2014 midterm elections: keeping "Will Hillary Run?" off the front pages
November 2, 2014 8:04 AM   Subscribe

(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51.

Politico have a live map and progress bar for the senate, as well as live maps for the house, governor elections and key ballot measures.

US News: "This hypercompetitive political environment is the product of a free-for-all campaign finance system, a cascade of virtually unlimited and often conflicting polling, wide-reaching advances in voter targeting – and, of course, an overly saturated, constantly churning media machine."

NPR: "The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a North Carolina law to go into effect that eliminates same-day voter registration and reduces the number of early voting days."

BBC: (Kansas) "His is an odd predicament. The Republican governor, Sam Brownback, has introduced the kind of radical tax cuts that hard-line tea party conservative activists have been arguing for, but they have turned out to be deeply unpopular. And now Mr Roberts is having to cope, not with a Democrat, but with that more awkward beast, an independent."

New York Times: "And if voters are confused about who exactly is trying to get them to the polls, there is good reason. Americans for Prosperity on the right and Planned Parenthood, labor-backed Working America and the League of Conservation Voters, among others, on the left are augmenting the robust efforts by the campaigns and the parties themselves."

Boston Globe: "The same tensions that have made the state [Colorado] one of the top battlegrounds in this year’s elections exist in some form throughout the country: the battle over independent female voters, Democrats’ emphasis on reproductive rights, and Republicans’ determination to capitalize on an unpopular president and offer up more broadly appealing candidates for their own party."

Guardian: US midterm elections - the 10 key races to watch.

The 2016 USA Presidential election is 734 days from wednesday, the day after the midterms: the Wikipedia page. Bookmakers currently show the race as a very like Hillary vs probably Marco, Jeb, Rand or Chris. Paddy Power currently offer both Alec Baldwin and Eva Longoria at 750-1 to be elected 2016 US president.
posted by Wordshore (257 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
but with many close Gubernatorial races.

Not Pennsylvania for once, the Democrat is polling in double digits over Governor Corbett.
posted by octothorpe at 8:11 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Kiss your government programs goodbye, the Tea Party (which by now is just the Republican Party) will interpret taking the Senate as a mandate to slash and destroy everything possible in a two year window. The only thing standing between Americans and the complete destruction of the social safety net will be Barack "Please, Please let me sign a 'Grand Bargain' on the way out the door" Obama.

Shutdown Part 2 as soon as December, with the Ryan Budget on steroids to follow. Congratulations, America, you're about to get everything you deserve.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:15 AM on November 2, 2014 [24 favorites]


Time to emerge from the cave of our own asses, moderates and lefties alike, to blink in the dour glow of the evil meteor heading right for us.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:24 AM on November 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


The only thing standing between Americans and the complete destruction of the social safety net will be Barack "Please, Please let me sign a 'Grand Bargain' on the way out the door" Obama

ie The President Of The United States. That's a pretty good ace in the hole to have standing between you and a slash-and-burn Congress. The Republicans taking the Senate is not good but neither will it allow them to do what you are claiming.
posted by Justinian at 8:26 AM on November 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


I got a spam mail from John McCain yesterday. I assume I'm on the list because I've contacted my state and congressional reps who are Republicans on various issues. So, fuck you guys, this is an extra reason I'm voting against you.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:27 AM on November 2, 2014


Shutdown Part 2 as soon as December,

The debt ceiling is suspended until Feb 2015 and appropriations are set until September 30th 2015. There will be no shutdown part 2 that early.
posted by Talez at 8:28 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think Wikipedia has it wrong - we have 36 Senate seats contested this Tuesday, including the 33 Class II seats and three special elections in South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Hawaii. (In any case, this is going to be rough.)
posted by Sfving at 8:28 AM on November 2, 2014


Heh. I like how below, I can see "Related Posts" and the FPP The Republican "brand" is collapsing from February 26, 2012. And here we are, a little over two years later, and the collapsing Republicans are on a rampage taking over everything in sight that can be voted on - only Obama, who is not on the ballot, is holding on. Funny that, because that 2012 FPP on the "collapsing brand" itself was less than two years after a Republican blowout win in midterm elections 2010 that was so enormous, we'd have to go back to the 40's and earlier to see anything close to the magnitude of that sweep. All that remains to be seen is how far the Republicans can rampage in these midterms. After which, I'm sure we'll be reading more about the imminent Republican collapse.
posted by VikingSword at 8:31 AM on November 2, 2014 [29 favorites]


Everyone prepare to celebrate the US's annual confirmation of H. L. Mencken's definition of Democracy as "the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard"!

At least for the next couple of years J's Stewart and Oliver will not be lacking in humorously satiric material to divert us from the Rump Republicans' conclusive proof that it's impossible for Congress to get anything done.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:31 AM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]




Democrat and Republican are two sides of the same toilet paper.

If your district is overwhelmingly projected to go to either of the two, why not cast your vote in favor of a third party candidate you'd really like to see? If enough third party candidates get votes this time, it will only increase their visibility and support for the next elections.
posted by Renoroc at 8:33 AM on November 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


This is depressing on a Sunday morning, especially as I keep getting mixed message in all my political emailings about how dire the Senate election will be. Some are saying the Senate will stay Dem. (And my Michigan, oy, yep, more Snyder and Scheutte, that's what we need.)
I have an ACA plan which is far from perfect. But now I'm concerned I'll lose it, with still no employer plan as an option. Not to mention everything else that'll go further to hell if these Tea Party Children get even more control.
I still think the problem this time around, at least where I live, is only the Fox-fueled, Koch-addled angry old white people seem political.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:34 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


And here we are, a little over two years later, and the collapsing Republicans are on a rampage taking over everything in sight that can be voted on - only Obama, who is not on the ballot, is holding on.

The Republicans were short a million votes in 2012 and still gained more seats. Do the math. The only reason they didn't get drummed out of the house in 2012 is because the south is gerrymandered to hell and back.

Democrat and Republican are two sides of the same toilet paper.

Yes. Because all of the gay marriage court cases and a semi-receptive Supreme Court would have totally happened under Presidents McCain and Romney.
posted by Talez at 8:34 AM on November 2, 2014 [71 favorites]


ie The President Of The United States. That's a pretty good ace in the hole to have standing between you and a slash-and-burn Congress. The Republicans taking the Senate is not good but neither will it allow them to do what you are claiming.

The recurring debt reduction deals from the sequester and shutdown already has federal spending lower than the original Ryan Budget. And Obama wasn't the one standing in the way of agreeing to chained CPI, increasing the retirement age yet again, and means testing, that was Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats. The next two years will be an exercise in seeing just what Obama is willing to sign, and if you trust him to veto every bit of legislation that attempts to chip away social programs bit by bit, but isn't explicitly labeled as 'Obamacare', then you haven't been paying attention.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:39 AM on November 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


> Democrat and Republican are two sides of the same toilet paper.

> If your district is overwhelmingly projected to go to either of the two, why not cast your vote in favor of a third party candidate you'd really like to see?


If you actually believed that first sentence, you wouldn't have qualified that second sentence with the "if your district ..." bit. If there really is no difference, you wouldn't care how people voted in close contests. Your cynicism is just a style you wear, but you care enough to discern differences where discerning them can have an effect.

I'm happy to see people advocating for third parties, and would be glad to see more of them, but when you advocate for them with a lie that you immediately contradict ..... well, you become part of the cynicism about politics which usually has the effect of making people not want to vote at all, not make them vote more cannily. You are a bad advocate for the change you want to see.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:42 AM on November 2, 2014 [50 favorites]


The recent gold-standard Des Moines Register poll of the Iowa Senate race has been so disheartening. The race really reflects the core differences between the parties -- Braley is pro-wind power, with Obama on infrastructural investment, wants to raise the minimum wage. While with Ernst, every other phrase is button-pushing stuff like "JOB-KILLING REGULATIONS" and "LIBERAL OBAMACARE BUREAUCRATS." Braley voters' top concern is advancing the center-left economic agenda Iowa voted for in 2012, while Ernst voters mainly want to roll back healthcare reform. But even though voters view Braley as more substantive on the issues and Ernst as more extreme, they're giving her a seven point lead, in the state that launched Obama to his first caucus victory six years ago.

