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Victory

[ 200 ] November 7, 2012 |

What a night.

I’ll have a full post about this later today, but the success of the marriage equality ballot measures in Maryland, Washington, and Maine and the rejection of the anti-gay measure in Minnesota means that historians may look upon this election as a historical milestone as significant as the election of the first African-American to the presidency 4 years ago. On top of that, you have Obama’s reelection, the significant move of the Senate to the left, a host of interesting ballot measures, and the rejection of white supremacy by the American populace. All very interesting.

Let’s get to some specifics and good links. First, in case you haven’t read enough summaries of why all this matters, Michael Cohen has a real nice piece up at the Guardian.

Amanda Marcotte writes that the nation rejected the Republican War on Women. And indeed she’s right. I’ll only add that it was much more than that. The Republicans declared war not only on women but also on people of color as well as the queer community. Voters rejected that agenda. Women not only elected Obama but they elected each other to lead the rejuvenated Democratic Party. Tammy Baldwin. Elizabeth Warren. Mazie Hirono. Heidi Heitkamp. Tammy Duckworth. These are exciting politicians to go along with Amy Klouchbar, Debbie Stabenow and other impressive women taking leadership roles in the progressive wing of the party.

But again, it’s not just women rallying to defend themselves. Dave Zirin reminds us that Sergio Romo’s awesome World Series parade shirt pretty much sums up much of the Latino community’s response to the Republican War on Brown People. Republicans attack on voting rights seems to have motivated the African-American community even more than they already were. Obama absolutely crushed Romney among Asians. And the young, also victims of Republican voting rights restrictions and barriers on college campuses, again supported the president. I was very pleased that Obama made a point in his speech last night that it was wrong that people have to wait so long to vote and that we needed to do something about that. Of course, voting is generally state-controlled, but national leadership for voting standards could really help. Finally, for the first time in history, the Democratic Party’s House delegation is not majority white male. It’s about time.

The Senate also moved significantly to the left
. Republicans moved 2 seats to the right. Crazy Ted Cruz replaced Kay Bailey Hutchison and Deb Fischer won Ben Nelson’s seat. Every other seat that changed hands moved left. Some of these are obvious–Elizabeth Warren beating Scott Brown for instance. But Tammy Baldwin is well to the left of Herb Kohl. Tim Kaine is kind of lame but he’s better than Jim Webb. Joe Donnelly is definitely not my kind of Democrat but he’s to the left of Dick Lugar. Heidi Heitkamp is to the left of Kent Conrad. Martin Heinrich will be to the left of Jeff Bingaman. Chris Murphy is to the left of Joe Lieberman. Mazie Hirono keeps Akaka’s seat very liberal. Angus King is to the left of Olympia Snowe. Etc. DW-Nominate scores for the 112th Congress shows Conrad as 29th most liberal senator, Bingaman 34th, Kohl 37th, Lieberman 46th, Webb 50th. Their replacements will probably be better down the line.

And let’s not forget the states. California finally showed a little bit of sanity, passing a tax hike to save the state’s schools. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana. The passage of gay marriage. The rejection of a lot of awful millionaire-funded craziness on ballot measures across the country. Not everything was perfect. Particularly sad was Michigan rejecting placing collective bargaining guarantees in the state constitution. But still, overall this was a positive night at the state level.

Importantly for progressives needing to learn some lessons about how change takes place in this country, many of these ballot measures show that grassroots organizing works. The gay rights movement and marijuana legalization are social movements creating unstoppable forces for change on the grassroots. They are organizing on the ground and then demanding and successfully creating social change. This is how you do it.

What happens next? The Republican knife fight for control of the party is going to be hilarious to watch. Reading Douthat crying big fat tears is a good start. Pass the popcorn! Republicans’ absurd gerrymanders (allow me to use this occasion to again remind progressives that local and state elections are just as important as the presidency and control over state legislatures is really really really important), especially in Pennsylvania where a majority of the state voted for Democratic House candidates and the congressional delegation is 13-5 Republican, means that they kept the House. So Republicans could continue their policy of extreme hostility. I do probably think this will happen. Congressional Republicans are going to be so furious that Obama is still president that I have trouble seeing much compromise at all from their backbenchers. On the other hand, that is a good ticket to irrelevancy. They’ve tried that for 4 years and it led to another electoral defeat.

The issue about to dominate the country is the upcoming “fiscal cliff.” Yglesias rightfully notes that we all need to chill out and come up with a different name for this. The cliff metaphor is another example of Republicans dominating the nation’s political language. There’s no disaster if nothing happens by December 31 because we can always pass something on January 1. Two additional points about this. I think every progressive is waiting to see what Obama is going to do for his much desired Grand Bargain. How much will he deal away on social programs and for what? At least right now, Obama and Reid seem to be ready to take a more aggressive stance than 2009. Let’s hope so. Second, we are going to find out real fast what the Republican strategy is. But they don’t have a lot of cards to play here. Will the few grownups take over here and agree to some tax hikes?

