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.
But 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% 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.
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.
- Minnesota rejected banning gay marriage in the state constitution.
- Maryland legalizes gay marriage.
- Maine legalizes gay marriage.
- 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:
- 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).
- Dem. Patrick Maloney wins in the House from NY.
- Dem. Mark Pocan wins Tammy’s seat in the House.
- Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) wins his re-elect.
- Dem Jared Polis was re-elected in CO.
- Dem. Mark Takano poised to win in CA.
- Dem. Kyrsten Sinema, who would be the first openly bisexual member of Congress, is ahead in Arizona.
- 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.