s an unusually high ratio that reflects mounting rage about the depression and insistent demands for positive action by voters. Of those registered voters Obama got roughly 54.5 million votes or a bit under 50% of the total final vote (as distinguished from both the eligible and registered votes).  Romney got about 53.5 million votes or just under 49% of the total vote. Approximately one quarter didn’t register and among registered voters about one third didn’t vote. Obama and Romney split half of the eligible vote and non voters comprised the other half of eligible voters.

    It was clear throughout the campaign that working people were desperate for solutions to unemployment, the Depression and for an end to wars of aggression and high GI causalities. It was clear that workers
    wanted socialized medicine. They were offered no solutions. Obama said he was for excellence in education, which we know from their actions in Chicago means busting teachers unions. As for the rest Obama and Romney engaged in personal attacks and little else. Romney correctly accused Obama for forgetting the
    unemployed but conveniently omitted the fact that many of them are victims of his own corporate piracy. Obama was telling the truth when he accused Romney of having a callous attitude towards workers but declined to say why he’s done nothing real or substantial to reduce the nearly 15%, four year long run of the violence of unemployment, poverty and homelessness.

    Both ignored their insurance reform plans because there are so few differences. Romney because he wanted to attract Teaparty voters and Obama because he didn’t want it known that he and Romney agreed on making insurance companies, HMOs and big Pharma richer at the expense of workers, especially poorer workers and seniors.

    During the next four years Democrats will do anything and everything to please the rich and so will Republicans. Both pretended to have differences about the prosecution of mad dog wars of aggression against Arabs and muslims and out did each other in promising to supply more bullets and phosphorous bombs for the
    mad dog zionist ethnic cleansers.

    Both promised to increase the level of forced austerity and continue attacks on the last shreds of the Bill of Rights. They aim to gut entitlements like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

    Both agreed to continue to attack teachers unions under the guise of ‘excellence’ in education. Neither will let up on their attack on unions because it’s the key to driving down workers wages and engorging the rich at the expense of workers.

    Working people are out in the cold with gutless union leaders and another failed elections with not solutions in sight. We have no choice but to build workers parties and create a workers government.

  38. Guest says:

    Title says it all.

  39. Guest says:

    Title says it all.

  40. John Masters says:

    John, are you laying any odds on the Republicans actually joining the rest of us in this century any time before it’s over?

  41. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Let the Civil War in the Republican Party begin. The more acrimonious, the better.

  42. Naja pallida says:

    The country may have seemed to have lurched to the left, but remains to be seen whether those who actually write the legislation will bother to take notice, or continue on with business as usual.

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