Political Animal


November 07, 2012 9:40 AM Morning-After

By Ed Kilgore

Not a lot changed during my few hours of sleep after our election night coverage ended. AP has called the Nevada Senate race for incumbent Republican Dean Heller (others haven’t yet); Democrat Heidi Heitkamp remains ahead by just under 3,000 votes in North Dakota with all precincts reporting, though the state’s permissive recount law will now almost certainly kick in. And votes are still out in Montana, with incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester clinging to a 17,000 vote lead.

It looks like the House will wind up with a net gain of four seats by Democrats, though thirteen seats have not yet formally been called. Allen West seems to have lost by a margin sufficient for his opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy, to avoid an automatic runoff. West’s fellow crazy-person, Michelle Bachmann, seems to have won by an eyelash. Utah Democrat Jim Matheson bucked a huge Romney tide and the growing celebrity of his opponent, Mia Love, to win another term. In California, with returns still coming in, three Republican incumbent House members (Dan Lungren, Mary Bono Mack, and Brian Bilbray) are all trailing.

At the presidential level, what can I say? Obama’s popular vote margin has grown to 2.7 million, and he’s right at the level where he may become the first Democratic presidential candidate since FDR to win a majority of the popular vote twice. Florida still hasn’t been officially called, but still looks likely to fall to Obama, but he’s over 300 in the electoral college anyway.

Maine, Maryland and Washington State voters all approved marriage equality initiatives, while Minnesota rejected a state ban on same-sex marriage. “Recreational use of marijuana” initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington. In California, Jerry Brown’s Prop 30 measure breaking a gigantic state budget gridlock seems to have passed narrowly, though a measure repealing the death penalty failed.

As to what it all means—well, we’ll be talking about that later today, and for some time to come.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • berttheclock on November 07, 2012 9:58 AM:

    At least, the Beatles are back in vogue. It appears to be the only record Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, Linda McMahon and Trump are listening to, this AM. "Money can't buy me love" was really meant for them.

  • Barbara on November 07, 2012 10:02 AM:

    Re: Prop 30 -- the last numbers I saw had it at 54/46, which doesn't seem that narrow.

    Re: Florida, they must be holding back because there are enough absentees or provisionals that the outcome could change -- or at least, in theory it could.

    I am thrilled that we can officially state that Obama wins without Florida, and could have won without either Virginia or Ohio as well. So looking forward to broadening out the number of states that might be deemed determinative.

    I know everyone looking at Virginia has focused on how much narrower Obama's victory was, but what I have been looking at are the county level results and marveling at how some very recently ruby red areas were much, much closer than I thought they would be.

  • T2 on November 07, 2012 10:03 AM:

    at first glance, it seems the Big Losers is the Tea Party, the Koch Bros, Rove, Norquist and Adelson.
    Big Winner? the truth.

  • c u n d gulag on November 07, 2012 10:08 AM:


    The KenyanSocialistFascistCommunistAtheistMuslimHeathen
    Usurper WON!!!

    And the D’s kept the Senate, and made a small inroad in the House – and Sean Patrick Maloney beat my, now, FORMER Congresswoman, Nan Hayworth(less)! YAY!!!

    And Elizabeth Warren won in MA. DOUBLE-YAY!!!

    The Republican Party needs to wake up and smell the demographic changes – they aren’t birthing enough angry straight white men – or women. If they decide to continue to double-down in the future on wedge issues, they may as well grab their own brooms and sweep themselves into the dustbin of history.

    62% of the white vote no longer guarantees victory. They need to reach out to Gays, Latino’s, and other minority groups.
    And women.

    We’ll see what the future brings.
    But I feel comfortable in saying that the Republican Party will have to learn how to edit their loons, so that they can return to being a rational national party. You can run all the nuts, bozo’s, and Teabagging loons, you want in Congressional races – but when they try to run state-wide, never mind nation-wide, campaigns, they lose. I give you Akins and Mourdoch and Allen and Romney and Ryan as evidence. Even Allen West lost in Florida.

    The freaks in the Tea Party need to be locked back up in the attics and basements they escaped from. I think that John Birch has finally breathed his last breath.

    And Republican politicians will have to expand their interviewing appearances beyond just FOX Noise, and their Radio Rushwanda radio base. If you only handle softball questions from sycophantic hosts, when you face the national media, every question seems like a “GOTCHA!” question.
    There’s a reason why Romney didn’t do any nation-wide interviews in the last month of the campaign – he was afraid of saying something either deeply stupid, or offensive.
    He needed to say some really stupid sh*t to win “The Base” in the Republican primaries, and defeat the other dwarves running for the candidacy. But he couldn’t Etch-a-sketch back fast enough, without losing that base. And so, in the end, Mitt was silent when he most needed to make his case, and close the sale.

