Maybe Barry Goldwater's seat is just cursed. Maybe the biggest voter turnout since 1908 was too much for Diebold, ES&S and Republican Secretaries of State to absorb to give us another November surprise. Maybe the Bradley Effect needs to be resurrected in a future Southern Strategy. Or maybe Americans were just too plain scared to not take a chance on Obama, the intelligent, articulate young candidate who by far represented change to over 62,000,000 Americans.
44 years ago, America sought not change but a continuation of the aggressively progressive agenda of John F. Kennedy and Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater was crushed by Lyndon Johnson. Last night, another Barry prevailed, crushing the man holding Goldwater's seat, becoming our 44th president in a historical matrix that's so exciting and dangerous, in such a state of flux, that it's virtually impossible to comprehend and appreciate.
President-elect Barack Obama (savor that phrase) plainly represents hope to countless tens of millions of African American and other minority voters, to millions upon millions of young first time voters. The election results were eagerly followed in Mr. Obama's ancestral home of Kenya and even Ireland, the birthplace of the next president's great great great grandfather.
349 electoral votes to 147. Winning the popular vote by over 7,000,000. Five more seats in the Senate (with Alaska, Minnesota, Oregon and other states still to be heard from) and at least 20 more in the House. Not a single Democrat losing their seat. That's not the 2% mandate, the 51% of the vote to which George W. Bush and his arrogant Republican party had clung four years ago.
That's a party-wide landslide. That's a scared nation giving the Democratic party that clung to Obama's wide coattails a second chance that it doesn't deserve after voting against our interests time and again during this 110th Congress.
The bigots lost. The fundies lost. The neocons are all but dead. Sununu's gone. Warner's gone. Dole is gone. Palin will board a plane back to Alaska, already dreaming of 2012 and future gigs on SNL. Other Republicans will eventually fall to the wayside. Of course, stupidity still exists in our electorate. After all, McCain did garner over 55,000,000 votes. Jean Schmidt and Michele Bachmann won reelection. And Saxby Chambliss, incredibly, is still in the Senate.
But hope and fear is a potent combination. It's not the kind of fear that the Republican party tried to stoke but the fear that we could easily see another four or eight years as bad as the last eight, a Groundhog Day with a massive body count.
Hope and fear. You can't beat it. I never believed that Obama was a rainmaker but let's hope that he justifies the former and continues to allay the latter in these most interesting of times.