The local Alabama races aren't any better. Our governor (who refuses free Medicaid expansion) is the most sure-to-win in the country per FiveThirtyEight, and our state house speaker was recently arrested for corruption. Meanwhile, our former state senator, longtime conservative Democrat Phil Poole, is resorting to helpless outrage (scroll down) over a barrage of ads from the book-banning, anti-gay 2010 incumbent Gerald Allen who calls him an "Obama liberal", voted almost exclusively for red-meat Tea Party bills last session (as opposed to Poole's wonkish record), and who promises to bring "fresh ideas" next term -- like banning Sharia law. From Alabama.

Also, our Chief Justice is Roy "Ten Commandments monument" Moore. Ugh.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:45 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


There's a difference between Democrats and Republicans, but they are also in a toxic codependent relationship called the two party system. As long as we have it, the Republicans will be competitive in elections.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:46 AM on November 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


Democrat and Republican are two sides of the same toilet paper.

Right, a Republican Congress totally would have passed an historic expansion of Medicaid, and provided tax credits to help lower income people pay for health insurance, and a Republican President surely would have signed DADT repeal and the Lily Ledbetter Act and Dodd Frank, and appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
posted by Eyebeams at 8:50 AM on November 2, 2014 [43 favorites]


Point one: we've had a Republican House and Republican Senate AND Republican Presidency simultaneously within the last ten years. The republic, or at least most of it, survived.

Point two: Even a slim Democratic majority in the Senate is, in effect, a Republican Senate with respect to legislation because (a) nothing progressive will ever get through the House and (b) it takes only one or two defectors to shove compromises in a conservative direction. With the likes of Manchin, Casey, Landrieu and their ilk in there, good luck avoiding that. Herding Democrats makes herding cats seem plausible.

Point three: If the future of America is one midterm election from caving in, we're so far gone that we're fucked squarely already.

Point four: There are plenty of signs that regardless of how the election turns out, we're so far gone that we're fucked squarely already.
posted by delfin at 8:55 AM on November 2, 2014 [13 favorites]


...why not cast your vote in favor of a third party candidate you'd really like to see?

It must be nice to live somewhere where 3rd parties actually run. Well, to be fair, there usually is a 3rd party on the ballot here. The Libertarians. So...no thanks. Occasionally, we get the Greens, but never for local offices. Usually only the Governorship.

--------------------
The Republicans taking the Senate is not good but neither will it allow them to do what you are claiming.

Maybe. There are a good number of very conservative Democrats in the Senate, though. They're actually the wild card. It's anyone's guess which way they'll swing and on which issues.

--------------------
My utterly off-the-wall, tinfoil-hat predictions with a Republican Senate:

• The House, newly energized by the Senate in conservative hands, immediately pulls the pins on a bunch of their favorite grenades and send them flying to a much friendlier Senate...
1. Repeal/defunding of Obamacare. This will be day-1, vote-1. Guaranteed.
2. Privatization of Social Security. Maybe even the entire social safety net.
3. Impeachment of Obama. I said this was off-the-wall. But, c'mon...you know in your heart this is entirely possible/probable given the insanity of the House.
4. Barring an impeachment, look for about a dozen new "investigations" into everything Obama.

--------------------
My feeling is that it's going to be the House calling the shots in the Legislative branch, expecting the Senate to be their rubber-stamp. With any luck, this could foment discord between the two chambers...But I kind of doubt it.

The next two years are going to be a horror show. And, sadly, the national media are just going to egg them on.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:56 AM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


FWIW, Democratic Senate candidates are actually polling slightly better in their states than Obama did in those states in 2012, despite likely voters being more Republican in the midterm electorate. A Senate takeover by the GOP is bad for the country, but it's not really indicative of much more than the fact that this year's Senate races are mostly in GOP-friendly territory.
posted by aaronetc at 8:58 AM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I honestly don't have a clue what they are going to do once they have the senate, I'd be interested if someone who follows congressional politics closely would give us a clue about stuff that could actually have real impact. Obama will have no problem vetoing whatever random crap they send his way for political games and they won't have the votes for an override, so aside from the games I don't know what they will do.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:00 AM on November 2, 2014


My utterly off-the-wall, tinfoil-hat predictions with a Republican Senate:

You forgot a Personhood amendment and/or a national Texas-style TRAP bill. Back in 2010 people said, oh, abortion is just a right wing wedge issue, they don't really believe that, but the last 4 years of Republican control of the states have showed that abortion really is Issue #1, behind repeal of Obamacare of course. A Republican congress will try to take that agenda national.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:00 AM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I honestly don't have a clue what they are going to do once they have the senate,

They will send a repeal Obamacare bill up to be vetoed once a week and make a lot of noise. No new appointments will be made and there might be a vote for impeachment knowing that they can't get 2/3 of the senate but they can still smear the Democrats with as much shit as possible until 2016.
posted by Talez at 9:04 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


There's a difference between Democrats and Republicans, but they are also in a toxic codependent relationship called the two party system. As long as we have it, the Republicans will be competitive in elections.

Per Duverger's law, this is not something that is just going to go away if we just think third-party thoughts hard enough.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:04 AM on November 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


Nor will it go away by spending our entire lives voting for the lesser evil.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:07 AM on November 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


So instead of the republicans filibustering everything we can look forward to the democrats filibustering everything.
posted by empath at 9:14 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Unless the filibuster is nuked, of course.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:18 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


The GOP really has filibustered everything. If the GOP Senate writes non-insane legislation, then no, I don't think the Dems would filibuster just to be jerks. That's the GOP's signature move.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:20 AM on November 2, 2014


[President Obama is] a pretty good ace in the hole to have standing between you and a slash-and-burn Congress.

Well, see the thing is, a slash and burn congress will just impeach him and his little friend Biden and President Boenher can just rubberstamp everything that they send down the pike.

I know, conventional wisdom is that Republicans lack the stones to do this. Republicans have demonstrated time and again that they cannot be held to either convention or wisdom.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:20 AM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Back in 1998 Republicans impeached Clinton, failing to convict. This was considered a big blunder by the Republicans, as they failed to convict and Clinton's approval actually improved afterward. Except two years later Al Gore refused to be seen with a "tainted" Clinton, and that, cheating in Florida, and a nakedly political Supreme Court gave the Republicans the executive branch. The legislative branch followed two years later. There is no doubt the Republicans will impeach Obama.

Also, if a Supreme Court justice retires or dies, expect that seat to be unfilled until 2017, though that was probably going to happen anyway.

So instead of the republicans filibustering everything we can look forward to the democrats filibustering everything.

The Republicans are getting rid of the filibuster.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:22 AM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Democrat and Republican are two sides of the same toilet paper.
Right, because if there's one thing that Democrats want, it's to shut down the Department of Education
posted by Flunkie at 9:24 AM on November 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


They have the stones, but they are actually savvy political operators. Impeachment would involve significant unnecessary backlash in the middle of the runup to a tough Presidential campaign (Against a friggin Clinton). Gore made a huge mistake by distancing himself from Clinton, whose reputation was not actually ruined by the idiotic political circuses surrounding him. Why everything on the planet besides his bad moves has been blamed for his loss is deeply confusing to me.

I will bet anybody a $10 donation to Mefi that President Obama will not be impeached.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:28 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Lets not forget Benghazi, Benghazi and more Benghazi. They'll do everything that they can to make that a big deal and pin it on Hillary.
posted by octothorpe at 9:32 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, see the thing is, a slash and burn congress will just impeach him and his little friend Biden and President Boenher can just rubberstamp everything that they send down the pike.

Oh my god they can't remove him from office. They don't have the votes. They can impeach him, force him through a trial and then acquit him a'la Clinton.
posted by Talez at 9:35 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Tea Party is not a "savvy political operator".
posted by dilaudid at 9:36 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Republicans have to fight 24 senate seats in a presidential election in 2016. They'll probably lob every hand grenade they know of to try and energize the base. Or they could become more moderate. But we know which is more likely.

The next two years are certainly going to suck. But come 2016 watch for the D filibusterbuster.
posted by Talez at 9:39 AM on November 2, 2014


Obama should probably ditch the veto pen and invest in a veto stamp.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:43 AM on November 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


Point one: we've had a Republican House and Republican Senate AND Republican Presidency simultaneously within the last ten years. The republic, or at least most of it, survived.

