(MintPress) – Yesterday was the first day of the rest of our lives.
In this, the first non-”election build-up” day in two years, Americans across the continent and throughout the world can breathe easily, knowing the toil of their democratic requirement is behind them for this cycle. Pessimists are returning from underneath their beds, little kids have stopped crying about Romney and “Bronco” Obama. Things have returned to normal — or the best approximation of normal available.
But, things have changed, and in significant ways.
The tea party has been rendered irrelevant. In a wave few expected, most of the 2010 freshmen tea party Congress members were fired by their constituencies, and those who remain were definitely warned. While the Republicans were able to retain control of the House by targeting weak Democrats and actively campaigning for vacant seats, the composition of the Republican Party will be significantly different this time around. Without the “lunatic right,” Republicans may be willing to negotiate more in the upcoming session.
A one-term president was given a second chance. A year ago, no one thought Barack Obama would get a second term, no less deserve one. In one of the ugliest, most contested presidential races in the nation’s history, the president successfully defended himself against repeated Republican cross-examinations. However, it was with Hurricane Sandy that the president put words aside and proved himself to be competent in ways Republicans could not refute. Ultimately, in this campaign, we watched Obama find his way; we watched the making of a president.
Unfortunately, we are still a nation divided. In almost every election — have it be a candidate race or an issue choice — the vote fell at 50 percent to 50 percent for most decisions, give or take 10 percentage points. This represents a nation that is still highly polarized, with little middle ground. This promises more of the same gridlock and frustration over the next four years that was experienced in the last four. Republicans come from this election fortified on Medicaid reform, and against compromise on tax and spending issues.
With the fiscal cliff — a set of automatic tax increases and spending cuts — due to trigger in January, negotiation to avoid this situation may be dubious, at best. More dauntingly, incumbent moderate Republicans — such as Judy Biggert and Bob Dold — lost; despite a smaller tea party presence, the House’s Republicans are prone to be more conservative than in the last term.
If you can name the one reason Republicans won as many seats they did Tuesday, the name would be redistricting. With control of 26 state legislatures, Republicans drew out the game field to suit them, and it worked overwhelmingly. If we were to look at electoral reform, we need to start with the way we draw Congressional districts. Should the party in control be allowed to redraw the map to suit them? These are questions we must answer.
Legally, there were not many situation that could be disputed in court. On the whole, the nation voted in favor of the Democrats and in opposition of Republican policies and tactics. However, this does not negate the animosity currently existing in the political system, nor does it placate the need for modernization on the behalf of the Republican Party and the call for Democrats to fight harder for issues they claim to support.
In saying this, let’s take a look at the races we highlighted in our previous article.
Results from followed races
(Results are accurate as of 1 p.m. CST Nov. 7. Aggregate data courtesy of Associated Press. A “race called” call means that it is either mathematically impossible for the opposition to reverse the race’s projection or the losing candidate conceded.)
Race called; Coffman retains, 48.77 percent to 45 percent with 79 percent precincts reporting.
Despite redistricting, Coffman survives, in part due to Independent voter support.
Race called; Esty is new representative, 51.79 percent to 48.21 percent with 99 percent precincts reporting.
Despite the Republicans’ hope to break into the Democratic stranglehold on Connecticut’s House seats, their attempt failed — ultimately, because of social stances.
Projected winner (no concession); Murphy is new representative, 50.39 percent to 49.61 percent with 100 percent precincts reporting.
West’s controversial nature caught up with him, but he is not giving up yet. West is waiting for the absentee ballots count before conceding.
Race called; Frankel is new representative, 54.59 percent to 45.41 percent with 100 percent precincts reported.
Redistricting made the demographics of this district more Democratic, and the results of this election reflect this.
Race called; Garcia is new representative, 53.84 percent to 42.84 percent, with 100 percent precincts reported.
Rivera could not shake of the campaign fund controversy that dogged him through the campaign.
Race called; Barrow retains, 53.69 percent to 46.31 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
The last surviving Southern Blue Dog Democrat lives to fight another day. Despite redistricting, his base made this a referendum on the district’s trust in their congressman.
Race called; Duckworth is new representative, 54.72 percent to 45.28 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
This one wasn’t even close. In the Democrat-favored, newly-drawn district, Duckworth came up smiling yesterday.
Race called; Schneider is new representative, 50.49 percent to 49.51 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Sometimes, your party can sink you. It definitely sunk Dold; opinions on national social issues and the Republican Party’s antics deflated Dold’s Independent voters’ appeal.
Race called; Foster is new representative, 57.73 percent to 42.27 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
This race followed national trends, in which the Democrats were favored. Previous stances on key legislation also came into play.
Race called; Enyart is new representative, 51.55 percent to 42.87 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Similar to the 11th District race, this race followed national trends.
Race called; Bustos is new representative, 53.28 percent to 46.27 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
The Democrats reclaimed their long-held seat. This election, similar to the 11th District race, trended according to national lines.
Race called; Loebsack retains, 55.38 percent to 42.47 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Loebsack got lucky here. Despite the RNC’s targeting of this district and lackluster campaigning on Loebsack’s part, Independent support put him over the top.
