Election Results

Here's the rundown on some of the elections I either wrote about or just took an interest in for one reason or another. In Michigan, Dick DeVos, the pro-ID candidate for governor, was voted down by a wide margin. Proposition 4, which puts strict restrictions on eminent domain in the state, passed by a huge margin. Very good news. And I'm quite surprised to see that Proposition 2, which prohibits preferential treatment based on race, gender, ethnicity and so forth in employment, education and contract decisions by state agencies, passed by a wide margin. Even more interesting is that the vote among women was split 50/50 despite the best efforts of opponents of this proposition to convince them that if it passed, girls wouldn't be able to take math and science anymore (yes, that's what one of pre-recorded phone calls actually said). It also looks as though Democrats took control of the state House of Representatives for the first time in 8 years, which should reduce the pro-ID activity we've had to battle constantly for the past few years in this state.

In Ohio, Deborah Owens Fink went down in flames, losing to Tom Sawyer and getting less than 30% of the vote. Huge victory for my friends at Ohio Hope. Pro-science candidate Sam Schloemer also won election to the state Board of Education. Following on the heels of what happened in Kansas, this is a big reason to celebrate. Congratulations to Patricia Princehouse, Steve Rissing, Dick Hoppe and everyone else in Ohio who worked so hard to make that happen. Also religious right looney and darling of the televangelists Ken Blackwell lost his bid for governor by a huge margin.

Amendment E in South Dakota, an astonishing proposition that would have created a grand jury system for the impeachment of judges in that state, was voted down with about 90% of the votes against it. They also apparently voted down an amendment that would have banned virtually all abortions. And pro-ID Senator Rick Santorum went down and went down hard, about 60-40. Good riddance.

Overall, the Democrats took control of the House as expected and it looks as though they'll take control of the Senate by a single vote as well. There are two races, Montana and Virginia, that will require recounts before anyone takes either seat, but the Democrats had slim leads in both of them. In Montana, with 99% of precincts reporting, the Democrat, Jon Tester, had a lead of less than 2000 votes. In Virginia, also with 99% reporting, James Webb had a lead of less than 8000 votes. In both cases, however, there are likely provisional ballots and absentee ballots yet to be counted, which means the lead could change.

And there will undoubtedly be recounts in both cases that could drag on for days and even weeks. So control of the Senate is still up for grabs. Democrats must win both seats to have a slim 51 seat majority, and that's assuming that Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders caucus with the Democrats. Lieberman has said he will do so, but don't be surprised to see the Republicans throw favors at him in an attempt to get him to switch parties, including offering him chairmanship of any committee he wants. The Senate is still very much up in the air.

Good news #1: Eminent Domain reform passed in 9 of 12 states where proposals were on the ballot, including an overwhelming 80% victory here in Michigan. Good news #2 is that we have divided government again, which should prevent the worst excesses of single party rule that have done so much damage to this country over the past 6 years.

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Oh, and one more bit of good news: Iowa Republican Rep. Jim Leach, chief sponsor of the anti-gambling bill, was voted out of office last night.

I wonder how Mr. Frist is reacting to Leach's loss and how much that will affect his strategy or his decision to run for President?

The Webb/Allen race is going to be re-counted. It'll most likely end up with some litigation as well (plus the FBI is looking into a few incidents as well). Good times, here in Virginia! This election scrum won't be resolved until December. Guaranteed.

Bush will actually show he has veto power in the next two years. Amazing.

The only drawback is that Virginia taxpayers are going to bear the cost of having Question #1 declared Unconstitutional in the next few years. They deserve it though, although the 40% of us who voted "No" have to pay up as well which is unfortunate.

Ed, you forgot to mention the good news from Florida: Katherine Harris goes DOWN!

Not that it had much chance of going any other way, but it's still worth a round of cheers.

By Michael Suttkus, II (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. She's beaten, caput, gotten the boot, gotten the ole heave-ho, left in the dust, stalled at the gate, and out of here.

I have to wonder, given that she thought God was personally going to give her this election so that she could reclaim the country for Jesus, will she recognize her utter trouncing as a message that God, personally, just doesn't like her?

By Michael Suttkus, II (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

God is never wrong. God always does what's best for you. God will always forgive you....

God's actions contrary your wishes can always be rationalized away...

While I'm glad to see that the country does seem to want change and sent a clear message of rebuke to the GOP, I can't escape a lingering, and powerful, sense of unease. Am I the only one who sees this as a possible "Be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it" moment?

Bush and the GOP have created so many disasters both at home and abroad over the past four years, it simply won't be possible for Democrats to do much in the next two years to clean things up. The right-wing rhetoric machine is already gearing up and will spend the time between now and '08 trying to pin as many of the messes as possible on the Democrats. In short, I'm concerned that the victory may have come one election cycle too early. Two years of "You gave them a chance to fix it, and they haven't" could prove to be an effective '08 GOP campaign strategy.