Counterpoint: In 2004, Republicans in the Senate included Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel and Arlen Specter. Those are not today's Republicans.
posted by gimonca at 9:46 AM on November 2, 2014 [16 favorites]


Drinky Die, I put impeachment at 50/50 if the R's take the Senate. Yes, it'd be damn stupid of them for all the reasons you list, they certainly wouldn't get a conviction. But the Tea Party has a massive desire to impeach and little regard for the long run. Also, I'm not at all sure even the elected TPers understand the actual process, the rank and file doesn't, a large number probably really do think they can remove Obama with just a simple majority in both houses of Congress.

As for the rest, I'm not at all confident in Obama's ability or willingness to stand firm for two years. The urge to compromise is crazy strong in him, he'll take any deal they offer that looks even slightly sane just to keep things moving
posted by sotonohito at 9:46 AM on November 2, 2014


The most frustrating thing about this election is that it's being driven by this largely self-reinforcing, media-driven narrative about the "failure" and "ineptitude" of the Obama administration. Failures like, apparently, the existence of the Ebola virus and the rise of IS. (A direct and predictable result of the Iraq war - truly the gift that keeps on giving!)

Meanwhile, the ACA, which is largely working as intended by lowering costs and expanding access, is viewed as a disaster, in large part because the Republicans have been able to do what they do best - control its narrative through misleading sound bites. I was told by an HR rep at work that health insurance costs were rising this year "because of Obamacare". Apparently, health insurance costs never increased before Obamacare. This is in one of the most progressive cities in the country.

The economy isn't where it needs to be, of course, but we're doing better than almost all of Europe right now. Obama's biggest mistake, arguably, was that he didn't do more to expand access to the fruits of economic growth to a larger share of the population while he had the chance. If the middle class was doing as well as the rich, Obama would have a much higher approval rating. It's ironic that this is one of the main reasons the middle class is ready to fully hand over over the legislative keys to the party that basically exists to increase wealth inequality.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 9:50 AM on November 2, 2014 [11 favorites]


The Tea Party is not a "savvy political operator".

I don't think they are even the driving force anymore, but whatever is driving the Republicans right now...is about to win quite a few elections.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:51 AM on November 2, 2014


Funny (or sadly, depending on your viewpoint) enough, Obama's ratings are higher than Reagan's or GW's at similar times in their presidencies.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:53 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am personally going to totally celebrate the demise of Tom Corbett. I hope that fucker feels the loss like a giant hole in his chest; I hope that he is unable to get speaker gigs or whatever else these fuckers do after their losses.

Mostly, I hope that his grandchildren somehow end up going to Philadelphia public schools.
posted by angrycat at 9:55 AM on November 2, 2014 [14 favorites]


(i'm talking about PA Guv Corbett)
posted by angrycat at 9:58 AM on November 2, 2014


Haha yeah, I haven't been so giddy about dumping a politician since we shitcanned Santorum.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:00 AM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm sure Corbett is signing a deal with Fox News as we speak.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:04 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


This sucks. If the elections go as expected, my little corner of the world is going to turn to crap again (not that it's fully recovered from the last 30 years of crap as it is)--I get barely any shielding from the downsream effects of politics usually because I work in servicing the public sector. I hate this crap so much.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:08 AM on November 2, 2014


Counterpoint: In 2004, Republicans in the Senate included Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel and Arlen Specter. Those are not today's Republicans.

Countercounterpoint: In 2004, it did include the likes of Ted Stevens, Jesse Helms, Rick Santorum, Strom Thurmond and Richard Shelby. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

The Republicans taking the Senate does have implications for judicial appointments (which are already being blocked en masse), Presidential appointments (ditto) and certain degrees of maneuvering in negotiations. As that nymag.com article linked above astutely states, there is no danger of earthshaking legislation getting through from the left OR the right any time soon because the Tea Partiers and All Of Humanity With Any Trace Of Conscience (which includes Obama for the most part) are at a permanent impasse. The right in Congress can block progressive and moderate things but does not have the votes to override vetos on ridiculousness like national personhood or ACA repeal or such. In addition, there are enough Congresspeople who are bought and paid for by corporate interests to keep things from grinding to an absolute standstill.

The Cruzites are not a majority even among the right but they are really fuckin' loud. As a result, we live in interesting times.
posted by delfin at 10:12 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


There won't be an impeachment. I would bet everything I own on it. The Republicans are venal, craven, and very possibly evil, but their leaders aren't that stupid.

Boehner gave the tea party wing the government shutdown it demanded as a way of indirectly marginalizing it. The backlash against it was a demonstration that the tea party was not capable of calling the shots, and guaranteed that it wasn't going to be given the opportunity to do so again. Note that it was also timed to ensure minimum political fallout. It was a whole year ago and the American electorate has the collective memory of a goldfish.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 10:12 AM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Okay, this is something I don't understand even though it's probably obvious - you have to impeach someone for something, right? Something that is some kind of malfeasance, not just "politics I think are really, really bad"? And even though the whole Monica Lewinsky thing had to be twisted around to make it seem like a potentially impeachable offense, there was some vague nebulous "Clinton lied" accusation that could be made. What does one impeach Obama for?
posted by Frowner at 10:20 AM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Americans are going to keep pounding their heads against the wall for the next several election cycles, because there is a singlular expectation that looms large, in America (based on lived history, prior to roughly last Bush term) - i.e. that recovering the American Dream is possible. Sorry; it's not.

The American Dream was always an unsustainable myth, used by the powers-that-be to keep people thinking that America was #1, and that Americans were special. Another way to say it is that the meme of the American Dream put people to sleep.

While we were sleeping, Plutocratic Grinches were sneaking into every structurally important nook and cranny, until they reached the tipping point. Well, folks, the tipping point has been reached.

Our jobs "recovery" (another myth) has resulted in roughly 80% of all new jobs paying between $6 and $13 per hour. Automation is becoming a serious threat to full employment.

Health Care is universal (thank goodness), but confusing as hell, and largely more expensive for people that *could* afford it, prior.

K12 education continues to sink in a pit of political infighting. University tuition way outpacing inflation.

We continue to fuck up, overseas.

The reporting media has finally shown itself for what it always was - a profit machine.

Extremists or revolving door types populate our legislative halls, judge positions, school boards, regulatory agencies.

I could go on, but you get the idea. What's really sad about all this is that we have - as a result of our self-righteous expectations of surfeit - failed to create a sustainable group of expectations, driven by common sense.

Yet, here we go again, puppets in the every other year media circus that promises change, thinking that we are going to get "back" to some mythic America. Sorry, it's ain't gonna happen.

Americans are not yet suffering *enough*. That may sound harsh, because there are plenty of people who are barely existing on the fringes. That said, they don't count; they have been marginalized in almost every way possible.

So what's the answer? American are going to have to take a long, hard look in the mirrorand collectively change their behaviors and expectations. Also, we're going to have to get money out of politics.

Thinking about these as the only things we have left so save ourselves from a long, painful decline is upsetting, because what Americans have become is a country divided, with structural changes in place that continue to work every day to keep us divided. Can we find a way out of this morass? I wish I knew. We are a nation of optimism and hope (even "hope" has been coopted by the political class); we have shown ourselves to be adaptable in the past, but how can one adapt to anything when Plutocrats have so embedded themselves in every decision-making and legistative nook-and-cranny? Plutocrats are pulling the strings.

I keep hoping; looking; wishing; and like everyone else (no matter what side of the aisle one is positioned on) that it's going to get better. Maybe it will. I sure hope so.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:20 AM on November 2, 2014 [22 favorites]


It makes me so furious that whatever idiots run the Democratic state machine in Ohio failed so spectacularly to vet their gubernatorial candidate that they missed the fact he drove around on an invalid license for ten years.

And also some BS scandal with a woman.

But that top-of-the-ballot race was crucial. Absolutely crucial to throwing the rest of the bums out. If there had been a real fight for governor, if there had been real causes that energized the base, the Democrats would have turned out in droves. But because Fitzgerald is completely unelectable, despite the fact that Kasich is a naked opportunistic crook, Democrats are just staying home and won't turn out to vote on down-ballot races.

And the local GOP machine gets stronger, chews up more Dems, and Ohio turns red, red, red in 2016.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 10:22 AM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


The Cleveland Plain Dealer should be shunned forever for endorsing Kasich.
posted by Eyebeams at 10:28 AM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


you have to impeach someone for something, right?