Finally, here’s a list of 5 things I think we can and should expect Obama and Congress to do in the next 2 years. This excludes things that I want to happen but won’t (Employee Free Choice Act, comprehensive climate change legislation) nor basic executive power stuff that Obama needs to be more aggressive on (nominating judges to fill vacant positions on the federal courts, land protection).

1. Filibuster reform. This obviously should not come from the president. But this is the most important thing the Senate can do. Angus King was elected on a platform of filibuster reform. We know that some of the younger senators like Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall wholly support this. Some of the old guard centrist Democrats like Lieberman who used the filibuster to increase their power are gone. Of course Joe Manchin and Max Baucus are still around. But I think some kind of filibuster reform is absolutely necessary for a functioning government. Lower it to 55 votes. Even 57 would be an improvement. Force filibustering senators to actually talk on the Senate floor. Eliminating individual holds on nominees is also necessary. Harry Reid needs to do this on the first day of the Senate, when the session’s rules are set.

2. Immigration reform. This is good politics and morally correct. Obama needs to make his top legislative priority passing comprehensive immigration reform. Force Republicans to either double down on their white supremacy or cave to survive. Latinos elected Obama and will elect Democrats in the future behind this and other legislation that will promote immigrant rights. Minorities made up 45% of the people who voted for President Obama. He needs to remember this.

3. Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Again, let’s force Republicans to either embrace homophobia or cave. The politics are more or less the same here as immigration reform (albeit a bit more risky in the short term). The overwhelming success of gay marriage last night means that the country is speeding toward this inevitability anyway. No Democrat can win the nomination in 2016 without embracing full equality. Let’s make it national policy and at least force a vote on it.

4. Pass legislation to limit the impact of Citizens United. One of the big stories from last night is that Citizens United seems to have made virtually no difference on the presidential or Senate races. It seems that people probably just tune out the political ads over time. I think this has a far greater effect on the state and local levels, where voters simply don’t pay as much attention or have as much knowledge. Plus it’s a horrible thing and turns off voters. I do think there will be some will to make this happen.

5. Tax the rich. This gets back to the Grand Bargain. Obama needs to make the rich pay their fair share. They hate him anyway so there’s very little political downside. Frame this as a battle against the rich and for the middle class.

Realistically, Obama isn’t going to get more than this done.

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  1. How can legislation overturn Citizens United, which ruled such legislation unconstitutional?

    More SSM good news to throw on the pile: Iowa retained a judge up for election who ruled in favor of SSM.

    • somethingblue says:

      I note that Erik says “limit the impact of,” not “overturn.”

    • Josh G. says:

      If Scalia or Kennedy retire and are replaced with one of Obama’s appointments, then Citizens United can be overturned by the resulting Supreme Court.

      • Richard says:

        Scalia aint retiring during the next four years. And even if this happened, the justices would have to overturn the precedent that is now Citizens United and also have a court case that would give them this opportunity. Unlikely that all of this would happen during the next four years.

        • BobS says:

          Scalia doesn’t look to me like the healthiest 76 year old guy. It won’t surprise me to read about his heart attack or stroke some day in the not-to-distant future.

          • janastas359 says:

            I know it makes me a bad person, but really, fingers crossed.

          • Richard says:

            Death is always possible but he’s not going to retire and there are several justices who look more infirm than him

            • BobS says:

              Any of whom would be replaced by Obama during the next 4 years.
              I agree that Scalia looks relatively robust next to Ginsburg, but again, at the risk of Fristing, I’d be real surprised if he weren’t a Type 2 diabetic with hypertension and/or coronary atery disease issues as well, not a great combination at any age but frequently lethal at 76.

              • Richard says:

                But if Ginsburg is replaced, we are no closer to Citizens United being overturn. The only way that is remotely possible is if Scalia or Kennedy leaves the bench. From all I’ve read, and having met Scalia a couple times, he’s a pretty happy, contented, sociable guy (despite his reactionary views) and i think its somewhat absurd to speculate that he has diabetes or hypertension or coronary disease. I would take the over on the chances of him reaching 80

                • BobS says:

                  Go ahead and make that bet, but I’m similarly comfortable with the odds that an obese 76 year old guy has one or more of the conditions I mentioned, and unless you discussed the details of his medical history when you met him, you’re naive to believe otherwise.

                • Richard says:

                  Well his expected life expectancy, based on actuarial tables, is 86 years old. The only health problem I know of is that he is somewhat overweight. I think he survives Obama’s term

                • Jameson Quinn says:

                  Me too. But I would take the under on the chances of every single one from Kennedy to the right making it through the next 4 years. If their chances are 75, 80, 90, 95, 95, then their combined chance of sticking around is under 50%, and the chances of more than one leaving are non-negligible.

                • BobS says:

                  If you don’t mind, I’ll wait to hear the odds Nate Silver has on Scalia.

          • spencer says:

            That would just break my fucking heart, I’ll tell you what.

        • Josh G. says:

          Scalia and Roberts are both 76. It’s a good bet that either one of them will retire in the next 4 years, or God will make that decision for them.
          And stare decisis isn’t what it used to be (see Lawrence v. Texas). The Court is now pretty much an overtly political institution, and game theory indicates it would be foolish for the Democratic nominees to ignore that fact.

