by Abe Asher
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 was Election Night in America. I love election night. There are colorful maps. There are scores, and numbers, and winning, and losing. If you were the Democrats, there was mostly losing. There is Wolf Blitzer. There are purple ties, because anchors want to assure you that they are completely neutral, a mix of red and blue.
This is dumb. In 2016, I want John King waving blue pom poms and wearing his Dukakis ’88 t-shirt.
I know I just dropped two obscure political references that only five of you got, but please, stay with me.
I like election night because you get crazy stories, like the candidate in New York who won in an upset despite facing twenty counts of tax fraud. I like obsessing over returns from rural counties of Virginia where nobody lives.
I really like candidates who lose and then refuse to concede. Martha Coakley, a Democrat who has now lost a Senate election and a governor race in deep blue Massachusetts, is losing her race by 1.9% with 100% of the votes reported.
She won’t call her opponent and concede.
Good going, Martha. Maybe you can go lose a few House seats before fulfilling your destiny and running for City Council.
I like election night because you can easily see which media people are hot and which media people are not. For instance, Katie Couric and deposed Meet The Press host David Gregory hosted an election night web chat on Yahoo! over cocktails at a bar.
I like election night because democracy is cool, even if people mostly vote for the wrong people. I like watching the polls close, votes come in, the map fills in, and there’s always drama. Not that there was much drama in these midterms.
As you know by now, things did not go well for the Democrats on Tuesday. They were expected to lose the Senate, in part because of President Obama’s unpopularity, in part because elections were being held in traditionally Republican states.
Many traditionally red states who had a bout with sanity in 2008 and elected Democratic Senators were now getting their first chance to vote them out. Still, it promised to be a close election.
With polls in the margin error in crucial states all over the country, pundits were predicting a long and exciting night.
But then, Republicans crushed Democrats in senate and governors races across the country.
But voters appear to be a little confused. As Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight tweeted, “So voters want a higher minimum wage, legal pot, abortion access, and GOP representation. Ok then.”
The result is the last two years of the Obama Presidency will be served with a Republican controlled Senate and House. Let’s take a look at the new Senators we’ve elected.
- Joni Ernst, Iowa: She rose to prominence by running an ad that talked about her castrating hogs. She’ll be one of the most conservative members of the Senate.
- Cory Gardner, Colorado: When interviewed, he starts every sentence with “well…” He destroyed his opponent, Democrat incumbent Mark Udall.
- David Perdue, Georgia: Perdue crushed opponent Michelle Nunn by staunchly defending his record of outsourcing jobs.
- Thom Tillis, North Carolina: This guy defeated Democratic incumbent Kay Hagen, even though everyone agrees that Hagen ran the perfect campaign.
- Tom Cotton, Arkansas: Cotton will become the youngest US Senator, beating two-term incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor by a whopping 17% points. It’s impressive, I think, to be an incumbent and lose by 17%, but that’s another story.
- Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire: The one competitive race the Democrat won saw Shaheen reelected. She beat Scott Brown, who lost his Senate seat in Massachusetts a few years ago, then decided to move states and give it another shot. I don’t think that’s what representative democracy is about, but okay.
- Mark Warner, Virginia: In Virginia, Democrat Mark Warner was up by about ten points in the polls. He won his race by less than one percent.
- I like Mary Landrieu, a three-term Democratic incumbent Senator from Louisiana, but mostly just because she reminds me of Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes. Her race has gone to a run-off, which she is virtually certain to lose. This isn’t Landrieu’s first experience with run-off elections; she won in 2002 as a Democrat by trumpeting that she voted with President Bush 70% of the time.
There were also some close governor’s races. In Florida, Republican Rick Scott was reelected despite the fact that no one likes him. He probably won because he was running against Charlie Crist, an old Republican governor who switched parties and then tried to get his old job back. And we thought Mitt Romney flip-flopped.
Republicans won races in Democratic strongholds like Illinois, Massechusetts, and Maryland, while Democrat John Hickenlooper held in Colorado. I’m thinking the name Hickenlooper was good for at least 50,000 votes.
Locally, Oregon legalized pot – but if you want to go to college and not be in debt for the next thirty years or know what’s in your food, you’d better move.
Now, eyes turn towards the 2016 election. We’re thinking it’s going to be Clinton-Bush again, because America is basically a plutocracy between the Kennedys, Clintons, and Bushes.
So, here’s to Chelsea 2020, and God Bless America.
– Picture from the Times-Union