In theory. But it's probably not subject to judicial review, so as a practical matter they can impeach for whatever reason they want.
posted by jpe at 10:30 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


They won't impeach, because they can't impeach: they won't have the numbers required to do it, even if they take the House and Senate.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:33 AM on November 2, 2014


I'm ashamed to be a journalist with idiots like this running around.

FITZGERALD: Why is it pro-life to have a gag rule for a rape crisis counselor? You didn’t answer their question.

EDITOR: I think he answered okay.

FITZGERALD: He has never — with all due respect — he has never once said why it was good public policy in the state of Ohio for a rape crisis counselor to be limited in what she can advise a victim of sexual assault. And he didn’t answer it then. He started talking about prenatal care and making sure that kids get enough sleep. He will not answer this question.

EDITOR: What I heard the governor say is that he’s pro-life.


The whole thing is just unbelievable. The fact that the publisher clearly breached the firewall between editorial and business when they pulled that video down. And the fact that it was a female editor who had to step in and press Kasich on his non-answer. And the fact that Kasich was so childishly pretending that Fitzgerald wasn't even there. Unbelievable. All of it. The world has fucking lost its mind.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 10:33 AM on November 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


Okay, this is something I don't understand even though it's probably obvious - you have to impeach someone for something, right?

Well, if you listen to Tea Partiers and the entire right-wing media, they are absolutely convinced Obama is an executive-order away from declaring martial law, taking all the guns, suspending the Constitution, forcing all Christians into those secret FEMA concentration camps, and establishing a Socialist Caliphate in the US. Any! Minute! Now! So, I'm pretty sure they think they have something to impeach him over.

It's up to the Senate to try Obama, though. It only requires a simple majority in the House to draw-up the articles of impeachment. I think that happening is a slam-dunk.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:34 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


With an R senate, things that could arguably pass (even with a D filibuster and Obama's veto) include: Keystone XL; Trans-Pacific Partnership; immigration reform (sans amnesty); corporate tax reform and Dodd-Frank reductions; modifications of ACA including the medical device tax and possibly limitations on the employer mandate.

Things that could pass the Senate at least: anything that's a budget bill, since 50% is the threshold for reconciliation. The continuing resolution expires on December 11, so something will need to pass almost immediately. It's likely to be another CR of course, since the new Senate doesn't fill until January, but the debt ceiling was extended only until March 2015 (with treasury tricks extending that into June), so a short CR would land us right in the middle of that. There will be a lot of temptation for Obama to avoid shutdowns, even knowing that Republicans looking towards 2016 want to avoid them too. In addition, of course, Obama likes bargains, compromise, and "getting things done." So we could plausibly see a number of compromises, particularly in name of changing or eliminating the 2011 sequester caps that are slowly killing tons of federal programs. These are likely to be in a tit-for-tat format, so Obama defenders will point to the gains, and attackers (from the left) will point to the losses. A little more for NIH, a little less for food stamps; a little more for Ebola, a little less for foreign aid of other kinds; a little more military, and a little more military (both sides love that); etc. In addition, we might get some more dramatic compromises: social security "reform," medicare reform (in the name of lowering costs), common core reform, and the aforementioned TPP, Keystone, and corporate tax stuff.

In terms of filibusters and vetoes, we'll probably get filibusters over the ACA, abortion, etc. But with regards to spending bills (with their 50% threshold) we'll get presidential vetoes on anything that requires funding: portions of the ACA, medicaid, food stamps, EPA, etc. But unlike the ACA filibusters, etc, Obama is likely to be tempted to make compromises on these things as the bills are repeatedly tweaked and resent to his desk (see above).

Finally, the nominations largely come to a halt, which is less important for the Attorney General and so forth (since those can largely continue on without nominal heads), but highly important for the lower federal courts, which will essentially remain as-is until 2016 (only about 1% of federal appeals make it to the Supreme Court). So that's a big deal too.

And then of course there are the hearings. Senate hearing traditionally get more attention than House hearings. (But impeachment of any sort is highly unlikely.)

So all in all, the stakes are actually pretty high. And while it's plausible the D's could retake the Senate in 2016, the party winning the presidency usually gains seats in the Senate, so if the Republicans manage even a halfway-decent win of the Presidency in 2016, they are reasonably likely to hold all three branches. And then for all of those decrying the government's inability to "get things done", well, that problem will be alleviated. So if you're a D and you think an R senate might conceivably help Hillary in 2016 (she probably does), you could plausibly take some solace in the likely R win on Tuesday.
posted by chortly at 10:35 AM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


What does one impeach Obama for?

Oh, the wingnuts have no shortage of charges. The blanket one is "constitutional overreach", which covers pretty much anything they feel isn't explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. This includes a laundry list of executive orders, recess appointments, sending the military into action without Congressional approval, NOT sending the military to Benghazi, Obamacare, inadequate border security, violation of Americans' religious freedom, using the IRS to target conservative groups, attempting to circumvent standing immigration laws, and whatever flavor of 'treason' Joseph Farah is serving up this week.

Is there anything in the above that is a smoking gun, the kind of offense that would cause a couple of dozen Democratic senators to cross over? Not even close. Not even close to close. But that won't stop the howling from the hyenas.
posted by delfin at 10:36 AM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


you have to impeach someone for something, right?
"An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history; conviction results from whatever offense or offenses two-thirds of the other body considers to be sufficiently serious to require removal of the accused from office."

-Gerald Ford, speaking while Republican Leader of the House of Representatives
posted by Flunkie at 10:40 AM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Quick question. What time on Tuesday will the results be announced? In the evening?
posted by pravit at 10:40 AM on November 2, 2014


The Republicans are venal, craven, and very possibly evil, but their leaders aren't that stupid.

Yeah, but with Ted Cruz egging on the tea party reps in the House? It's going to be an interesting two years.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:47 AM on November 2, 2014


Quick question. What time on Tuesday will the results be announced? In the evening?

The results of what, exactly? There are probably at least a hundred races and ballot questions worth watching on Tuesday night, and polls close at different times in different states.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:50 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


It only requires a simple majority in the House to draw-up the articles of impeachment. I think that happening is a slam-dunk.

The Republicans got the House majority back in the 2010 midterms.
posted by leopard at 10:51 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Haha yeah, I haven't been so giddy about dumping a politician since we shitcanned Santorum.

Phrasing!

(Sorry. I am filled with terror for your country and what is about to happen to it. Gallows humour is all I've got.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:54 AM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


The most frustrating thing about this election is that it's being driven by this largely self-reinforcing, media-driven narrative about the "failure" and "ineptitude" of the Obama administration.

The Republicans got the House majority back in the 2010 midterms

These are the biggest failures of the Obama administration, in my opinion. He does see the party or the country as whole or something he's responsible for. I don't think he's been a terrible President, in retrospect, like Gore easily conceding in 2000, these decisions severely affected and will continue to affect the country for decades.

Don't like the crazies drive the boat.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:55 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Obama and the Democrats:

1) watched an entire generation looking for work in 2008 slowly drown when they controlled the government

2) bailed out the banks and left homeowners to be ruined.

3) wagered everything on a "universal" healthcare plan inspired by their political opponents, which can be piecewise repealed to fuck everyone. (If the Republicans are smart they won't repeal all of the ACA so they can still blame the collapse of the health care economy on the Democrats)

4) cheer-leaded for war in Syria and the Ukraine... and got it.

5) doubled-down on high stakes testing in education.

6) sat around for six years while judicial appointments went unfilled.

7) tried and failed to cut social security

and on and on...

Fuck 'em. If the Dems retain the Senate it would only prove that there are no real consequences for massive failure and abandoning your base.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:07 AM on November 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


Right, because if there's one thing that Democrats want, it's to shut down the Department of Education

"Cuomo calls public school system a ‘monopoly’ he wants to bust"

Granted, he's just the Democratic governor of the third-most-prosperous/populous state in the union. Surely this isn't indicative of some terrible betrayal both of principle and longtime-allies or anything.
posted by clockzero at 11:11 AM on November 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


The Republicans got the House majority back in the 2010 midterms.

Yes, but they didn't have a Senate with a Republican majority. That's why they will emboldened to try it now.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:19 AM on November 2, 2014


ennui.bz, don't forget failing to prosecute Bush-era war criminals, suppressing torture photos, enacting and defending programs of extrajudicial execution of American citizens, failing to close Guantanamo, prosecuting whistleblowers, failing to carry out immigration reform or stop deportations, not doing anything positive about the NSA revelations, looking the other way as Israel pummels Palestine...

