Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Citizens, United

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)

If Citizens United taught us one thing, it's that it doesn't always buy elections for Republicans. But we should also not lose sight of the fact that it and the Super PACs it makes possible with no transparency or oversight can also be used to buy elections for Democrats.

For now, however, progressives across the country, and many people in other countries, can take heart in the fact that the Supreme Court's horrible ruling on the role of corporate cash in elections is nothing compared to a peoples' resolve to push back against the obvious evil and painful incompetence that Mitt Romney and others handily represented.

Let's take stock:

In my home state of Massachusetts, Liz Warren beat Centerfold Scott to grab Ted Kennedy's old seat, making her rear end the fourth one to sit in old Ted's seat in less than four years. Warren, with virtually all MA precincts having reported in, won by 8 points, or 2-3 points more than I'd predicted. In the House races, Massachusetts, as usual, made a clean sweep and did its part for the sputtering progressive agenda in Congress.

Maine elected Angus King, an Independent who can be trusted to caucus with the Democrats. Maine also ratified same sex marriage, although it remains to be seen how long it'll take the homophobe element to overturn it this time.

In Illinois, the president's adopted home state, Obama's coattails proved to be very wide indeed, giving Democrats a strong majority in its House Delegation. The most notable win was war hero Tammy Duckworth, without legs, kicking Deadbeat Dad Joe Walsh out of his seat by a 10 point margin.

Psychopath Alan West had a shot fired across his bow by getting thrown out of Congress by Patrick Murphy in FL-18. Just as joyous was that Alan Grayson easily got back in the House in FL-9 by winning by almost 25%.

Unfortunately, not all the psychos got voted out. Eric Cantor got re-elected in VA-7, Michelle Bachmann, against all rhyme or reason, somehow clung to her seat in MN-6, meaning we'll have to endure the remains of the Tea Bagger Caucus she'd started for at least another two years. Paul Ryan, while he'd obviously lost his vice presidential bid, nonetheless easily kept his seat in WI-1 by beating Rob Zerban 55-43%. Leavening that depressing news is Tammy Baldwin fending off a strong challenge from Bush HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson to become the first openly gay Senator in United States history.

Iowa, a state the president won 52-46, nonetheless re-elected Steve King and Alaska, as usual, re-elected cock-clutching psychopath Don Young to his 77th consecutive term.

Not a clean sweep, but it's a start. Democrats, as I'd predicted, widened their lead in the Senate, garnering at last count 54 seats in the upper chamber. Not one Democratic incumbent up for reelection out of the 33 seats up for grabs got voted out. Democrats also eroded the Republicans' 241 seat majority in 2010. According to CBS's latest data, the Republicans, with 5 races still undecided, were only holding on to 226 seats. In the gubernatorial races, Democrats picked up three seats for a total of 20.

All in all, not a bad night. No wonder Donald Trump was calling for revolution and Karl Rove was arguing with Chris Wallace over Ohio.

But let's look ahead to the next general election cycle:

Obama at the last minute pulled ahead of Romney when the west coast precincts began reporting and the President won the popular vote by 59,720,798 to Romney's 57,095,065. As I'd suspected, Obama would lose a significant amount of support, garnering a full 10,000,000 fewer votes than he'd gotten in 2008. Romney, however, with a typically anemic voter turnout, picked up 2,000,000 more votes than the 55,000,000 McCain had gotten in 2008.

This growing trend is very significant and could be warning us of a sea change in the 2016 election. I've been asking myself since the election season began early last year who's going to replace Obama. Now is the time to start grooming a successor either within the administration or in Congress. Biden will be 73. Hillary will be close to 70. Obama's less than 60,000,000 votes shows that his support among progressives and liberals had seriously eroded even against a completely unelectable psychopath like Mitt Romney. The electoral college that actually decides presidential elections makes Mr. Obama's win look like a landslide (303-206) that makes a mockery of the usual neck-and-neck horse race projections by networks desperate to keep the viewers tuning in so they can sell air space.

But in terms of presidential politics, the Democrats under a weakened Obama are less enthusiastic about the party than Republicans are about theirs.

The chances of a Democrat getting in the White House in 2016 are looking dimmer by the week and Obama's performance over the next four years, unrestrained by worries about re-election, will largely determine that.

Meanwhile, like the Russians retreating from Napoleon's army, look for the outgoing Republicans to torch the place between now and early January.


At November 7, 2012 at 12:19 PM, Anonymous Cthulhu said...

Simple solution for 2016?

Warren and Grayson, in any combination you like.

At November 9, 2012 at 11:00 AM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

"Liz Warren beat Centerfold Scott"

I was there! I was hired to send cable TV feeds to Warren's two huge screens. We had four cable boxes to choose from: CNN MSNBC NECN and a rover we would channel surf looking for something new.

My job was to inform the Warren supporters what was happening with the election. We would punch up the cable source that had the latest information as soon as we could. We kept the room hopping and cheering all night long.

The best was right before the election was called for Warren, we had NECN up on one screen and Channel 5 on the other. We saw the NECN reporter getting ready for her stand-up and when she started talking we put her up on both screens. The room realized they were live and they went nuts, cheering and screaming. Over the reporter's shoulders were the screens showing her reporting.

Then they cut to the Brown room. He had a band playing and only one screen showing an endless loop of Brown's name. No one was cheering, no one was even moving. They were keeping their voters in the dark as to what was going on in the world.

Rmoney was the same way: Obama's room was moving, Rmoney's room was static, nobody moved an inch.

We saw Warren projected the winner and put that up on the big screens and the crowd went nuts. Brown finally came out to concede and the crowd went nuts.

We turned up the sound so the room could hear him speak. He rambled on for a while and his crowd started the Brown chant, which I swear was, "Kill, kill, kill!" Our room would start chanting "Warren, Warren, Warren!" After a while Brown was rambling on, and our room started chanting "Wrap it up! Wrap it up!"

While Warren was speaking, which was carried live on MSNBC for a few minutes, the west coast polls closed. When Warren had finished and the crowd was still cheering, Obama's number went to 250-something. And then it happened: MSNBC projected Obama to have won. I put that on both screens and the noise was deafening!

At November 9, 2012 at 11:08 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

And a good time was had by all.

Liz may be the rock star, Comrade, but you're the sound board guy who makes her look even better. I saw a bit of your work on Good job, dude.


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