Race called; Latham retains, 52.32 percent to 43.67 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
No one really could guess how this election would go, so there are little surprise in these results — Western Iowa typically trends Republican..
Race called; King retains, 53.24 percent to 44.65 percent, 98 percent precincts reported.
King’s controversial stance may have caused him votes, but this district ultimately trended as expected.
Race called; Barr is new representative, 50.58 percent to 46.67 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
You can’t win if you knock your district’s industry; Chandler found this out the hard way. He may be able to sleep better knowing he stood up for the right cause, but it ultimately cost him his job.
Race called; Warren is new senator-elect, 53.74 percent to 46.26 percent, 99 percent precincts reported.
There is something poetic about this win. The Senate Republicans blocked her appointment to the Consumer Protection Bureau, and now she’s a senator. How’s that for karma!
Race called; Tierney retains, 48.25 percent to 47.27 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Despite Tierney’s wife’s prison sentence, he still squeaked out a win in this Independent-friendly part of the country.
Projected winner (no concession); Benishek retains, 48.16 percent to 47.49 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Trending in this district reflected redistricting, but the challenger is refusing to concede until after the absentee ballot count.
Race called; Bachmann retains, 50.59 percent to 49.41 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Most experts agree that this race shouldn’t have been this close, especially considering that Bachmann was a one-time presidential candidate. Her tea party posture is wearing thin, and for the sake of her political career, she may want to seek a more popular position.
Race called; Nolan is new representative, 54.48 percent to 45.52 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Tea party-supported Cravaak failed to beat national trends, which gave most of the state to the Democrats.
Race called; McCaskill retains, 54.72 percent to 39.2 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
McCaskill specifically campaigned to keep Akin in this race, knowing that she could easily beat him. Her gambit worked overwhelmingly..
Race called; Tester retains, 48.82 percent to 44.7 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
While Tester won by a bigger margin than he did in 2006, it was not so large a margin that it lifted the Republican’s target from him. His seat will be heavily contested in 2018.
Race called; Heller retains, 45.91 percent to 44.69 percent, 99 percent precincts reported.
This race went as expected, with the suspected Latino swing not arriving. The brutality of this race, however, will not be forgotten soon.
Race called, Horsford is new representative, 50.06 percent to 42.16 percent, 98 percent precincts called.
Despite the district going for Romney, Horsford won overwhelming, mostly due to strength of character.
Race called; Shea-Porter is new representative, 49.81 percent to 45.86 percent, 98 percent precincts reported.
Shea-Porter sought her revenge for her 2010 defeat. She got it overwhelmingly.
Race called; Kuster is new representative, 50.24 percent to 45.34 percent, 98 percent precincts reported.
In this best-of-three back-and-forth between these two opponents, Kuster now leads 2-1. It’s unlikely that Bass will leave things like that.
Race called; Grimm retains, 52.78 percent to 46.22 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Ultimately, a fundraising scandal wasn’t enough to defeat redistricting’s effect on the district’s voting populace.
Projected winner (no concession), Maffei is new representative, 48.39 percent to 43.72 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Despite AP, CNN, and MSNBC all calling this race for Maffei, and despite needing more than 120,000 of the outstanding 160,000 absentee ballots to win, Buerkle refuses to concede, mostly because she faced a similar situation in 2010 and ended up winning. In 2010, however, she faced friendlier math.
Projected winner (no concession); McIntyre retains, 50.06 percent to 49.94 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
A Blue Dog Democrat, McIntyre’s win continues the existence of the species.
Race called; Hudson is new representative, 54.14 percent to 45.86 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
There are no surprises here. Gerrymandering placed Kissell on the extinction list.
Race called; Brown retains, 50.3 percent to 45.12 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
The Republicans took their best shot at Brown. But, strong Democratic support along the I-90 corridor saved the day for the incumbent.
Race called; Johnson retains, 53.36 percent to 46.64 percent, 93 percent precincts reported.
This is one of the few revenge campaigns that didn’t pan out. Popular support for Johnson proved hard to dislodge in this Republican-leaning district.
Race called; Renacci retains, 52.23 percent to 47.77 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
This race was a toss-up, and ultimately, the district followed statewide trends.
Race called; Rothfus is new representative, 51.71 percent to 48.29 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
Redistricting gave this seat to the Republicans. Trends for the suburban Pittsburgh district matched statewide patterns.
Race called; Cicilline retains, 53.15 percent to 40.72 percent, 97 percent precinct reported.
In this heavily Democratic state, this result is hardly shocking. But, it was unexpected due to the lack of polling.
Race called; Gallego is new representative, 50.34 percent to 45.53 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
It’s curious how a hard-liner on immigration expected to win in a heavily Latino district. This race was predictable.
Race called; Matheson retains, 49.30 percent to 48.10 percent, 100 percent precincts reported.
The most Republican district in America choose to keep a Blue Dog Democratic representative over his African-American opponent. Love conceded shortly after commencement of this article.
Race called; DelBene is new representative, 53.60 percent to 46.40 percent, 48 percent precincts reported.
For a toss-up, this race followed statewide patterns. The northwest of the state was solidly Democratic, as the rest of the state leaned Republican.