Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Morning After The Midterm Elections

It's not the morning but I was up most of the night so there.  The results were as predicted by historical patterns for midterms but worse than that for Democrats.  At the same time several pretty progressive initiatives won.  For example, raising the minimum wages got support in five states which are not exactly deeply blue states:

Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota supported proposals to raise wages for their lowest-paid workers–an issue that is of particular concern for small employers, who tend to operate on thinner margins. Illinois approved a non-binding measure, which won’t immediately change the current law.

And both North Dakota and Colorado rejected the Egg-American-Rights initiatives:

The radical “personhood” movement was dealt a significant blow on Tuesday night, when voters in North Dakota and Colorado resoundingly defeated two ballot initiatives that would have redefined life to extend legal protections to fertilized eggs.

But then there is this, from Charlie Pierce, on all the election results (read the whole thing):

I think it was contemplating the fact that both Sam Brownback and Paul LePage both may have survived as governors that was the last straw for me tonight. Brownback has wrecked his state. Even Kansas Republicans believe that. LePage is a local embarrassment who became a national embarrassment in the final days before the election. Even Maine Republicans believe that. But Brownback will go back to wrecking his state, and LePage will go back to embarrassing his because of an attitude that Republicans, and the conservative movement that has powered the party, have cultivated carefully over the last three decades.

 What to make of all that?  I leave it for the real political nerds and political psychologists, though I can't think of any other theory when it comes to Sam Brownback (who really is a one-man-wrecking-ball) except for the desire to submit to the commands of a furious god (which would be Brownback), even if it really really hurts.  Well, the other theory is that in a two-party system you might elect the devil you know because the other devil has different color horns, even if your devil has almost succeeded in killing you.  That's a very good argument for a multi-party system (more devils with various hued horns).

How did women politicians fare in this election?  A record number of women got elected into the Congress, though the growth from the previous Congress is miniscule.  Women might reach nearly 20% of the Congress (while exceeding 50% of the population)!  That slow growth, too, is partly caused by the two-party, winner-takes-all system which favors traditional genetic candidates over others and which makes it pretty easy for misogynist or woman-doubters to focus on not voting for one of the candidates.

So the Republicans are now in power in both the House and the Senate.  Want to know my prediction for the next two years, in terms of new law proposals?  There will be lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of uterus initiatives, aiming at making sure that the uteri belong to the right people (Republican politicians) and that they are used or not as decreed by those true owners.

That's what has happened every time the Republicans got control, ever since I started blogging (eleven looong years!), and I see no reason why this time would be any different.  But whether those midterm voters voted on that issue at all is unclear.  The NYT lists some statistics on the voters and their opinions, but that list doesn't ask about the correct owner of uteri.  It does give some data on the voters' opinions about same-sex marriage and the truth about climate change.  Those suggest rather large rifts between Democratic and Republican voters.

The new Congress will reflect similar large rifts.  That's because the new Congress will be even more polarized than the old one.