Fuck the Democrats, indeed.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:20 AM on November 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


> "Fuck 'em."

'ems not the only ones who are going to be fucked.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:21 AM on November 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


Re: what time the results will be announced -- with no candidate likely to exceed 50% of the vote, two Senate races, Georgia and Louisiana, are likely to proceed to a runoff a month later. And 1-2 seats are likely to be enough to determine which party holds the Senate. (Moreso if the independent candidate wins in Kansas and waits to announce which party he will caucus with.)

So the time on Tuesday night when results will be announced is "December."
posted by chimpsonfilm at 11:24 AM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


What does one impeach Obama for?

presiding while black
posted by pyramid termite at 11:44 AM on November 2, 2014 [27 favorites]


I agree with the fuck 'em attitude towards the Democrats, and I vote for and support them because the alternative is (somehow) vastly worse.

The "fuck 'em" list left off:

Decimating civil liberties and carrying water for the entire intelligence industrial complex.

Continuing the War on Blacks and fighting tooth and nail against any reform in drug or prison laws.

Carrying out stupid and expensive covert wars via drones that squander money to no benefit and mass produce people who hate America and want revenge.

Protecting and defending torturers to the best of their ability (yes, that was listed, it needed repetition).

And yet, the Republicans are entering literal cartoon villainy territory. They want overt, boots on the ground, wars with pretty much every Muslim nation on Earth. They don't want to water down the safety net they want to simply eradicate it. They won't limit themselves to protecting former torturers they'll train and deploy new torturers and develop new atrocities to commit. They don't just ignore the problems of the economy on everyone but the upper 1%, they actively work to make the economy vastly worse for everyone but the upper 1% and to take money from the 99% and give it to the 1%. They don't just want to continue the current disastrous and stupid prison and drug policies, they want to make them worse.

So yeah, I hate the Democrats. But I'll vote for them on Tuesday because the alternative is so incredibly worse.
posted by sotonohito at 12:04 PM on November 2, 2014 [28 favorites]


I was talking to my mother earlier today. She is a faithful watcher of the Sunday morning political shows. I was joking with her about Sam Adams, the brewer and patriot, as it says on the beer bottles. I told her I was glad they put brewer first, because you'd have to be drunk or crazy to take on the British Empire at the time. We were talking about his cousin John - John's very influential and smart wife Abigail and about Washington and Jefferson. Having seen the commercials and the slate of candidates on offer this election cycle, it is a wonder we survive as a country. With maybe two or three exceptions (possibly Elizabeth Warren, where I live), compared with the people responsible for starting this country, we have a dearth of talent and intellect out there representing us. It's rather depressing.
posted by McMillan's Other Wife at 12:05 PM on November 2, 2014


To those who would punish the country in the name of punishing Democrats:

What it comes down to is this: Voting is harm reduction; just like giving clean needles to addicts. Voting doesn’t solve our problems, just like clean needles won’t solve the problems posed by intravenous drug use. But harm reduction matters.

Seriously, what is the scenario in which republican control makes things better for left-wing causes? Do we expect losing the senate to move the democratic party to the left, come back re-energized and then re-take control while governing closer to the base? That's possible, I guess, but is that really a bet you want to make, given what lies between here and there?
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:06 PM on November 2, 2014 [32 favorites]


And while it's plausible the D's could retake the Senate in 2016, the party winning the presidency usually gains seats in the Senate, so if the Republicans manage even a halfway-decent win of the Presidency in 2016, they are reasonably likely to hold all three branches.

Here are the 2016 Senate races. 31 seats up for grabs:

17 safe R (AL, AK, AZ, AR, GA, ID, IA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MO, NC, ND, OH, SD, UT)
8 safe D (CA, CT, MD, NV, NY, OR, VT, WA)

6 contestable: CO (D), FL (R), IL (R), NH (R), PA (R), WI (R)

The Republicans are going to find it very hard to gain seats in the Senate in 2016.
posted by one_bean at 12:11 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I keep hoping that there is some kind of cunning and ruthless killer instinct hiding somewhere in the recesses of Obama's brain. He knows that he's not up for re-election. He has nothing, but nothing to lose - he can't even be blamed for endangering democrats in the midterms. Once the vote is held on Nov. 4, I fully expect Obama to clear his throat, spit, rub his hands together and announce "let's rock and roll!". Nov 5, a blizzard of executive orders issues forth, by the dozen daily and doesn't stop - it's his only weapon, but as the Repubs showed, there is no compunction about pressing your one sole solitary advantage any way you can. I expect him to keep signing those orders and vetoing the Repub's nonsense with such relentlessness that only physically yanking the pen our of his hand would stop him - and if you try, he'll shoot you first. Of course, all such orders can be reversed by the next pres - and will be, if it's a Republican - but the plan should be that a Demo wins and holds on. It's a very, very fine line to walk, but it's the only path forward - like a swaying line from the top of the Empire State building clear across the country to the Golden Gate Bridge, he has to walk it without slipping once.

He's got until the end of the year with the Senate still D. Time to fill our each and every judicial vacancy that he can with the filibuster not operating (except for the ones stupidly left out of the filibuster buster). Immediate stay and stop to all non-felony criminal deportations of undocumented immigrants. A wholesale purge and surge of all federal department policies and personnel under his control. And so on, wherever his gaze can reach. The Republicans will scream, but the problem is that when you're already screaming at the top of your lungs, you can't scream any louder - so fuck 'em.

And then I woke up - Obama will be full of soaring rhetoric for the consumption of the liberal chumps, and implement a mealy-mouthed compromise with the Repubs every chance he gets. I really should desist from donuts at lunch, they make me nod off, coffee or not.
posted by VikingSword at 12:19 PM on November 2, 2014 [13 favorites]


I'm surprised by the doom and gloom here. In Georgia, we have a very good chance of having a Democratic governor and Senator. In Georgia. And many folks think the polls here are significantly under-representing young, non-white voters, our fastest growing demographic. The times are changing here, and today I am hopeful.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:34 PM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


6 contestable: CO (D), FL (R), IL (R), NH (R), PA (R), WI (R)

The Republicans are going to find it very hard to gain seats in the Senate in 2016.


Seems plausible. On the other hand, if they go in with 52 seats, they can afford to lose 2 and still hold the Senate if they win the presidency. And historically, since 1932, the only once (out of 9 times) has the party of a president winning his first term lost seats in the Senate. So on the one hand, the specific seats look good for Democrats; on the other hand, there are strong historical tendencies for a first-time winner to bring a lot of momentum into the Senate and House.
posted by chortly at 12:34 PM on November 2, 2014


Liberals / progressives in the U.S. should stop wasting their time on culture wars and start spearheading a campaign to pass legislation mandating a voting holiday. No other single piece of legislation would make as much of a difference in the future of politics in the U.S.

Liberal voters are overwhelmingly composed of younger people, minorities, urban, and lower income people. Conservative voters are older, increasingly retired, whiter, suburban/rural. Retired people vote in droves because they don't have anything else to do. It's either that or daytime TV.

For me, it's going to be a huge pain in the ass because I have a job and I live in the city. I have to take time out of my job, which I thankfully can do without losing income, but it's still something I have to schedule in advance and hope that nothing critical comes up at work that I have to take care of instead. Then there's traffic and public transit issues to contend with. And most people have significantly less flexibility to vote compared with me.

My parents, who are twice my age, sit around collecting social security checks and tending to hobbies. They have ample time to vote.

Is it any wonder that during the recent budget crises, retirement benefits are the one thing that has never been up for cutting?

Mandate a voting holiday. Pool all activism efforts into this single issue, and Millennials will suddenly have much more political power. There are a lot of us.
posted by deathpanels at 12:37 PM on November 2, 2014 [33 favorites]


Democrat and Republican are two sides of the same toilet paper.

Yeah, except for health care, reproductive rights, women's issues, civil rights, labor, taxation, federalism and states' rights, education, infrastructure, funding for arts and scientific research, LGBTQ issues, immigration... But yeah, otherwise totally the same. I mean the Democratic Party has plenty of problems and is weak on some issues, but to me it is the corrupting influence of politics and especially lately, money. I can't do without healthcare, but without the ACA I'd be stuck with literally no insurance options. The Republican Party campaigns on shutting it down, and fuck the poor while we're at it. Not hard for me to choose which party is addressing my real life, life-and-death concerns. It's not a joke.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:39 PM on November 2, 2014 [27 favorites]


Many people would still have to work even if it was a "holiday".
posted by dilaudid at 12:41 PM on November 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


deathpanels, I feel like you do, except about campaign finance reform.

