Home / General / More on Awesome Election Night ’11

More on Awesome Election Night ’11


Scott has already talked about some of the great stuff that happened last night. I want to build on that a bit here.

Scott discussed the failure of the Mississippi zygote amendment, demonstrating that at least for the time being, a majority of people in even our most conservative states are not totally insane.

The other big news of course was SB-5 in Ohio and I want to state just what a huge victory this is. In 2010, a motivated conservative base and an apathetic and dispirited Democratic Party created conditions that allowed John Kasich to defeat Ted Strickland for the governorship. Kasich received 1,889,180 votes for governor in 2010. SB-5 was rejected with 2,145,042 votes. I don’t know a single time in history when an off-year ballot measure had a higher voter turnout than an on-year gubernatorial election. Absolutely remarkable. Recent polls also show Obama crushing all Republican opponents in Ohio. This might not mean much now, but Ohio and Wisconsin have seen the Republican insanity up close and personal and have rejected it soundly.

Getting less attention but also very important is Wake County, North Carolina voting out the right-wingers who destroyed their integrated public education system
. This is significant because of the evil influence of Koch-esque Art Pope had had over North Carolina politics since the Citizens United decision and shows that while you can buy elections, you can’t fool the people forever with money and dirty politics.

Even cities like Knoxville, Tennessee, one of America’s most conservative metropolises, voted in Madeline Rogero as mayor. Rogero is not only the first female mayor in the city’s history, but is the first non-right winger in my memory (I lived there for 3 years in the late 90s and was deeply involved in local politics and organizing).

Not to mention the successful recall of the loathsome Russell Pearce in Arizona, the restoration of voting rights in Maine, the reelection of Steve Beshear as governor of Kentucky, and several other positive races.

One can’t read too much into these elections, but they are obviously good signs for Democrats going into 2012. Moreover, it helps reinforce my belief that Occupy Wall Street and the Madison protests from earlier this year have gone a long ways toward changing the narrative of the nation.

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  • Scott Lemieux

    Thanks for writing about the NC school vote. I heard about it but couldn’t find a good story last night…

    • cer

      Seconded. This is really great news about an under-covered story.

      • c u n d gulag

        I represented my company at some Wake board meetings and awards ceremonies back around 2000-2003, and couldn’t believe what I’d seen happen to that district in recent years. It went from one of the most progressive in NC, to one of the most regressive.

        I’m safely back in NY State again, but I’m glad that Wake Co, NC, came back to its senses. That’s some more good news!

    • Lex

      Hear, hear. My brother and his wife have 5 kids in the Wake County Schools. He’d never been involved in politics in his life until this crew came along.

  • Law Spider

    Guy Pearce, loathesome? I actually think that he was good in both L.A. Confidential and Momento. Less impressive in the King’s Speech; then again, I didn’t like the movie.

    More importantly: No Republican Presidential candidate in the past century has won without winning Ohio. So this is an incredibly positive sign for Obama.

    • firefall

      and awesome in Priscilla Queen of the Desert

      But I’m assuming this is meant to be Russell Pierce or Pearce

  • JBL

    That’s Art Pope, I believe.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Thanks, JBL! Carl Pope used to be head of the Sierra Club. I had a hard time believing that he’d turned into a loathsome man-behind-the-curtain of North Carolina politics!

    • Yep, corrected.

      • somethingblue

        And maybe fix “Guy” (read: Russell) Pearce and Steve “Beshar” (read: Beshear) while you’re at it? In for a penny …

        • It would be easier to blog if I had time to do it properly instead of sneaking it in between parts of my real job.

  • strannix

    I don’t know a single time in history when an off-year ballot measure had a higher voter turnout than an on-year gubernatorial election.

    Didn’t happen this time either:

    3,956,045 total votes – 2010 gubernatorial
    3,497,408 total votes – 2011 special

    Obviously your bigger point – that turnout was impressive for this election – still stands. But keep in mind that the Kasich vote was very close and this one wasn’t, hence the discrepancy in vote totals for the winning sides.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      At this particular moment in American politics, neither major party commands is viewed favorably by a majority of the U.S. public (with the GOP being even more unpopular than the Democrats). To a certain extent, both parties benefit when an election can be framed as a referendum on the policies of the other one.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        “neither major party is viewed favorably”

        (Preview, please!)

  • Ubu Imperator

    Liz Mathis also handily won the Iowa Senate special election, which means that Senate control remains 26-24 in favor of the Democrats. This means a) the GOP’s attempts to put gay marriage to a popular vote will continue to be stymied, and b) apparently enough people in Linn County looked at Wisconsin and Michigan and Florida and said, “No thanks.”

  • Pardon the blogwhore but…

    Chris Christie got his ass kicked in Jersey

    And Virginia, Dems may only have lost a seat, maybe two. Two would be a tie.