          • Richard says:

            Roberts isn’t 76, Kennedy is. I dont think that Scalia would ever retire knowing that Obama would appoint his precessor. Not so sure about Kennedy but I still think its unlikely. And having reached the age of 76, the average future lifespan for both Scalia and Kennedy is another ten years

            Plus even if one or both retired and the court decided to not treat Citizens United as stare decisis, you would still need an active case that would reach the Supreme Court in the next four years. Since Citizens United struck down the portion of the election act that put limits on corporate political advertising and since that section is therefore not being enforced, its hard to imagine where another legal challenge would come from in the absence of new legislation.

    • JGabriel says:

      Erik Loomis:

      Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. … The politics are more or less the same here as immigration reform (albeit a bit more risky in the short term).

      Erik, I remember a couple of years ago, when, on the same day, Congress voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but simultaneously rejected the Dream Act — thereby showing us that the GOP hates Mexican babies more than they hate gays.

      SO I think there’s actually a lower short-term risk in repealing DOMA than in immigration reform.

      .

  2. Richard says:

    Legislation to repeal Citizens United isn’t possible since Citizens United is a decision based on interpretation of the First Amendment.Remember, Citizens United overturned exisitng legislation on Constitutional grounds. You would have to pass a constitutional amendment – which isn’t happening. You might be able to pass legislation which would strengthen disclosure requirements which might weaken Citizens United (or get a replacement justice for any of the five who voted for Citizens United and have a similar case reheard but that is pretty unlikely)

    Although I am strongly in favor of immigration reform and hope it gets done, I dont think its actually a great thing for maximizing the Democratic vote. If it got passed, the one overriding issue that causes Latinos to vote for the Democrats would no longer be out there and the Republicans would have a better chance of increasing their share of the Latino vote. There are a number of issues still out there that should guaranty a Latino majority for the Dems in my lifetime, but I certainly see the possibility of Republican gains among Latinos if the issue of immigration reform isn’t out there.

    • Ed says:

      There are a number of issues still out there that should guaranty a Latino majority for the Dems in my lifetime, but I certainly see the possibility of Republican gains among Latinos if the issue of immigration reform isn’t out there.

      Very possibly there are Democratic politicians secretly thinking that way, but I would expect Latino leaders and activists to anticipate that and hold certain feet to the fire, as gay activists did not too long ago.

      • Richard says:

        Without immigration reform to unite the Latino anti-Republican vote, the Republicans will make some inroads (despite the efforts of Latino leaders and activists). I have three nephews who are Mexican-American and are officers with the Los Angeles Police Department. If not for the immigration issue (which is personal to them since their Dad and Mom were born in Mexico and many of their aunts, uncles and cousins live in Mexico) they would be very likely to vote Republican. I don’t think this is an unusual situation. As I said before, I dont anticipate the Dems losing the majority of the Latino vote but I dont anticipate holding on to 75% if immigration is no longer an overriding issue.

        • djangermous says:

          Regardless of whichever particular reform happens I don’t see how Republicans are going to square the circle of embracing diversity while also advocating for the new confederacy.

          If republican attempts to roll back the law don’t turn off latino voters, the next issue they pick to signal to their base that they’re as devoted as ever to hating brown people should probably do the job.

          • Richard says:

            I agree with you that its probably impossible to do (without losing the wacko Tea Pary faction). All I’m saying is that if they could forge a coalition with the Dems and get comprehensive immigration reform passed, they have the chance of getting a bigger slice of the Latino vote (but could very possible lose as many or more wacko Tea Pary votes)

  3. david mizner says:

    Obama isn’t going to get more than this done.

    Oh, I think he’ll be able to start another covert war or two, probably in Africa somewhere.

    Meanwhile Warren says she won by standing up for the “core of liberalism,” by which I assume she means economic justice.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/elizabeth-warren_n_2088073.html

  4. Jameson Quinn says:

    I think that climate change actually has a chance, and it’s worth it if we peel off any Republicans at all, even a few. The way to do this is revenue-neutral carbon taxes.

    • Anna in PDX says:

      Yes, I think it is a really important issue, too important to leave off of any list, and that some of the things we can do about it are really do-able. It can be sort of incremental but it needs to be SOMETHING. There has to be something between “status quo – we all love the coal industry” and “change everything about our energy policy over night while ignoring the Republicans somehow.” Maybe the latter is impossible, but the former is a REALLY bad idea.

    • DivGuy says:

      Legislation is impossible. It’s not particularly popular nationally, and the Republicans have no interest in making compromises on issues that don’t win them votes.

      Climate change “legislation” is going to have to happen by EPA rule-setting. I expect we’ll see a more aggressive EPA in this next term on carbon emissions and the like.

  5. “I do probably think this will happen. Congressional Republicans are going to be so furious that Obama is still president that I have trouble seeing much compromise at all from their backbenchers. On the other hand, that is a good ticket to irrelevancy. They’ve tried that for 4 years and it led to another electoral defeat.”

    Forgive me for finding the gray lining in the silver cloud here, but the politicians most directly responsible for the massive obstruction of the last two years, House Republicans, were left mostly unscathed last night. In 2014, when the electorate will presumably look more like 2010 than last night’s, they aren’t likely to lose in significant numbers either.