I also think the Dems should be playing the local game re: resetting district boundaries; to think that the Republican party wont' try to pull the same story in 2020 they did in 2010 is a bit naive (unless they're on to the next big way to manage the vote). It's a big problem that more Americans voted for a Dem in the last house election, but we got a Republican house anyhow. (And dont' even get me started about the senate).
posted by nat at 12:49 PM on November 2, 2014


It makes me so furious that whatever idiots run the Democratic state machine in Ohio failed so spectacularly to vet their gubernatorial candidate that they missed the fact he drove around on an invalid license for ten years.

IMO, it's actually more hapless than that - I don't think there was anyone willing to run but Fitzgerald (whose reach currently far exceeds his grasp; he was a fine Mayor of Lakewood, he hasn't done Cuyahoga County horribly wrong as County Executive, but he's nowhere near experienced enough to be trusted with the governorship), so they said, "OK", just to have a warm body in the race.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer should be shunned forever for endorsing Kasich.

The publishers of the P.D. have been plutocrats of the first order for as long as I can remember. Back in '04 the then-publisher overruled the editorial board and tried to force the paper to endore Bush. (The conflict ended in a stalemate and no official endorsement.)
posted by soundguy99 at 12:52 PM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


For me, it's going to be a huge pain in the ass because I have a job and I live in the city. I have to take time out of my job....

You say you live in Illinois. Polls are open six AM to seven PM. Illinois also has an early voting option.

Seems pretty accommodating to me.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:55 PM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm going to vote for a progressive populist agenda. The fact that most Democrats running this cycle have ignored the populist economic issues, means they have left the door wide open for the Republicans to run right through it with their fear-based campaigns. It was a horrible decision to move right for these mid-terms. There's a reason Elizabeth Warren is the most popular Democrat in the country (at least the Democratic wing of the Democratic party). Nobody learned anything. Who do I blame? President Obama. Who talks, at times, like an economic populist but governs to the right of Richard Nixon on economic issues.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 1:11 PM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Democrat and Republican are two sides of the same toilet paper.

In that one side is indescribably shitty and the other is frighteningly flimsy protection.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:12 PM on November 2, 2014 [69 favorites]


There's a reason Elizabeth Warren is the most popular Democrat in the country (at least the Democratic wing of the Democratic party).
Were she able to vote in your district, who would you guess that Elizabeth Warren would vote for?
posted by Flunkie at 1:34 PM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Lizard People. She's quite the prankster.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:37 PM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


All I want to say is, for the love of Christ, even if the race in your locality isn't competitive, I'm begging you to go vote if you haven't already. What THE MAN wants is for you to just give up on the whole thing and not vote. Don't let them win.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:39 PM on November 2, 2014 [19 favorites]


Illinois also has absentee voting for whomever wants it. "Tuesdays aren't good for me" is not a reason to not vote in Illinois.
posted by aaronetc at 1:45 PM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Worth a shot.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:52 PM on November 2, 2014


What THE MAN wants is for you to just give up on the whole thing and not vote. Don't let them win.

This 1000 times. Hell, I gave up years ago and I still early voted and would never think to do otherwise. Harm reduction should at a minimum be the goal even if there's no option worth enthusiastic support. When the cat's away, the mice will play.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:57 PM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


The Republicans are going to find it very hard to gain seats in the Senate in 2016.

Seems plausible. On the other hand, if they go in with 52 seats, they can afford to lose 2 and still hold the Senate if they win the presidency.


If they win the Presidency in 2016, all bets are off anyway. The United States of Cruzistan is not a place which is predictable from historical precedent, and effectively means the end of the American experiment in favor of the beginning of a FOX-News/Koch led corporatcracy, de jure rather than just de facto.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:58 PM on November 2, 2014


One can summarize the opinion of quite a few people on this thread and many, many voters as follows: "I'm very angry with Obama and the Democrats for falling short on some issues that are extremely important to me. So, even though I agree with them on many critical issues, I am going to not vote or to vote for Republicans, the party with which I disagree with me on almost everything and which will screw the country. Cutting off my nose to spite my face will really show Obama and the Dems what's what!"
posted by haiku warrior at 2:30 PM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Seriously, just vote for the lesser of two evils forever instead and all those issues will be solved. Why don't you idiots get it?
posted by Drinky Die at 2:37 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Cutting off my nose to spite my face will really show Obama and the Dems what's what!"

The most pernicious effect of this mindset is that the Dems have never once drawn the conclusion from electoral losses that the reason for the loss was insufficient allegiance to progressive or left wing issues. Consistently, from Carter's failed attempt at rational environmental policy, to Clinton's "ending welfare as we know it", to Obama embracing the banks, the security state, deficit cutting obsession and Romneycare, the only consistent lesson that the Dems have ever drawn over the last 40 years is that they must move ever right, must compromise that much more in order to reach the magical Center, and at some point the Center will be reached, everyone will agree on a Grand Bargain that will solve all of our problems, end the partisan bickering once and for all, John McCain will shake all of their hands on Meet the Press, Tom Friedman will stroke his mustache in approval and the American Dream will be restored.

The Republicans learned a long time ago that as long as they continue to insist that their extremist views are a true representation of the mythical "center right nation", the Dems are unable or unwilling to mount an argument that that isn't the case, and will instead agree to compromise a little more, each and every time.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:40 PM on November 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


Right, because people are saying everything will be wonderful if you vote for a Democrat. Surely the better plan is to allow the (far) greater of two evils to get more power.
posted by Flunkie at 2:40 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm completely discouraged about our national politics. I'm far to the left of any democrat on the ballot in Maryland, and I know that whomever is elected will fall far short of my expectations. I also have friends who are republicans. The thing is, most of them are thoughtful people who see the world differently than I do, and who consequently think that different solutions than I favor are called for. They are as poorly represented as I am by the ballot choices available to them. We're all captives of the plutocracy. The year I spent as a fellow in the Senate (2012) was the most depressing year of my life. I have no hope anymore that the system is fixable. As a federal employee, I'm struggling to come to terms with the reality that I may need to find a new employer so that I can continue to support my family. As a scientist, it's pretty grim because it's not as though the academy is a very appealing alternative. This is a soul-crushing time to be a middle-aged American liberal.

I will still vote, because it's the only way I have to express my feelings.
posted by wintermind at 2:41 PM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Vote Cthulhu! Why settle for a lesser evil?
posted by el io at 2:41 PM on November 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


Right, because people are saying everything will be wonderful if you vote for a Democrat.

About as many as are saying, "I'm very angry with Obama and the Democrats for falling short on some issues that are extremely important to me. So, even though I agree with them on many critical issues, I am going to not vote or to vote for Republicans, the party with which I disagree with me on almost everything and which will screw the country. Cutting off my nose to spite my face will really show Obama and the Dems what's what!"?
posted by Drinky Die at 2:45 PM on November 2, 2014


Oh baloney. "Fuck 'em for abandoning the base" and whatnot.
posted by Flunkie at 2:46 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


If they win the Presidency in 2016, it won't be with Ted Cruz as the candidate.

The American Crazification Factor of 27% is both an eternal worry and a blessing in disguise. There are areas in America where certified fruitloops can cruise to reelection, but in the states that decide Presidential elections the concentrations aren't that strong. The Republicans draw from many pools and not all of them are poo-slinging crazy.

Look at the last Republican campaign and the fractures it exposed. Mitt Romney was the monied interests' candidate of choice but certainly didn't cruise to victory. An Anyone-But-Romney effort settled into two camps: Newt Gingrich representing the Southern power brokers and the tea-bomb-throwers, Rick Santorum representing Traditional Conservative Religious Values voters who wanted their issues at the forefront and no damned MORMONS on the ticket. Even with all that opposition to Romney, he won out in the end largely because neither Santorum nor Newt nor Cain nor Bachmann nor Perry nor Paul passed the "would you buy a used car from this person" sniff test.

