The election is finally over. Sure there are a few ballots that haven't been counted (in FL and a few other locales), but the writing was writ large on the wall. President Obama has been re-elected for another term. The Democrats look to be gaining a couple seats overall in the Senate. The House has shifted partially (but not completely) in the direction of the Democrats. The Republicans still control the House, but the margin has been slimmed significantly.
Perhaps the most satisfying wins for those of us on the left are those against the most extreme (ie: Tea Party) Republicans in the House and Senate. Linda McMahon (R-CT), Richard Mourdock (R-IN), Scott Brown (R-MA), Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Kurt Bills (R-MN), Todd Akin (R-MS), George Allen (R-VA), and Tommy Thompson (R-WI) all went down in defeat. In the House, Tammy Duckwork (D-IL) knocked Joe Walsh (R-IL) out. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) narrowly beat Allen West (R-FL). And Alan Grayson (D-FL) is back!
These results all come after an extremely bitter fight on all levels. Republicans got a ton of support from several moneyed benefactors and had hoped to use the Citizens United SCOTUS decision to buy themselves the government they wanted. To the credit of the 100+ million people who voted, that was not
money well-spent. Democracy won out over plutocracy. The lies in the ads and the constant barrage of negativity (not to mention the incredibly anti-woman rhetoric) from Republicans and the Super PACs seems to have inspired voters to turn away from the backwards and the negative.
A lot of ugly things were said during the various campaigns, by the candidates, their surrogates, and their supporters. It's time to take a deep breath and let it all go. It will be difficult not to gloat, not to rub their noses in it, not to remind them that all of nasty comments they made and that they can suck it. A few victory dances are appropriate, but let's try not to meet negative with negative.
I will say this though: For all of those unhappy with the results and are prognosticating doom, talk to me again in 4 years and let me know how accurate you were.
Right now, taxes are lower on the middle class, the job situation continues to improve every month, the growth of deficits has slowed, and pre-existing conditions will no longer prevent you from getting medical insurance. You still have your guns, and there is no sharia law, despite Republicans attempts to legislate their religious beliefs.
There were some highlights during the evening, including desperation from Karl Rove who actually tried to disagree with FOX News calling it for Obama
. Gay marriage was approved in Maine and Maryland
. Colorado and Washington state passed ballot initiatives legalizing casual marijuana use
, contradicting federal law.
Mitt Romney delivered a fine concession speech, asking for healing. President Obama pressed for cooperation and common ground
... elections matter. It's not small, it's big. It's important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.
That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.
As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path.
By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.
And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.
Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual.
You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together.
If we keep picking at the scab, the wound will never heal. It's time to remember the "United" part in United States of America.