    Their scorched Congress policy may indeed be a ticket to irrelevancy long term, and last night was a big point in favor of the theory that the Republican Party as currently constructed is no longer nationally competitive, but for at least the next four years the people most responsible for federal inaction are going to be extremely well insulated electorally. They have nothing to lose, are easy to primary from the right if they deviate, and see themselves as vindicated after they all kept their seats last night.

    Obama’s got plenty of leverage, and a more liberal Senate helps, but I’d be surprised if the House isn’t even crazier than it’s been.

    Oh, and can we get some Baldwin 2016 signs printed up? I would LOVE to see the Republicans tripping over themselves to make and issue of her sexual orientation without sounding like that’s what they’re doing.

    • Cody says:

      I second this. Worth putting her in the primary just for The Daily Show covering Fox News.

      Watching Bill O’Reilly squirm talking about her without trying to be overtly anti-gay would be epic.

    • timb says:

      Mitch McConnell‘s plan was formulated in 1/09. It is the senate minority which was obstructionist. The only thing the House Majority obstructed was a dream Grand Bargain of the Senate minority.

      McConnell’s plan failed and people need to point it out until it becomes a media narrative

    • janastas359 says:

      Yes, but the House isn’t everything. Unfortunately 2010 was a bad year for Dems, and the House is going to be a heavy lift until the states are redistricted again. But an obstinate, block everything House would have an effect on the Senate (As it already seemingly has) and on the Presidency in 2016 and 2020.

      I don’t know when it’s gonna be, but eventually it feels like the storm is gonna break. If the members of the House keep costing Republicans easy senate seats and the Presidency, I have to imagine there will be a reckoning for the tea party.

      • “But an obstinate, block everything House would have an effect on the Senate (As it already seemingly has) and on the Presidency in 2016 and 2020.”

        But what would they care? They’re all safe in gerrymandered districts, and most of them wouldn’t be viable in a statewide race anyway. Michelle Bachmann and Peter King, for example, would not do well should they try to make the leap to the upper chamber.

        The people who took the federal budget hostage are still there and they still have their hostage. If you want to extend the metaphor, last night’s results would be the equivalent of taking out the hostage taker’s headquarters while the guys actually holding the hostages are still holed up and making demands. And yes, Cantor et al are making demands (http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/cantor-dont-raise-tax-rates):

        “I hope President Obama responds to this election by making an effort to work with Republicans. There is no mandate for raising tax rates on the American people.”

        For a dyed in the wool fiscal House loon, all Romney’s loss last night means is that he’s got to wait for more years to get a real President and implement the Ryan budget once and for all.

        • John says:

          Do you mean Steve King? Peter King, although he is a gigantic asinine tool in a way that only Irish Republicans from Long Island can be, is not actually all that conservative by House Republican standards.

        • Mark Dobrowolski says:

          Is it true that Adelson and the Koch brotherhood are currently under investigation? Depending on when charges are filed, would they continue with buying elections (or spend thier money elsewhere, say legal services). Would this put the Tea Party candidates at a competitive disadvantage even in their own gerrymandered districts?

  6. Joe says:

    Citizen United leaves open various things like the DISCLOSE Act & I think that is what “limit the impact” would mean.

  7. Craigo says:

    Whether it was Soromayor, ACA, the DREAM act, or a Republican base which quite openly hates them, Hispanics had monster turnout.(10%! Still hard to believe.) Don’t forget that.

    • Humanities Grad says:

      The interesting thing is that while this is a record turnout, it still shows that Hispanics are badly underperforming at the national level.

      Latino-Americans make up roughly 16% of the country’s population–they’re now the largest minority community, about 1/3 larger than the African-American community.

      As their average socioeconomic status rises, their participation rates will rise. If Latinos ever begin turning out in numbers proportionate to their share of the population, and their R/D voting identification stays anywhere close to where it is now, it’s going to be very, very hard for Republicans to win national elections.

  8. StevenAttewell says:

    One more thing to add to the list: voting rights legislation. We won last night because a hell of a lot of people overcame obstacles coming from their own governments to them voting. Time to knock down those obstacles.

  9. ploeg says:

    Amanda Marcotte is incorrect. The nation did not reject the Republican War on Women. Only Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites did.

  10. Wido Incognitus says:

    1. Did Emmannuel Burris wear a saucy t-shirt at the victory parade?
    2. I thought it was funny that Ross Douthat’s blog post notes the “boosterism” of William F. George and Michael Barone but does not mention Douthat’s own recent column in which he sniffed “maybe the electoral college will save Obama” when in fact Barack Obama smacked down Willard in the popular vote as well.
    3. I still say that the best hope for the Republicans is to become openly a white person’s party by doing everything in the context of whining about affirmative-action. They already do better with low-income white people than with middle-income and upper-income non-white people, and even with the growth of the non-white population they should still be all right. What did the voters really reject? It may have been two Ayn Rand fanboys. There is still a space for liberalism without either socialism or political correctness.