    I don’t expect some sort of “Kumbaya” movement in DC.
    But I am happy beyond words that, with the country changing, this last grasp of the ancient white men, fell short.
    They needed to win the Presidency, AND both houses of Congress, to make the kind of institutional changes that would keep them in power long after they were in the minority.
    They fell short.
    Their time is gone.

    A new America is rising.

    One that is browner, gayer, younger, and more female.
    We need to embrace it.
    I know I do.


  • Hedda Peraz on November 07, 2012 10:08 AM:

    Yes, yes, biggest win since FDR, and all that, blah blah blah.

    However, the Chattering Class tells us that he 'doesn't have a mandate', and will 'have to reach across the aisle'. And maybe get a skin transplant. . .

  • mudwall jackson on November 07, 2012 10:15 AM:

    at first glance, it seems the Big Losers is the Tea Party, the Koch Bros, Rove, Norquist and Adelson.

    rove definitely was not a loser. his clients might have lost but his bank account was a definite winner.

  • Basilisc on November 07, 2012 10:16 AM:

    Bachmann wins "by an eyelash". Cute.

  • scott_m on November 07, 2012 10:20 AM:

    Hedda nails it. As I was flipping through the channels this morning, I heard Joe Scarborough say that America is still a center-right country, but it's a libertarian center-right country; and Charlie Rose say that now Obama must reach out to Republicans.

    Twits ...

  • berttheclock on November 07, 2012 10:26 AM:

    Yes, scott_m, Joe was pushing that line, but, did you notice, Mike Barnacle broke ranks and said that Mitch McConnell tried his best to force the President into losing and Mitch would have to change and work with the President. Many in the audience applauded and Joe sat silent. Remember, it has been Joe's mantra that the President for the past four years has refused to work with Republicans. Usually, Mike B is crooning Tom Lehrer's "Plagerize" and says nothing, but, today, he did, finally, speak up.

  • berttheclock on November 07, 2012 10:30 AM:

    Looks as though, Bachmann, finally, did something right when she borrowed one of those longer false eyelashes from her hubby.

    However, the KC Star really takes Aiken to task for his mouth losing the contest in Missouri. Many of the posters replied they didn't really like McCaskill, but.................

  • berttheclock on November 07, 2012 10:37 AM:

    Interesting lede of Morning-After as it appears FAUX is, now, pushing for all Republicans to take ECPs

  • T2 on November 07, 2012 10:37 AM:

    yes Mudwall, in terms of money Rove did fine. But in terms of "genius".....lost in 06, 08, 12. He's really not part of the TeaParty, so you can't even give him 2010. Loser, but yes, I'm sure he's quite happy with a fat bank account to go with his fat ass.

  • martin on November 07, 2012 10:53 AM:

    Meanwhile in Alabama, Roy "Ten Commandments Judge" Moore is back as our Chief Justice, giving us a leg up on America's Stupidest Electorate

  • Minnesota Slim on November 07, 2012 12:55 PM:

    Re Michile Bachmann, I think her days are numbered. She squeaked by with 4207 more votes than Jim Graves, but Michele drew 26,515 fewer votes than Romney; Graves garnered 23,842 more votes than Obama. A lot of 6th District voters split their tickets to vote against Minnesota's no. 1 loon. Goodbye MB in 2014?

  • elisabeth on November 07, 2012 1:20 PM:

    it may not sound like much -- especially compared to the Maine and Maryland direct vote in favor of marriage equality -- but in Iowa a judge who had been part of the court finding that marriage inequality was against the Iowa constitution, bringing "gay marriage" to Iowa, was "retained" by Iowa voters even though the anti-equality folks were running a strong comparing to force him out of his position on the state's supreme court and had been successful in 2010 with three other judges who were part of the decision.

  • jpeckjr on November 07, 2012 1:36 PM:

    In my California Central Valley community, there was no drama about President, US Senate House, or state legislative seats. All the drama was with the propositions and at the officially nonpartisan City Council race.

    Going in, we had a 5 - 2 liberal/conservative split 11 candidates for 4 seats, top four win. 4 libs, 5 cons, and 2 moderates on the ballot. Two open seats, 1 lib and 1 cons incumbent running.

    This morning, we have 4 liberals and 2 conservatives. One seat is too close to call: the lib is only 8 votes ahead of a cons. This particular cons is the least ideological of the 5 who ran. The conservative incumbent came in sixth and is off the Council.

    The local Tea Party was SURE all four seats in this year's race would go to conservatives. Big loss for the local Tea Party.