So, What Happened?

In Massachusetts

We confirmed that the state Republican Party should not be taken seriously as a major political party. Earlier this year, when people like me mocked their anemic candidate recruitment -- they couldn't even make a serious play for open seats in winnable districts -- they assured us that they had "quality over quantity." Their quality was crap, and they won nothing. A while back I wrote about how the party couldn't even make itself heard as a voice of opposition now that the Democrats control the legislature AND the governorship -- and that was before Beacon Hill turned into a cesspool of scandal, and the state still was irrelevant at the ballot box. Specific individual candidates can win certain individual races -- on their own, no thanks to the party -- but until something changes, we should all stop pretending that the MassGOP is a real entity.

On the other hand, we learned that the people of the state are smarter than pols often give them credit for. They rejected the idiot income-tax repeal, and passed the sensible marijuana decriminalization reform.

Elsewhere in New England

All Democratic all the time. New Hampshire continued its shift to blue, replacing US Senator John Sununu with Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, re-electing both freshmen Democratic US Representatives, and leaving the Democrats in control of both state legislative chambers. Maine stayed overall blue while again returning its moderate GOP Senator to Washington. Connecticut tossed out the last GOP congressman in New England.

Nationally: Turnout

For two years, I've been squawking that this time, young adults really, really would come out to vote. Those Millennials, they all care about participation and taking action and all that. They let me down. According to the exit polls, 18- 29-year-olds accounted for the same stupid 18% of the electorate as they did in 2000 and 2004. I really, truly, thought they would push that number over 20% for sure. Stupid young jerks -- I'm done defending you. Also, Hispanics didn't boost their percentage of the total vote, which is disappointing, but I guess at least they kept up with the overall increase in turnout.

Nationally: Democratic gains

Democrats didn't pummel the GOP as badly as some (who, me?) might have predicted, but the beating was still impressive. In the Senate, Democrats held all of their own seats, and took at least five away from the GOP; four more remained uncertain as of this morning. In the House, the Democrats held almost every seat they swiped from the GOP in '06, and appear to have gained a net of at least 18 more seats, with five more pending. Democrats made more gains in state legislatures, including big takeovers in the New York Senate and Ohio House. Plus, a Democrat took the governorship in Missouri, won the open Governor race in North Carolina, and retained the Washington governorship, won last time in a squeaker. Oh yeah, and the Democratic Presidential nominee won nearly a third of the states that went Republican four years ago.

Nationally: More regionalization

Democrats picked up Senate seats in the northeast, southwest, and what we will have to start calling the "eastern seaboard" -- identifying Virginia and North Carolina, like Maryland and Delaware before them, more with their northern coastal elite neighbors than their former confederate partners. Those regions are also where Obama picked up states, along with the upper-midwest. Ditto the Congress, where Democrats picked up additional seats in the northeast, the upper-midwest/rust belt, the southwest, and the eastern seaboard plus Florida. They picked up almost nothing in the rest of the south or the plains states, which is where most of the GOP seats are already. Same thing at the state level: Democrats took over chambers in New York, Ohio, Delaware, Wisconsin, and Nevada; Republicans took over chambers in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Montana.

Nationally: Racial harmony? Maybe not

If you're anything like me, you were genuinely moved by the election of a black President yesterday, and entered today optimistic about the glorious future of our can-do, all-stick-together, forward-progress nation. It's nice to think that, anyway. The truth is that, despite the fact that four-fifths of the country thinks the country is heading in the crapper and that it's all the fault of the Republicans in Washington, white Americans voted for the Republican who's spent the last quarter-century in Washington and clearly agrees with the policies of the most unpopular sitting President in recorded history. According to the national exit polls, white Americans voted for McCain 55-43 -- a little less Republican than in '04 and about identical to '00. That three-point gain from Kerry in '04 was actually concentrated in the states moving toward blue. Let's take a look at how racial harmony is working in the South, shall we? In the eight core southern states, Obama's share of the white vote beat Kerry's in only one -- South Carolina, where in went from 22 to 26 percent. It stayed essentially the same, at around 35%, in Kentucky and Tennessee, and stated at 23% in Georgia. In Arkansas, Obama got 30% of the white vote, compared with 36% that Kerry got -- and remember again, nationally Obama did better than Kerry. In Louisiana, where Kerry got 24% of the white vote, Obama got just 14%. In Mississippi, the figure dropped from 14% to 11%, and in Alabama from 19% to just 10%.

You're reading that correctly: across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, barely one in every 10 white voters chose Barack Obama. So, don't get too kumbaya about your country just yet.

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