    • Wido Incognitus says:

      3a. The Republicans have lost the popular vote in 5 of the past 6 presidential elections. Therefore, although a transformation to an open white person’s party will be awkward, they do not have much to lose. (I am aware that they kept the House of Representatives, but who cares?)

      • Josh G. says:

        Most racist whites prefer not to think of themselves as racist. That’s why Republicans have used the dog-whistle strategies. It’s not that they think minorities are going to be fooled, it’s that it lets suburban white voters tell themselves that they don’t really hate blacks and Hispanics, it’s just (insert excuses A, B, C…)

        • FlipYrWhig says:

          Exactly. It’s more like, “I’m not racist or anything, I just hate when lazy people get handouts and become dependent on the government and drink malt liquor and barely know English.”

          • JKTHs says:

            Plus they’re oh-so-convinced that OBAMA will spend his whole term jacking up taxes just to give money to those malt liquor-drinking non-English speaking welfare queens.

          • Anna in PDX says:

            Boy, I heard that from half the people on Facebook yesterday. It was really depressing. Most of those who spew these things are people who have minimum wage jobs themselves and have been unemployed in the past and and and…. but they deserve their government handouts because they “paid for them” whereas others don’t because of course they didn’t. And the subtext is “because they are not white.” Just sad and awful.

            • Mark Dobrowolski says:

              i am an old White male of the working class. Yes, I am (comparatively speaking) uneducated. Considering the demographic trends (which are at least 20 years old, thus no surprise to anyone who looked at them) wouldn’t it have made more sense for the shrinking white majority to enshrine minority rights as a staple of Americalism?

          • Exactly. It’s more like, “I’m not racist or anything, I just hate when lazy people get handouts and become dependent on the government and drink malt liquor and barely know English.”

            The local news covered a guy who put up a sign in his front yard reading, “Voting is your duty. Don’t re-nig.”

            He wasn’t a racist, he explained. He just wanted to encourage people to vote.

    • Hob says:

      Would you care to explain the little nugget you dropped over here in which you seemed to be saying that the Shelley v. Kraemer decision was “idiocy”? Not to assist in trollery, but just so people have some idea what kind of person they’re talking to here.

  11. tonycpsu says:

    Boehner is digging in verbally on a “balanced” approach, which of course means extending Bush tax cuts, some vague talk about closing loopholes, and deep cuts to SS/Medicare/Medicaid. I don’t know about him not having many cards. The Dems will have to flip some GOP Reps in order to get a better deal done. How do they do that?

    • tonycpsu says:

      (Keeping in mind that the House GOP was willing to shoot hostages last time, and Paul Ryan is going to want to take out his loss on Obama.)

      • Cody says:

        I agree with this fear. If they want, the House can still completely destroy America financially.

        And they seem pretty willing too. The GOP has gerrymandered well enough that it will be near impossible to get a majority even if they came out and told America they were going to legalize rape and steal all their money.

        We’ll have to hope the GOP fractures so they don’t stand together. They had a lot of internal fighting already. I would suspect a lot of House members are not down with the tea-party.

    • Josh G. says:

      If nothing is passed, then all the Bush tax cuts automatically expire, and military spending is drastically cut. That’s our leverage.

      • tonycpsu says:

        I’m assuming the can opener of “Democrats show enough balls to take this past Jan 1.” Now what?

        • JKTHs says:

          Democrats maintaining leverage and having balls? That’s a pretty unlikely can opener.

          • BigHank53 says:

            You do need a hell of a lot of leverage to open a can with your balls, I’ll grant you that.

          • tonycpsu says:

            That’s kind of my point. Even if Democrats buck tradition and don’t roll over when Boehner threatens to take out a hostage or two, they’ll have some leverage, but what will they be give up to get a deal? The correct answer should be “my offer is this — nothing” but we all know it’ll be deep entitlement cuts or tax cuts somewhere else.

  12. Fighting Words says:

    Slightly off topic, but I was at the Giants World Series Victory Parade. I remember the huge cheers that Sergio Romo got after people realized what his shirt said (which was hard to miss because he was pointing at his shirt the whole time).

    • BobS says:

      That was a great shirt. Seeing that photo takes a little of the sting out of the Tigers losing the World Series.

    • curious says:

      Yes, Which leads me to an under discussed topic from last night which were the Puerto Rico referendums reflecting desire for statehood and and representation. Pushing this issue could have the same effects as immigration reform in forcing the hand of the GOP and further mobilizing the democratic Hispanic vote (especially in Florida), which would be devastating for potential 2014 candidates like Rubio if he’s nominated due to the I-4 corridor demographics.

      • Remy says:

        I fully agree with pushing for Puerto Rican statehood. Republicans have traditionally been for it and it is even in their platform this year, but there is no way the tea party wing of the party wouldn’t go nuts and try to attach some crazy riders (English as the only official language of Puerto Rico?) to any statehood bill. Plus, based on the population figures of the 2010 census Puerto Rico would have 5 members of Congress, which if just added to the House would conveniently eliminate the possibility of a tied electoral college scenario.