I do realize that part of the strategy here was simply to eliminate one-party control and keep the GOP from doing still more damage. To that end, yesterday will have served its purpose. I hope. Sorry if I'm throwing a bucket of cold water on anyone's afterparty.

A minor point, though given the mess in Virginia, one which might in fact prove relevant.

IF Tester is certified, and the Virginia election is caught up in recounts, lawsuits, etc., so that neither candidate can be certified -- and I think I remember a mess in NH that took a couple of years to settle -- this makes the Senate 50 Dems (given Joe staying) and 49 Republicans. Which means that there is no tie -- on organization -- for Cheney to break, and we control.

(Btw, I should know this but what party holds the Governorship in West Virginia? Byrd seems to be indestructible, but we all are human and he is well into his 80s.)

In short, I'm concerned that the victory may have come one election cycle too early. Two years of "You gave them a chance to fix it, and they haven't" could prove to be an effective '08 GOP campaign strategy.

The American electorate has plenty of inertia to keep it from making sudden course corrections. Having tasted bile retch up repeatedly I'm not sure the independents would forget it too quickly.

The Democrats should not to listen to the tripe about how they should be compromising with the right "in order to get things done". The right had no interest in being inclusive in the past; they used their majority to supress. The Democrats need to use these two years to aggressively and militantly highlight the un-American activities of the right and establish themselves as a party that is a counterbalance. Go Rangel! Go Pelosi! Go Dingell! Go Sanders!

The only drawback is that Virginia taxpayers are going to bear the cost of having Question #1 declared Unconstitutional in the next few years. They deserve it though, although the 40% of us who voted "No" have to pay up as well which is unfortunate.

This was a major disappointment to me. Why it doesn't require a supermajority to amend the Constitution I don't know. It seems that the home of Madison & Jefferson should be especially catious regarding the tyranny of the majority. Still, I am deeply disappointed in my fellow citizens.

Ed,

As a straight ticket Dem voter, not in Leach's district, I still felt a bit of regret seeing him go down. I know you didn't like the gambling bill and that's fine, but as far as Congressional Republicans go, he was an independant thinker and he was a straight shooter. You can't ask much more from a guy you generally disagree with. We wanted him to lose, but we aren't jumping up and down about it. The fact that a guy like that went down in flames on Bush's coattails says a lot.

Ted wrote:

The Democrats should not to listen to the tripe about how they should be compromising with the right "in order to get things done". The right had no interest in being inclusive in the past; they used their majority to supress. The Democrats need to use these two years to aggressively and militantly highlight the un-American activities of the right and establish themselves as a party that is a counterbalance. Go Rangel! Go Pelosi! Go Dingell! Go Sanders!

This will, I'm sure, be a real temptation for the Democratic base. But I suspect it will be a losing strategy. The Democrats can't play Republican politics as well as the Republicans themselves. They lack the organization, the message, and the voice -- at least right now. Giving the Democrats a comfortable majority in the House, but at best a 51-49 majority in the Senate (which, of course, depends on two independents -- itself a very interesting situation) is hardly a mandate to fight back with a strategy similar to that of the Republicans.

I see it as more of a "let's take the Democrats out for a test drive" sort of message. Can the Democrats really govern from more of a centrist position, and actually make some headway in cleaning up the mess? I certainly don't know. But we may be sitting here in two years wondering how the Democrats squandered the opportunity they were given in '06. The best we can hope for, I think, is a continuation of the power division yesterday brought. I don't much care who controls the White House, as long as the same party doesn't also control the legislative branch.

I will say this: it should be interesting.

BREAKING NEWS.......

Donald Rumsfeld has just resigned as Defence Secretary. Former CIA Director Robert Gates will take his place.

Strange timing Dave S.... I wonder if this has anything to do with the results from last night. That they are basically blaming the poor conditions in Iraq for losing the election (even though that's surely part of it).

I doubt the two are unrelated Matthew. The election last night was practically a referrendum on the DOD Iraq policy.

Dan-

I think you're on to something, actually. I think a Republican looking at running in 2008 for President is happy this happened. If you're John McCain, would you rather run with a Republican-controlled Congress, or against a Democratic-controlled Congress? The latter, clearly. Same with, say, Hillary Clinton. She stood a much better chance of winning in 08 with the Republicans still in control of Congress. This change muddies the waters in terms of who gets the blame for what in the next two years, particularly in Iraq. I think there are hopeful signs that the Democrats are going to play it smart and look for a bipartisan solution to what is going on in Iraq, looking to the Baker/Hamilton commission for recommendations, etc, rather than clamoring for an immediate withdrawal. But yes, if played wrongly, this could actually help the republicans in 08.