    • Two would throw control to the Republicans as the Lt. Gov gets to play tiebreaker.

    • c u n d gulag

      Thanks, actor, I didn’t see that good news about Krispy Kreme earlier.

  • Ed Marshall

    A lot of people must have cast a vote against the union busting, but for the constitutional amendment to ban an insurance mandate. I’m still trying to figure out who these people are, but I don’t know if the news out of Ohio bodes well for 2012 or not.

    • Ruby

      The ballot text was *extremely* misleading, it was not at all clear what you were voting for, if you didn’t know what it was meant to do.

      My own mother was confused into voting for it.

  • John Scalzi notes what Ed noted, “Democrats and liberals inclined to gloat or read too much into these particular tea leaves are invited to note that Issue 3, the one that makes it unconstitutional to mandate health care (i.e., the initiative to bypass the Federal health care law), passed by an even wider margin.”

    Thoughts, anyone? How to distinguish what we saw last night from a general throw-the-bums-out trend?

    • Holden Pattern

      The mandate is a conservative idea, originally dreamed up by the Heritage Foundation and put into the ACA in order to provide a sop to the insurance companies and, in theory at least, to deal with the adverse selection / free rider problem.

      You don’t have to be a conservative to dislike the idea that the government is going to force you to buy health insurance from a private insurance company (who has every incentive to gouge you and stiff you when you submit a bill if they can — that’s a VERY common experience). You do have to be a wingnut to think it’s actually unconstitutional, but I would bet that most of the people voting for Issue 3 aren’t making the nice legal distinction between tentherism batshittery and resentment of what feels like a government-mandated transfer of wealth to the already-rich insurance company CEO.

      • You don’t have to be a conservative to dislike the idea that the government is going to force you to buy health insurance from a private insurance company

        Why, I’d be willing to bet that a Democratic presidential candidate who opposed mandates could still manage to squeak out the nomination.

        • Tom Allen

          Indeed, a Democratic presidential candidate who opposed mandates (and who favored the public option) managed to squeak out the nomination last time. Whatever happened to that guy — you know, Barack somebody? Oh, right. Got elected, immediately changed positions.

          Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, etc.

          • Whatever happened to that guy

            He got his bill passed.

            An unforgivable sin, I know.

            • Bill Murray

              so he opposed the mandate but got his bill with the mandate passed, seems like there’s some cognitive dissonance there Joe

              • It must be awfully nice to have lived a life where the concept of getting most of what you wanted is so baffling to you.

                I’m jealous.

                • Furious Jorge

                  I honestly think that he opposed the mandate just as a way of drawing a bright line between himself and Hilary.

                  His plan doesn’t work without the mandate.

              • “Cognitive dissonance” is one of those terms that stupid people on the internet use to look smart.

                • dave

                  This really is you, isn’t it, Joe?

    • snarkout

      Nobody was campaigning against Issue 3, because it’s poorly written to the point of being unenforceable (it quite plausibly outlaws workers comp). I would expect that the ACA remains unpopular in Ohio, but I wouldn’t take the results of a confusingly worded ballot initiative that one side basically decided to ignore as evidence that the sky is falling.

      • When you don’t believe in a polity, all politics is gestural local

      • Ohio Mom

        Agree. I saw next to no campaigning against OR for Issue 3 — it was a sleeper of an issue. A friend whose husband & teenage son had come to our door a month ago for the No on 2 campaign, called me after voting to ask what Issue 3 was! She voted against it but only on a guess.

      • Ruby

        10 to 1 the Workers Comp thing is a feature, not a bug.

  • Issue 3 in Ohio was understood by the people I spoke to to be against Obama’s health care mandate. Period.

    One can argue all they want about badly written, but I would suggest that what the whole ball of wax in Ohio means is good for progressives, but not so good for democrats, unless they start becoming a little more progressive.

    • The mandate is hugely unpopular. But I don’t see that as dispositive in the general election.

  • Freakin hilarious how you attribute all this to OWS when they haven’t stated any of these things as causes for which they are protesting.

    I wonder what the ACTUAL overlap is for working class people and OWS. I wish I had the money to do a study.

    The Political Blog of Pure Win

  • Ruby

    And, for those outside of Ohio, this is the official language of Issue 3, as seen when voting:


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  • ilyich

    Even cities like Knoxville, Tennessee, one of America’s most conservative metropolises, voted in Madeline Rogero as mayor.

    Late to the game here, but there’s a huge chasm between the political and cultural leanings of Knoxville and Knox County.

    To just gloss over that divide and profess shock that Madeline could get elected is just nuts, or at least demonstrates that whatever your deep involvement in local politics, you didn’t bother learning much of anything about this place.

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