Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Midterm Results, Part 2: Silver Lining Edition

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
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.)


What Pale Blue Dot? said...

Some more good news can surprisingly be found in the Florida Amendments. While normally I think the ballot Amendment process is a mess, I'm really pleased with this year and think these items were (mostly) things relevant to the Constitution. You know, except for Amendment 8 and 2 which was a stupidly misguided attempt at pep-rally-type troop "supporting." Raise enlisted pay and ensure proper body armor? TOO EXPENSIVE! Let's just give them an additional property tax exemption!


But 5 and 6 passed, and two years from now things will be much more interesting.

Becky said...

What do you think will come of Boehner saying they will repeal the health care legislation?

Even after all the conflict over it before it passed, I was surprised to hear him say that.

Dave said...

WPBD, that's good to hear about Amendments 5 and 6. I wonder how much impact the redistricting will have.

Becky, I believe that kind of talk was just language to fire up their base for the election. They can't outright repeal health care from their one chamber of Congress. It may be that they'll push hard to roll back certain elements of it, and the Senate and the White House might bow to the media's constant pressure for Democrats to "moderate." But we should force the GOP to be specific on which parts they'd like to repeal: the part that bars insurance companies from denying care to sick kids? Or the part that says your insurance company can't kick you to the curb when you're sick?