Ed, you forgot the bad news. 8/9 Gay Marriage bans passed. I wrote about it briefly here. Thankfully Arizona has some decency.

But besides that disappointment, I'm rather pleased with this. Perhaps America can permanently come to its senses, or maybe the Democrats can finally get their act together. Hopefully.

Did Rumsfeld jump, or was he pushed?

This will, I'm sure, be a real temptation for the Democratic base. But I suspect it will be a losing strategy. The Democrats can't play Republican politics as well as the Republicans themselves. They lack the organization, the message, and the voice -- at least right now.

Dan,

I basically agree with you but if they don't use this opportunity to demonstrate a willingness to seek organization, message and voice and learn how to be ruthless -- now -- when the country is behind them, when will they do it? Nancy Pelosi was just on NPR giving the, "We're not about getting even, we're here to help the American people" line. All well and good, but if fecklessness is their view of what passes for helping I don't have much faith in the longterm.

It will be very interesting to see what the Democrats do in respect to Iraq.

If this was a referendum on Iraq, will Joe Electorate conclude that adding 100,000 troops to the force already there is what yesterday's ballot results said? I think most of the polls showing up indicate that the public wants to get the troops the hell outta there and turn over that morass to the Iraqis. If the Democrats start waffling and misunderstand their mandate, and make no significant progress over the next two years, the Republicans will be justified in calling them clueless. The public wants the troops out. Republicans want them to stay. Let's see whose lead the Democrats follow: those that brung them to the dance, or those that bent them over a table and made them squeal.

I suspect that they'll choose those that made them squeal.

Rumsfeld just lost an election he wasn't even running in :)

No one's mentioned two other ballot initiatives that failed, thankfully. Both Oregon and California offered referenda that would have required parental notification for young women seeking an abortion. Both failed by the same ratio, 46% - 54%. Would that other states (my own, Pennsylvania, for instance) had as much common sense. But no, we have no provision for such statewide, voter initiated referenda.

Like Pokerwolf and Craig Pennington, I too am sorely disappointed, and ashamed, of my fellow Virginias. I blame a lot of it on the churches with all of their misleading rhetoric. You can almost hear their congregations bleating "Yyyyyyes prrreacherrrr, yyyyyes prrrreacherrrr, all we like sheep will obey." What will the sheep do when they come for them?

Well, all in all, I'm fairly proud of my Virginians, despite the "stupid hetero thing" as my sister so succinctly put it. It only ended up being 57% in favor of the damn thing, and considering how completely lackluster the opposition to it was, I couldn't really expect much more. Especially considering that Proposed Constitutional Ammendment 2, to delete something that had been ruled unconstitutional, only got 65%. Taking something off the books that was already completely dead should be a no brainer. Listening to so many people around the country say that Allen's being a racist ass might not be such a bad thing for voters here, I like to think that we did better than our reputation would predict.

I definitely agree that it is rather odd that we don't require any sort of super-majority, esp. considering that Jefferson used a lot of what he had done for the VA constitution when he did the US one, or so I have read, I think. At least the Bill of Rights part. But, I would think that he would've been aware that ammendments might get passed on the whim of the majority that shouldn't be, and set the bar a little higher. Oh well. Guess Virginia's shooting to be the state that has to defend all the horrible marriage laws, can't let anyone take our Loving v. Virginia crown away.

Florida has just passed an amendment that will require subsequent amendments to get a 60% majority before passing. Thank goodness. Of late, people have been using the amendment process to make end runs around the legislature and as a result the Florida constitution is now cluttered with all manner of irrelevant nonsense. We have an amendment that regulates the keeping of pregnant pigs for goodness sakes! What does pig keeping have to do with how a government is run? Well, okay, maybe I answered my own question.

I would have rather they passed an amendment invalidating any current or future amendment not related to the actual task of the constitution (order and running of government), but I'll take what I can get.

By Michael Suttkus, II (not verified) on 09 Nov 2006 #permalink

Djinna wrote:

I definitely agree that it is rather odd that we don't require any sort of super-majority, esp. considering that Jefferson used a lot of what he had done for the VA constitution when he did the US one, or so I have read, I think. At least the Bill of Rights part.

Actually, Jefferson had very little to do with writing the US Constitution; he was in France at the time as our ambassador (then called Minister). Many of his ideas were quite influential on the process, of course, particularly over the thinking of James Madison, his protege` and the man considered the "father of the constitution." In particular, it was his insistent arguments on the need for a Bill of Rights that largely convinced Madison of that need, which he initially opposed but later championed. But of the major Virginians, Jefferson was the least involved in the writing of the Constitution. James Madison and George Mason were much more important in that regard.