        • curious says:

          Good points. I aso think that their ousting of their GOP pro-statehood governor coupled with the referendums reveals that the electorate see through the desperate attempt by the GOP for the hispanic voters (going so far as to adding statehood to their platform, while (of course) simultaneously vilifying dc representation).

          This is the same demographic who just helped usher Alan Grayson back into Congress in a blowout stateside and turnout higher than any us state or territory by far islandside. Solid strategy, Republicans!

      • Murc says:

        Also, to cut through the politics for a moment, lets also remember that Puerto Rican statehood is good policy.

      • spencer says:

        the I-4 corridor demographics

        You mean the I-4 corridor that just went strongly for Obama? I think the only county we didn’t get was Polk (which Tigers fans in this thread will know as the location of their team’s spring training facility). I realize that it was in fact Hispanics that allowed Obama to carry this part of the state, but in a conflict between party allegiance and ethnicity, I’m not comfortable assuming ethnicity automatically wins.

        • curious says:

          I totally agree with your caution in not presuming voter solely on race or ethnicity–it just doesn’t’ look good for the GOP’s prospects all else considered. IMO the real test will be during the midterms whether this year’s successes was time bound or a trend towards a permanent democratic lean in Central Florida.

          And as a Marlins fan i’m admiring the Giants success and assuming the baseball gods tilted the fates of both clubs due to Buster’s injury last year at our hands(well that and our owner and prez are reprehensible).

    • Darkrose says:

      I loved him already; that just made me love him more. He is awesome.

      And lucky you, going to the parade! I actually thought about it, but my crowd issues won out.

  13. Can anyone come up with another example of a Democratic Congressional caucus becoming both larger and more liberal at the same time?

    Both 2006 and 2008 saw the caucuses become less liberal, though larger. 2010 saw the House caucus become more liberal, but also quite a bit smaller.

    Is last night unprecedented?

  14. Joseph Slater says:

    Wow. I’m a big Tigers fan, but I have to say, good for Romo.

  15. T. Paine says:

    I’d add that the citizens of Longmont, CO wrote a fracking ban into the city’s charter. They used a grassroots organizing campaign that prevailed over about a half-million dollars from the oil and gas industry, editorials from the Denver Post, Boulder Camera, and Longmont Times Call, and the threat of a lawsuit by the state’s (Democratic) governor. Huge victory margin too – about ten percentage points.

  16. wengler says:

    I don’t want to piss on the parade, but a number of your points are necessarily legislative.

    The crazy people are still in control of the House.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      That’s the point. What are possible legislative victories. Obviously this is predicated on some Republicans being willing to compromise on things like immigration. I think this will happen. Don’t need a lot. Like 15 in the House.

      • Craigo says:

        And if they don’t cut a deal on immigration, it’s just a bigger asskicking in 2014. On this and DOMA, opposition puts them on he wrong side of history.

        • Malaclypse says:

          Yes, but conservatives have been on the wrong side of history since at least 1789.

        • Erik Loomis says:

          Right. Force the issue to a vote. If Republicans go along with DOMA repeal and immigration reform, awesome. If they don’t, the politics are brilliant. We win on the long and short game.

          • Richard says:

            On immigration reform, I agree that Obama needs to meet with the Dems in the House and the Senate and then get a bill that has the support of 90% or more of them. Then take it to the floor of the Senate and House (if he gets a few Repub votes to force a House vote) and have it voted up or down. As I stated above, getting comprehensive immigration reform passed is probably not good for the Dems in the short to medium run (since it removes the one issue that is responsbile for them gaining 75% of the Latino vote) but its the best thing for the country as a whole. If it doesn’t get passed, the Repubs will be THE reason it doesn’t and they’ll never improve their share of the Latino vote until this issue is off the table.

            But the first thing that has to be done is work with Pelosi and Reid on a bill that can get near Democratic unanimity.

          • Interesting theory.

            The biggest threat in the 2014 elections is low turnout among those constituencies that turned out so well for Obama in 2008 and last night. If those groups do turn out for the midterms based on anti-nativist backlash, it would be a repeat of 2006.

        • Njorl says:

          But in 2014, 35% of the people who voted for Obama last night will stay home.

          Republicans are demographically doomed, but they learned that pandering to crazies in off years works. Democrats have to reverse their off-year apathy.

      • NonyNony says:

        Obviously this is predicated on some Republicans being willing to compromise on things like immigration. I think this will happen. Don’t need a lot. Like 15 in the House.

        It all depends on if they realize that their policy of “denying the Democrats a victory” on anything has caused them to shoot themselves in the foot or not.

        I don’t think it will. I don’t think that the geniuses in charge of the GOP are going to admit that their strategy has failed. They will blame it on Mitt Romney being a weak candidate. Or on Chris Christie for saying nice things about Obama (this has already started). Or on anything but the fact that their decision to refuse to come to the table on ANYTHING just to try to force Obama to be a “failed one-term President” was a bust.

        They’ll double down and keep the same plan for 2014 and 2016. Hell the guys in the House kept all of their seats and while the Republicans lost Maine they gained Nebraska – for a net loss of nothing as far as their power base is concerned (and they got rid of another “Northern Liberal” to boot, making it less likely that they need to placate anyone outside of their narrow coalition) so I imagine the guys in the Senate will continue on the path that they’ve had as well.

