Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heavenly Outcome, For Some

Today, for the first time in almost a year-and-a-half, the business of politicking, for the most part, is done - at least for a little while. President Obama won his second term, soundly - and we are very grateful for that.

We're also grateful for these things: No more political rallies. No more campaign stops. No more robocalls, or calls from politicians and their surrogates. No more political ads in your newspaper, or on your television, radio, or online either - which we know is the one thing that all Americans, from every political background can agree on. The sound of no more political ads is, frankly, heavenly to all of us.

The final results last night were also heavenly to our staff, in the Presidential race, and in House and Senate races in many places across the country. Tea Party favorites fell like diseased trees in a storm. Some of the candidates we preferred didn't win - like Bob Kerrey. Sadly, the blind, stupid partisans in rural Nebraska continued to vote against their own best interests. At least the people in rural Indiana and rural Missouri showed more sense, voting in Joe Donnelly and returning Claire McCaskill to Congress, as they rejected the misogynists Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin.

Most of our favorite candidates and issues did win last night, and we were not all that much surprised.

That wasn't because of the exit polls. We weren't watching them much last night, as exit polls have a notorious history of inaccurately reflecting final results. Instead, on some sage advice from Nate Silver, we watched specific counties that votes were coming in from, in each state, and in what numbers.

As the results continued piling up, in state by state, it become increasingly clear that the state polls taken from before the election were matching the outcomes that were officially being released. What's more, poll aggregators like Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight.com appear to have been more accurate than most of the aggregators - which is the main reason we've relied on Nate's wisdom and insight for more than four years now.

Some of our favorite ballot measures also won in different places across the nation. In all four states where marriage equality issues were on the ballot - Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington - the people overwhelmingly voted in favor of the idea of letting Americans have the legal right to be with whomever they want. Many of our gay friends are now legally equal to every other American, as they should be - and we're already planning to attend a few of their weddings next spring.

In Colorado and Washington state, the use of recreational marijuana is now legal, as we believe it always should have been. While none of our staff currently uses the substance, we see no reason that its responsible use should be treated any differently from prescription drugs or in a similar fashion to alcohol. Marijuana can also be taxed now - and we hope Coloradans and Washingtonians are smart enough to do just that.

The overall story of the election may seem like an oversimplification - one we're certain that many in the political media will be hashing over the rest of the week - but it actually broke down very simply. In short, if you were already rich, white, old, male, and conservative, you probably voted for Romney and the Republicans. Virtually everyone else voted for President Obama and the Democratic candidates, to some degree.

This shouldn't surprise anyone either. While the Republicans did keep control of the House, the Democrats kept - and strengthened - their control of the Senate. In both the House and Senate, Democrats broadened the demographic nature of their coalition. In fact, this is now the first time in history that the House Democratic caucus has white males as a minority.

Our nation is maturing, changing, and growing. The future of America is as a melting pot - as it's always been. That at least one of our two major political parties continues to embrace this most fundamentally American idea remains music to our ears.

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