Thursday, November 04, 2010

About that election…

I have a lot to say about yesterday’s US elections and the issues surrounding it, but I have much to do right now and don’t have the time to do it justice. I promise to return to the topic soon, but in the meantime I’ll say this: Overall, the results weren’t completely unexpected. That doesn’t mean it isn’t disappointing or even sad; it just wasn’t total a surprise.

Those who are wailing and gnashing their teeth are overreacting because this doesn’t necessarily mean the Republicans will win in 2012 or beyond. It also doesn’t mean that the Republicans have a mandate to do most of what they say they’re going to do. This was merely an election in which, for many reasons (some legitimate, most not), our adversaries won. It is a clarion call for liberals and progressives to re-group, and for Democrats to be better Democrats.

I’ll come back to all that later. For now, though, the important thing is that while we lost an election, we’re not vanquished. We’ll be back to fight another day, and I’ll be there, too—just not today.


epilonious said...

An evil has not been set upon you.

The side you like less has won some seats and now the side you like more will probably have to listen to them and their concerns over what they find to be intolerable and try to reach a compromise...

Also, the hoped sweeping total changes sought to be brought about by the side you liked more... are likely to be less total and sweeping.

As it has been for decades, a supermajority was corrected within the first post-election cycle.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I never said anything about evil, though others probably have. As I was saying in the post, I think both ends of the spectrum are engaging in hyperbole, completely divorced from reality.

However, I can say this: There will be no compromise with Republicans because they don't want compromise. The Democrats compromised too much in the current Congress, got nothing and lost anyway. You're drawing entirely the wrong lesson from the election.

I'm not speaking out against compromise, I'm just saying that the Republicans won't compromise. Democrats will have to recognise more quickly when to give up on the quixotic quest for compromise and just move on.

However, the Republicans' control of the House does indeed mean that changes I want "are likely to be less total and sweeping." In fact, I'd say they're dead.

To me, the talking points about how the party controlling the White House always loses seats in midterm elections is really annoying, comparable to "Team A has never beaten Team B on a Wednesday in a month with a Y in the name…" Put another way, the past doesn't predict the future and switches in control of one or the other house in Congress are not automatic or guaranteed.

The super majority, however, IS unusual and was "corrected" (I'd just say ended) by the teabagger's win in Massachusetts AND by the Democrats utter lack of a spine in not ending the filibuster.

However, election cycles (post-election cycles would surely be "Terms of Congress", wouldn't they?) don't "correct" anything. They happen, sometimes they change things, occasionally a whole lot, sometimes they change little or nothing. "Correcting" implies there's something wrong to be fixed, and since Democrats never used that "super majority", it's existence on paper is irrelevant.

amerinz's sis said...

What I didn't like was the negative campaigning by both sides.
I know other Americans agreed with me and we were SO GLAD that election time came so there would be an end to it. Sadly, we all wanted to hear what they would do for us; speak to us about what they stood for. We got very little of that. Who knows how voters here decided to vote for any candidate. Was it party loyalty, was it 'just pick someone - anyone', or some other method? I think all the politicians in my state should be ashamed of themselves for their childish behavior and for not caring enough about us to educate us on real issues, which is what we voters deserve to have.

Reed said...

I arrived for a visit in the US the day before the election and was shocked at the amount of hate and lies that were on the TV ads. I don't recall previous elections being this ugly.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

The only ads I saw or knew about were ones that were really good (I posted one on this blog) or ones that were really bad. In both cases, I was aware of them because they were beyond the pale one way or the other.

However, this year's ad were especially bad as corporations spent up large to try and get candidates they wanted elected to office. Negative campaigning is despised by voters—but it works, and that's why they do it. The corporations didn't have to make their preferred candidate look good (and in some cases, like Wisconsin, that was impossible with a joke of a Republican candidate), they just had to make the Democrat look bad.

This ad situation can't get better until some way is found to end the influence of corporations over politics, and if that can't be done then the very future of American democracy is at risk, not just a peaceful campaign season.