        I mean maybe – MAYBE – there are 15-20 people in the House who can see the writing on the wall and understand that they need to start broadening the GOP a bit if they want to have a long term political future. I couldn’t tell you who they were though. Nor do I think they care – the wingnut welfare track is still available if they lose their seats. Unless that goes away, there’s no incentive for them to play ball and every incentive to burn the country to the ground rather than give Democrats a shred of a victory.

        • Richard says:

          I’m sure there are at least 20 House Republican members, probably more, who would like to see an immigration bill passed if for no other reason than to get that issue off the table so it can’t be used by the Dems to get 75% of the Latino vote. But those same 20 House members are going to know that a vote for comprehensive immigration reform is likely to spur a challenge in the next primary by some Tea Party crazy. It will be a tough decision for many of those inclined to vote for immigration reform.

          • NonyNony says:

            But those same 20 House members are going to know that a vote for comprehensive immigration reform is likely to spur a challenge in the next primary by some Tea Party crazy.

            Exactly. Unless they know that they are already going to get challenged by a Tea Party nut, there’s no incentive for them to go along. The lesson of Dick Luger will remain with them. (The wider lesson of Dick Luger to the rest of the Tea Party, however, will go unnoticed).

            • Richard says:

              Or if they are in the rare District where the chance of a successful Tea Pary challenge is negligible and the threat of a Democratic challenge, with 75% latino support, is greater. Not sure if any such districts exist.

          • somethingblue says:

            … if for no other reason than to get that issue off the table …

            No doubt they saw how well that worked for the Democrats in 2002.

            • Richard says:

              I dont get your point. What was it that the Dems did in 2002 that didn’t work?

              Immigrant reform came to a vote in 2007 and was defeated. The fact that this was because of Republican opposition, despite being backed by the Bush administration, is the primary reason the Dems now get 75% of the Latino vote.

              • somethingblue says:

                They voted for the Iraq war “to take it off the table” for the election. That phrase was used repeatedly at the time.

                Worked out real well.

                • Richard says:

                  Now I get it. But I dont think thats what heppened (and dont really remember “taking it off the table” language but you may be fight about that). Many Dems, Hilary most prominently, voted for the war cause they thought it would have a quick and happy ending like the Gulf War. Big error in many ways.

                  But I really do believe that passing comprehensive immigration reform in the next two years will take that issue off the table for a decade so that the Republicans will have a chance of picking up some Latino votes. Dont think it will happen though.

                • spencer says:

                  and dont really remember “taking it off the table” language but you may be fight about that

                  I remember it. somethingblue is correct.

      • wengler says:

        The House leadership won’t schedule the votes and these bills will be filibustered in the Senate.

        This election won’t make Republicans any less crazy. They have pretty much proven that demographics will destroy them on the national level, but they have their little bit of power that they will wield like a mace to break everything they can.

        • Richard says:

          Even if filibustered, there would still be a vote on the filibuster. I think it is highly unlikely that comprehensive immigration reform will be passed (given the Republican majority in the House for the next two years) but I can’t see any downside in getting a bill to the Senate floor that 90% of Democrats support and then forcing the Republicans to vote against it.

          • wengler says:

            And which Senate Republicans are scared of that vote? All of their moderates are gone. Anyone who even makes a peep of working with Obama on anything gets whacked(see Lugar, Richard).

  17. Linnaeus says:

    Particularly sad was Michigan rejecting placing collective bargaining guarantees in the state constitution.

    A missed opportunity here, but I hope that the Michigan labor community can learn some lessons from this. Michiganders still support collective bargaining in principle, from the polling I’ve seen.

    At least the draconian emergency manager law has been repealed, and voters rejected Matty Moroun’s bids for antitax insanity and bridge monopoly.

  18. RaflW says:

    Great piece. I’d only quibble that Amy Klobuchar is not really in the progressive wing, though she sometimes looks like she is. She’s actually quite centrist, and as someone who’s tried to work with her staff on some issues, she’s very, very slow to sign on to bills, so that functionally she’s even more conservative that she looks on paper – her late adoption of many bills belies a desire to conserve her political capital.

    All that said, I sure as heck prefer her to any number of GOP clowns who have or do represent the MN delegation to the US Congress.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Yeah, I was surprised at how low she was on DW-Nominate. I always assumed she was pretty liberal. Now wonder if a generic MN liberal wouldn’t be stronger.

      • tonycpsu says:

        Easy solution: Nominate Klobuchar to take over for Ruth Ginsburg, Mark Dayton appoints a generic MN liberal or better to Klobuchar’s seat.

        • Erik Loomis says:

          Is Klobuchar on the short list for a Supreme Court nominee?

          • tonycpsu says:

            She should be. 52, reliable on choice, the welfare state, LGBT issues, etc. Negatives are a bit of squishiness on labor/free trade and civil liberties, but those would be selling points in trying to get her through an obstructionist Senate (throw a few far more lefty nominees out there, see if they somehow get through, if not, Klobuchar would be better than a set of steak knives.) Plus, maybe some of the squishiness has to do with horse-trading sausage-making Senate type dynamics?