The fruitcakes _love_ Cruz because he panders directly to them; he's like someone hatched a genetically-manipulated egg in Roger Ailes's living room and he popped out of it. But Cruz is a born crusader; he has all the subtlety of a neon-painted brick with a car alarm on top. He is acutely aware that while you can't get to the White House throwing bombs, there's plenty of money and power in being the guy who keeps the White House from getting anything done.

Whereas actually running for the big offices, much less winning? That comes with EXPECTATIONS. (This is Palin's Law.)
posted by delfin at 2:48 PM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


I made a point of early voting for Mary Landrieu last weekend. However much you might not like her I can guarantee you will like Cassidy a lot less if he takes her seat.
posted by localroger at 2:48 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I made a point of early voting for Mary Landrieu last weekend. However much you might not like her I can guarantee you will like Cassidy a lot less if he takes her seat."

Yes, localroger, this is what our elections boil down to in this country now. Kind of like the 'Mutt' email client motto - 'All email clients suck. Mutt sucks less'.
posted by McMillan's Other Wife at 2:51 PM on November 2, 2014


> About as many as are saying ....

If you're in an argument with someone and they mis-characterize what you're saying (which I think haiku warrior did), the solution is not to mis-characterize back and even up the score. Why not just point out where they're wrong?
posted by benito.strauss at 2:51 PM on November 2, 2014


I made a point of early voting for Mary Landrieu last weekend. However much you might not like her I can guarantee you will like Cassidy a lot less if he takes her seat.

I, too, am really excited to be voting for Mary Landrieu and Edwin Edwards on Tuesday!!!

help
posted by Corinth at 2:56 PM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Because it's an old as fuck mischaracterization on this site and extremely frustrating for people who dare to admit on Mefi that they don't vote straight ticket Dem. Pointing it out politely the first 10,000 times has not prevented the next 10,000 times. At a certain point you exceed the tolerance people have to be polite about it.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:56 PM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


How on earth was this mischaracterized?

Is the author not very angry with Obama and the Democrats for falling short on some issues that are extremely important to them?

Does the author not agree with them on many critical issues?

Does the author not intend to vote (or not vote) in a way which will benefit the Republicans?

Does the author not disagree with the Republicans on almost everything?

Will the Republicans not screw the country?

Does the author not suggest that enabling the Democrats to retain the Senate would be bad because it would not teach them a lesson?
posted by Flunkie at 3:03 PM on November 2, 2014


Wooo, attempted double down. No thanks.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:05 PM on November 2, 2014


Right, right.
posted by Flunkie at 3:06 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I phrased that jerkily, sorry. I've just been down the road on this conversation too many times and I don't want to go in depth. Sorry, thread, should not have responded at all if I didn't want to go back and forth on it at least a little.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:10 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


The point of voting third party is not to teach the Democrats anything. It's to break the Democratic hold on progressive voters and move them (progressives) toward a party that is not actively harmful to any of our shared interests.

The Democratic argument is not that they would advance a progressive agenda one iota, but that the Republicans are even worse. And bluntly, that has to be faced. Lesser evil voting has not worked. Things have gotten worse, not better, under the Democrats.
posted by graymouser at 3:18 PM on November 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


I, too, am really excited to be voting for Mary Landrieu and Edwin Edwards on Tuesday!!!

I didn't get to vote for Edwards this time, not being in the district where he's running, but I did vote for his last gubernatorial term when one of the more popular bumper stickers was "Vote for the crook, it's important." And if I lived in Baton Rouge I'd vote for him again for exactly the same reason.

It's probably worth mentioning that Landrieu and Edwards are at least pretty competent; you might not like the angles they take but they both got positive things done for the state, which is their job. Edwards might be a crook but he's at least smart enough to know you can't skim what you've destroyed. And a lesser Landrieu would have simply switched parties years ago; as it is she's a reliable vote for the President's nominations and other boilerplate stuff. You might prefer a "better" democrat in her chair, but there is absolutely no chance you will get one any time soon from Louisiana.
posted by localroger at 3:24 PM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Lesser evil voting has not worked.

The fact that it has not accomplished your goals does not mean that any of the other realistic options will create a better outcome. Nobody so far has given a credible alternative that has any hope of doing anything except making things far worse.
posted by localroger at 3:27 PM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Breathing hasn't worked either. Who is truly serious about change?
posted by leopard at 3:34 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lesser evil voting has not worked.

Among many others, the 10 million people who have health insurance for the first time probably disagree with you. But I get it, lesser evil voting hasn't worked for you.
posted by Eyebeams at 3:37 PM on November 2, 2014 [11 favorites]


Ok, one more time. the two parties share some similar traits, there are absolutely things that Republicans and Democrats are very much alike on, that I think is irrefutable. But, it is politically naive to continue to spout the line that there is no difference. there are clear and bright differences that are baked in at this point. Saying there is NO DIFFERENCE is kinda nothing more than posturing or trolling. Yes, to be honest there are plenty of third party candidates that I woulds support more than a Democrat but until we reform or system so that voting for them is not automatically a defacto vote for the worst choice I am not voting third party. And that is one of the things that is alike between the two parties, they are loathed to allow something like ranked choice or any other system that would diminish their power one iota.

Gore would have been infinitely better than Bush... infinitely. But there are plenty of things I would have disagreed with him pretty strongly on. there are a lot of things I disagree with Obama on, quite a few actually, but at the same time I recognize he is a hell of a lot better then unstable McCain would have been or Mr Offshore Romney would have been. the thing is no matter who we elect there would have been things we dislike about them... but that does not mean the TWO PARTIES ARE THE SAME HUFF DUFF.
posted by edgeways at 3:42 PM on November 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


Understood, Drinky Die. It can be just too tiring to make an argument here sometimes.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:44 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


the way i look at it, it's the old school eastern corporate establishment, which at least is not terribly interested in turning our populace into complete slaves vs the new west/southern corporate rebellion, which would like to see a corporate/cultural dictatorship in the guise of the american republic

not much to choose from there, but one is plainly better

where it's going to get tricky for me is if the democrats get too heavily involved in some aspect of empire that requires massive armed participation - and they're inching closer all the time

there comes a point where one can't in good conscience go along with that or ignore it without becoming complicit

another thing i've got to say - obama just isn't much of a leader - he's failed to get his party to act as a disciplined and goal driven force, even though one can point at some accomplishments he's gotten

it's too late now
posted by pyramid termite at 3:51 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lesser evil voting has not worked.

So what's your plan?
posted by octothorpe at 3:53 PM on November 2, 2014


> "Lesser evil voting has not worked."

The problem is, third-party voting or nonvoting have not worked even more.
posted by kyrademon at 4:04 PM on November 2, 2014 [16 favorites]


These threads just bum me the fuck out. It is very clear to me that the Republican candidates in my state are very, very bad news. The Republican senate candidate wants to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, wants a fetal personhood amendment to the US Constitution, and is not sure that there should be a minimum wage, let alone that it should be raised to something that a person could live on. The Republican governor, who will be easily reelected, appointed a Catholic priest to the state medical board, which has unsurprisingly steadily chipped away at access to abortion. The governor's first act in office was to take away felons' right to vote, unless the governor personally restores their voting rights.

We're going to lose really badly on Tuesday, and it is going to be very bad for the most vulnerable people in my state.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:45 PM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yes, localroger, this is what our elections boil down to in this country now. Kind of like the 'Mutt' email client motto - 'All email clients suck. Mutt sucks less'.

You're trying to represent the effective views of 300 million Americans with a cast of 535.

Nothing you can do with the voting process will fix the process because when it comes down to it, there are far few representatives. The USA needs at least 6,000 reps (1 in 50,000) to be able to do a decent job of deliberation, representation and ensuring access. Ideally the deliberative body would be made up of 10,000 voting members (1 per 30,000).

But instead we get the legacy of patchwork federalism and states highly protective of their fucking absurd amount of power in the deliberative body.
posted by Talez at 5:12 PM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


talez, 6,000 to 10,000 members wouldn't be a deliberative body, it would be a mob - it simply wouldn't scale well

besides, i don't think the problem is just the government - i think it's us - too many of us are willing to believe bullshit because it's comfortable bullshit to believe in - and even more of us are willing to say to hell with it and not vote at all
posted by pyramid termite at 5:40 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


The National Republican Party platform says:

"The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity."

(https://www.gop.com/platform/renewing-american-values/)

Respect and dignity, my ass. Also, this social scientist says, citation needed.

