Facts, what a concept.
The Straight and Not Narrow: It's quite strange how the magnitude of the Democratic victory has been downplayed. After the 1994 election, the cover of Time showed a charging elephant, and the headline read “GOP stampede.” Indeed, the GOP had won an impressive victory: in House races, Republicans had a 7 percentage point lead in the two-party vote.
In 2006, Time's cover was much more subdued; two overlapping circles, and the headline “The center is the new place to be.” You might assume that this was because the Democrats barely eked out a victory. In fact, Democrats had an 8.5 percentage point lead, substantially bigger than the GOP win in 1994. Also, the new Democratic majority in the House isn’t just larger than any the Republicans achieved over their 12-year reign; it’s much more solidly progressive than their pre-1994 majority.
Of course, given that the Dems continue to behave like a minority party in Congress….
One progressive surveys the morning after:
It’s as if the biopsy results just came back and you don’t have cancer after all. You’re not giddy, exactly, but you can finally take a deep breath and maybe let some of the tension drain out of your shoulders. The future remains uncertain but you can begin to imagine it as something other than relentlessly bleak.
Cheery bunch, aren’t we?
David Sirota explains why Lamont lost, and why some of the popular narratives of this loss should not be trusted.
Allen concedes. Does this mean we move from political Hell to political Purgatory?
And, yes, my predictions that (a) Allen would litigate and (b) the national party would encourage it both appear to be wrong. The report is that the national guys decided the case was unwinnable and didn’t want two months of bad press. (But maybe my read of Allen wasn’t all that far off?)
The action now moves to how many judges and how much evil legislation this administration can try to rush through the lame duck Senate. First up — the warrantless wiretapping bill?
The AP is calling it for Webb. I’m hearing he has a several thousand vote lead, and if that’s true then I don’t think Allen can overturn this, given Virginia’s history of counts that stick.
I expected lawsuits nonetheless, but the rumor mill is strong that the national GOP wants Allen to pull out to get the election off the front page — and to avoid the “sore loser” tag. I remain a little suspicious — it sounds like the sort of Rovian head fake I’ve come to expect.
But suppose the news is right. What kind of Senator has Virginia got?
I supported Webb enthusiastically because Allen was so awful. And Webb’s platform wasn’t so bad given that he’s a recent convert from the GOP. That said, he’s a hard man to like; although much easier to respect.
In my optimistic moments I think Webb will be an interesting, if occasionally uncomfortable, Senator; perhaps even a free thinker a little in the Daniel Patrick Moynihan mode, although not so pyrotechnic in his public playing with ideas because Webb just doesn’t seem as comfortable with people. A Senate full of independent principled intellectuals with real-world experience would be a fine thing. What happens when you throw one or two into the snake pit is harder to call.
I have no time, so here, unedited and uncommented, is the latest DSCC statement:
Both Jon Tester and Jim Webb have won their races in Montana and Virginia but want to make sure that every vote is counted. We expect to have official results soon but can happily declare today that Democrats have taken the majority in the U.S. Senate.
Montana Vote Situation: Jon Tester leads Conrad Burns by approximately 1,700 votes (as of 11am EDT) and counting. In Silver Bow County (Butte), a Democratic stronghold, votes are still being counted but Tester is winning there with 66% of the vote. We expect to gain the majority of these uncounted votes and to add to Tester’s margin.
Montana Process: When the counting phase is completed, a canvass will verify the vote tallies. That process could take as long as 48 hours, and must begin within three days and end within seven. Unless the canvass shows the margin to be within ¼ of 1%, there is no recount. As the loser, Burns would have to request the recount. When the votes are all counted, we expect to be outside that recount margin.
Virginia Vote Situation: Jim Webb is up by approximately 8,000 votes and once the provisional ballots are counted, we expect Webb’s margin to increase. (Please note that VA absentees were included in the tallies from last night.)
Virginia Process: A canvass is underway to verify the results and we expect that process to finish within a day or so. To be in recount, the margin needs to be less than 1% and Allen (as the loser) would have to request it. Because of Virginia voting laws, the margin would have to be much tighter than it currently is to see any change in the outcome. Given the current margins, that is highly, highly unlikely.