Let's start with a couple of good news items today:
First, the Denver Post has called the Colorado Senate race for Democrat Michael Bennet. When I went to bed last night, this one was still in doubt. But as more votes came in from Denver and Boulder, Bennet moved up. A recount would be required if he ends up ahead by less than .5%, but his current lead is .9%. And most of the votes still to be counted are in the Democratic stronghold of Boulder County, where Bennet is winning 67% of the vote. So the Denver Post thinks this was is in the bag, but other media outlets are waiting to call it. This one feels especially good because I happened to see Glenn Beck ranting about this race last night, predicting the Democrats' demise and saying Colorado was turning back to its red roots after voting for Obama in 2008. Also, establishing Democratic strongholds in the mountain west states extends the playing field for future Democratic presidential candidates beyond just the coasts and the upper Midwest--the combination that dealt Kerry a losing hand in 2004.
In the Washington Senate race, Democrat Patty Murray holds a 1 point lead (14,000 votes) with 62% of votes reported. There are a lot of votes all across the state still to be counted. But Seattle's King County, where Murray has run up an 88,000 vote margin so far, has only reported 55% of its votes. I think it's safe to feel pretty confident about this one, but no one is going to call the race at this point.
Likely New Senate Breakdown: 53 Democrats, 47 Republicans. These numbers are almost certainly good enough to prevent ConservaDems like Lieberman and Nelson from switching parties and tipping Senate control to the Republicans or at least threatening to do so in order to water down progressive legislation.
Some Election "Firsts" From 2010
- First black Republican congressman from the Deep South since Reconstruction: Tim Scott.
- First black woman to win a House seat from Alabama: Democrat Terri Sewell.
- The nation's first female Hispanic governor: Republican Susana Martinez in New Mexico.
- Oklahoma's first female governor: Republican Mary Fallin.
- First openly gay mayor in Lexington, Kentucky: Jim Gray.
It's interesting to me that three of these "firsts" are Republicans. Granted, Republicans in general are not very concerned with equality issues. But the country itself continues to shift, albeit with fits and starts, in the direction of civil rights and social equality. The fact that Republicans and conservatives are part of that shift demonstrates how powerful it is. As always, progressives and left activists lead the way, but the country as a whole eventually comes around.
Check back a little later for my postmortem: Why Democrats Lost and What Happens Next. (Spoiler alert: It's not as bad as you think, and there's stuff to look forward to.)