          • Richard says:

            Doubt very much there’s a short list right now in the absence of any anticipated opening in the short term.

            • tonycpsu says:

              I assumed that the WH staff keep a running list the whole time in the event that, uh, something happens. Seems like you’d want to have scouting reports ready if the situation arises where you need to make a nomination.

              • Richard says:

                Scouting reports are not the same as a short list. Obviously, they have scouting reports on a long list of possible nominees but I doubt very much they have a list of a half dozen or less that they are prepared to start interviewing. Getting a short list together is contingent on the lineup in the Senate, which they didn’t know until yesterday, and the identity of the justice who is going to be replaced.

                • Jameson Quinn says:

                  If they’re basing off of who is to be replaced, except just possibly for Thomas, they’re fools. It might be a factor in the Senate, but a marginal one, and by paying attention to that they’d just broadcast weakness.

                • Richard says:

                  You dont broadcast it but its one of the things you take into account in deciding who to nominate. Its going to be easier to replace Ginsburg with a strong liberal, based on the makeup in the Senate, than to replace Kennedy with a strong liberal. You may decide that you wont pay attention to that and nominate a strong liberal nonetheless but its obviously a consideration. You dont just have a short list for the next nomination and ignore Senate makeup and the identity of the deceased justice.

            • Erik Loomis says:

              Kerry is in the top 3 anticipated choices to replace Hillary. It is very much an anticipated opening.

              • tonycpsu says:

                Yeah, I think Kerry to State is a mortal lock, but that probably doesn’t move the Senate to the left in the way replacing Klobuchar would.

              • Richard says:

                No question about that. But we know that Hilary will be leaving in this next year but we have no such knowledge about a Supreme Court justice (and no S Ct justice is likely to tell the Prez his or her plans, unlike the situation with Hilary and Obama)

    • witless chum says:

      Same for Debbie Stabenow. Carl Levin is leftier.

    • JB2 says:

      She’s not very good on criminal justice issues, as far as I can tell.

      Jim Webb, otoh, while he’s bad on many things, is about as good on criminal justice and corrections as any senator ever.

  19. JKTHs says:

    At least we’re seeing the predictable “Romney lost because he was a squishy moderate” talk already. Hopefully the Tea Party will continue to bury the GOP while the Dems add solidly to their liberals

  20. Murc says:

    Realistically, Obama isn’t going to get more than this done.

    I would add a sixth thing that we should reasonably expect, Erik: the staffing of the government in general and the judiciary in particular.

    It’s been written here and elsewhere that the Obama Administration has been somewhat anemic when it comes to nominating judges, and that the Republicans, while letting Cabinet Secretaries and Supreme Court justices in, quietly block everyone else.

    That has to change. Maybe this can be considered part of filibuster reform, I dunno, but this is Obama’s second term and managing a handoff to another Democrat is going to be tricky at best. Staffing the judiciary with young, smart people who have constitutional visions that don’t include the notion that the New Deal is unconstitutional is something that is both doable and that should be a priority.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      As I stated in the post, I am focusing strictly on things that take legislative action in that list. I agree that Obama has been very bad on this issue but he can more or less fix this problem himself, understanding of course the problem with the Senate’s refusal to vote on nominees.

  21. Wido Incognitus says:

    I apologize for my trolling. It is a bad habit.
    I mostly believe most of what I write, but I know that is not an excuse for ruining your parade (one can have disdain for affirmative-action without thinking that white people are better than non-white people, and the same is true for a person who thinks that Shelley v. Kramer could have been decided against racist covenants by saying that convenants are a lot like zoning restrictions and so should be considered as an act of state as opposed to saying that the state’s facially neutral enforcement of private party’s property rights recognized by the state encompasses the foolish and hateful prejudices of the people who made the agreement in the first place). This is especially true because it should be my parade too as a person who voted for Obama and for same-sex marriage in one of the states where it was approved.

    • Holden Pattern says:

      No contract is enforceable if it is void as against public policy. This is a VERY VERY old common law principle. You can’t sue someone for breach of contract because they failed to carry out a contract killing. A pimp can’t sue a prostitute for breach of contract because she didn’t fulfill her personal services contract.

      Covenants are part of the contract for the purchase of the property, so it works the same way.

  22. Jameson Quinn says:

    The obvious thing missing from that list is anything stimulative. Although for stupid reasons the word “stimulus” is out of bounds, there are still short-term measures that could pass a Republican house as plausibly as anything on that list, and that would help accelerate the recovery. Once the stupid “cliff” is past, extending the payroll tax cut counts. Also we can count on climate disasters in the tens-of-billions range continuing, and might get “special” funding for those.

  23. Sam Spade says:

    Erik said Obama needs to make the rich pay their fair share.”

    I keep hearing this term “fair share”, but no one ever defines what that term means.

    In anyone’s opinion what is “fair share”? 40%, 50%, 60% of their income? Is everyone required to pay their fair share, or do some get a break?

    I believe there are those who should get some type of break depending upon income level and family size, but who decides for others what their fair share is?

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