Category Archives: Politics: US: 2006 Election


This really is a huge Democratic victory. As far as I can tell, not a single Democratic incumbent lost a governorship, or national legislative seat. Not. A. Single. One.

Democrats have a resounding victory in the House — gaining about 30 seats even before the dozen or so too-close-to-calls get called. And this in the face of the routine gerrymanders.

The Senate hangs by two threads, one in Virginia, one in Montana. I don’t pretend to grasp what on earth is going on in Montana, but if this is to be believed, there’s a decent chance Tester — one of the most attractive candidates this year — will pull through. Virginia, I suspect, is going to be litigated whatever happens. Even if the Democrats were to lose both contests, a four seat gain is a big victory. And the Democrats will control the Senate after 2008 unless something very odd happens in the Presidential election which contaminates the downballot.

Potentially even more important in the long term are two tectonic shifts signaled by this election.

The first is that the GOP is being reduced to a predominantly Southern party. Democrats have a lock on New England and I foresee greater gains in the West. That makes the mid-west the major battleground — and this election suggests that the mid-West may be reverting to its historically Democratic leanings.

The South is not as different from the rest of the country as it used to be — although it is more evangelical — so being Southern-dominated is not the albatross it once was. Nevertheless, regional dominance of any sort is not a recipe for national success. And evangelical dominance is not a national vote-winner in this Elmer Gantry moment.

The second shift is internal: the new model Democratic party is much more populist than it was last week. Just as the GOP has lost some of its nastiest and stupidest representatives (along, yes, with a few good ones) such as Tom DeLay (by resignation), “Count” Chocola, and Pombo, so too the Democrats elected to the House are by and large smart, insurgent, outsiders.

They are mostly anti-Iraq, (too?) suspicious of free trade, pro-consumer, and pro-health care. They tend libertarian on social issues, although the picture here is more mixed. They will help move the party caucus outside of the comfortable Beltway consensus which has threatened to dominate it. Many owe their elections to Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy which was overwhelmingly vindicated in this election. Others owe their funding to the ‘netroots’ — bloggers llike myDD, Firedoglake, and DailyKos. And they know it.

So when establishment Democrats like Rahm Emmanuel join forces with Republican commentators to explain how the Democratic vote was really quite conservative, take it for the spinning and wishful thinking that it is. Because while far from powerless, the establishment wing of the Democratic party just got significantly less relevant. And they know it too. They just don’t want us to know it.

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At present, the Virginia election is a nailbiter, but one in which Allen has retained a lead for some time. There’s now 4.3% of the precincts remaining to be counted, and Allen has a lead of some thirteen thousand votes. That’s almost, but not quite, too much for Webb to overcome given that the missing votes seem to be in Arlington, Craig, and Fairfax counties.

The incredible thing is that the Green candidate (who?) has gotten over 1% of the vote — almost twice the margin now separating Webb and Allen. Shades of Ralph Nader all over again.

In addition, the margin of victory will be well within the margin of theft and voter suppression.

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Vote Democratic Today

Images swiped from Needlenose. Click each picture for a larger image

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Find Your Polling Place

Today is election day in the USA.

Here’s an easy way to find your polling place.

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Two Views of Lieberman

I can’t quite decide if this video is funny or not. I sort of lean to “not,” although it has an undeniable evil cleverness:

I think the “Lieberman as stalker” metaphor does capture how some progressives feel about him, fairly or not.

But I suppose my view is more closely reflected in this video:

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The Military’s Scream

I’ve said before that there’s something disturbing when the spooks start trying to undermine their civilian masters by leaking against them or otherwise. Even when I agree with the spooks.

And I have to say more or less the same thing about the news that the Army Times, the Air Force Times, and the Navy Times are all running an unprecedented editorial tomorrow — the day before the election — calling for the ouster of the Secretary of Defense.

On the merits, they are right of course, but late to the party. And a great part of our military predicament appears to be due to the promotion of a clique of yes-man generals, and the sidelining of those with the guts to stand up to demented requirements of Rumsfeld and the (now, too late, repentant) neo-cons.

But the merits are not in doubt. The issue is the politics. This coordinated editorial will be seen as representing the voice of the officer corps. And why not? Rumsfeld is killing their troops, sending them in meaningless circles — taking and abandoning cities — without a strategic plan that anyone can understand.

The service magazines are technically private. But they will be seen, as they have been for at least two generations, as speaking for their readers. Their readers have more sense than their leaders, and have no great desire to keep being herded over the cliff.

So while I agree with the sentiment, it’s not a happy moment, not at all. This is bad for discipline, bad for morale, bad for the country. The trouble is that the service papers may have correctly decided that silence might have been even worse.

This deserves to be devastating in Tuesday’s election.

Let’s hope the long-run consequences are not devastating in a different way.

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