The Democratic party platform says:

"Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act."

(http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform#protecting-rights)

(Not to mention tackling DC's lack of representation, human trafficking, and other human rights issues... )

Like hell there isn't a difference. Politicians may not always deliver what they promise, especially when they're having to try to work with folks who believe the exact opposite of what they do, but you can look through both platforms and see clear differences in who and what both parties are concerned with.
posted by joycehealy at 5:41 PM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Well, something had to bring about the end of the circular liberal firing squad directed at Obama. I guess we don't really know what someone has accomplished in six years until somebody else tries to take it away the first day they are elected.
posted by maxsparber at 5:57 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'll keep voting for Democrats, at the national & state-wide levels at least, for the harm reduction principle that saulgoodman mentions above. I'll do that while also believing that a more progressive stance than Democrats currently tend to take would be more popular, win them more votes & would better serve the general welfare of the nation.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:00 PM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


kyrademon: “The problem is, third-party voting or nonvoting have not worked even more.”

That's a difficult debate, I have to say. Third parties have often had a huge impact on elections in the United States, serving to push one or both of the major parties in a new direction. And what's more, actually winning elections has quite often had little net gain; our system means that the vast majority of the time elected officials are fight against other elected officials to get anything done, and if there's even close to a balance between the two parties (and there often is) then they're not likely to get anything done. So I think it's tough to say whether voting for a third party or a major party is likely to have more of a net impact.

In the face of this, it almost seems as though – gasp! – it might be a good idea to just vote for the person who you think would be the best at their job if elected, regardless of the party they stand for or their likelihood of winning.
posted by koeselitz at 6:29 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]



You say you live in Illinois. Polls are open six AM to seven PM. Illinois also has an early voting option.

Seems pretty accommodating to me.
Don't be willfully ignorant. Any barrier to voting dissuades voters who match the demographic effected by that barrier. Taken on the aggregate, this affects election results by skewing voter turnout by demographic.

Let's say you have a job where you need to be at work at 8am, as many people do. Now let's say you have young children. You get up early, get the kids ready for school, drive them to wherever they need to go, and then hustle your way to work to be there by 8am. Sometimes you don't leave until 6pm. Suddenly the 6am – 7pm schedule doesn't seem so accommodating. This is merely a hypothetical scenario, but it is representative of the reality for many non-retired, non-baby boomer people in the real world who are members of a demographic that not coincidentally has poor voter turnout.

Elections are held on a Tuesday, which more or less guarantees that anyone who works for a living will have some difficulty getting time to vote. For many people, taking time during the day to vote means potentially putting your income source at risk, or not caring for your children.

So why not vote early, you say? Panacea, right? Early voting is great, but you have to know about early voting to make use of it. Only people who are already enthusiastic about the political process will seek out such alternatives. For everyone else, voting is just another chore to do, and an optional one at that. Anyone sufficiently busy and politically disengaged will let it slip under this system. And it's easy to be disengaged by an election culture of attack ads and misinformation campaigns driven by lobbyists and special interest groups.

Considering the abysmally low voter turnout for the younger generations, I think it is reasonable that a democracy should try to encourage participation in the political process, not settle for the status quo, which, if you haven't been paying attention, is not working out so well.

So no, I do not accept your shrugging dismissal of the most glaring problem in our political system.
posted by deathpanels at 6:46 PM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Early voting is great, but you have to know about early voting to make use of it.
The Democrats are devoting massive resources to educating voters about early voting. Where I live, we've knocked thousands and thousands and thousands of doors to explain to people how to vote by mail and to give them a chance to fill out the vote by mail application right there. Our door knocks are heavily targeted towards people in demographics that generally lean Democrat and often don't vote. (Apparently they've hired lots of fancy statisticians to identify those people, but that's way above my non-existent pay grade. Anecdotally, I would say that we're hitting a lot of young, working-class women.) It doesn't really seem to be working that well this go round: we've got a whole lot of outstanding vote by mail ballots, even though all you have to do is fill them out and stick them in the mail. You don't even need a stamp. Right now, we're knocking doors and making phone calls to try to convince people to turn in their ballots, which we really shouldn't be having to do at this stage in the election cycle. But that's a reflection of other stuff: people are disengaged, but in those cases it's not because it's too hard to vote.

I don't have a problem with a national election holiday, but I don't think it would do a lot of good for the people who have the biggest logistical barriers to voting, because they're probably not going to get a day off from service-industry jobs or taking care of children/ disabled spouses or whatever other things make it tough for them to vote. I think that the best way to increase access is to provide more flexible voting options, so that people can vote when and where it's convenient to them. Of course, that's another thing where there's a huge partisan difference, because Democrats want to expand access to voting and Republicans want to limit it. It's a bit of a vicious cycle: electing Democrats gets expanded access, but not having expanded access means that it's hard to elect Democrats.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:29 PM on November 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


Quick question. What time on Tuesday will the results be announced? In the evening?

Other people have addressed the question of "when will we know who won?" previously in this thread, but here's a map of poll closing times, via the Great Orange Satan. Generally speaking, the media will make their calls re winners about 3-4 hours after polls close, but given how close some of these races are, we won't know which party controls the Senate for awhile (unless it's a blowout).
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:59 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Quick question. What time on Tuesday will the results be announced? In the evening?

poll closing times map

I am almost physically ill thinking of a republican senate takeover but trying to fend off despair. I am hoping that the bloviating media is overstating this "rout" as they sometimes do and that dems could hang on to the senate by a sliver. Sam Wang offers some shreds of hope with his talk and historic examples of a last minute bonus delta:
"Candidates could still win if they trailed by a margin of less than 3 percentage points in the week before the election. Here are the details for 2010 and 2012..."

On election night, he says he will be watching Kentucky and New Hampshire to watch for early indications of how much the polls are off:
"As I wrote last week, everyone’s calculations are, to an extent, built on sand. Historically, in any given year midterm polls have been off in the same direction by a median of 2 or 3 percentage points. Depending on the year, either Democrats or Republicans end up outperforming polls. In current poll medians, six races are within less than 2 percentage points: Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, and North Carolina. Therefore all six of these races could be won by Republicans…or all six could be won by Democrats."

Another area that offers some very real hope is the potential for some notoriously bad R Govs to take a fall.
Here is Wang's analysis on that from earlier this week for those who want to follow along.

Incumbents headed for probable defeat (>3 percentage point margin): Brownback (R-KS), Corbett (R-PA).

Incumbents under threat (<3 percentage points): Parnell (R-AK), Deal (R-GA), Snyder (R-MI), Walker (R-WI), LePage (R-ME), Scott (R-FL), Quinn (D-IL), Malloy (D-CT), Hickenlooper (D-CO).

Open governorships, clear lead (>3 percentage points): Raimondo (D-RI), Baker (R-MA), Hutchinson (R-AR).

Some of these Governors have done incredible damage, not the least of which is propagating restrictive voting laws. My plea to all the deities: please, please, please give us a Walker defeat. Oh, and Scott and LePage, too, please.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:17 PM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Obama should probably ditch the veto pen and invest in a veto stamp.

It actually is a stamp, and a signature, if my encyclopedic memory of The West Wing serves.
posted by axiom at 10:36 PM on November 2, 2014


I'm pretty well resigned to a GOP senate takeover. With that in mind, here are my predictions:

The House will indeed vote to impeach Obama. There's not a chance in hell the Senate will convict, but what people need to remember is that the current crop of GOPers cannot resist going full crazy now and then. The Republicans have been pushing to marginalize the teabaggers, and that has worked to a point, but they will still be screaming for their red meat and they'll get some of that.

Obamacare repeal - that's a bill that will be sent to the president very quickly, and vetoed, and then that's the last you'll hear about that. The GOP doesn't want to run on the ACA in 2016 because it's a dead end. It's the law, and it will be well into its third year of full implementation. Too many people will have improved health care access and costs have been slowing. They'll get their repeal vote, it'll get vetoed, there will be a hue and cry for a week or so, and it'll quietly disappear.

Filibuster - it's toast. This has been my beef with Reid not getting rid of the filibuster, because the second the GOP gets control of the Senate they're going to get rid of it.

BENGHAZI!!!! - We won't hear as much about this as people think. Sure, the republicans want to damage Hillary as much as possible, but outside of the right wing this has gotten no traction. They were trying to make this Obama's "Carter failed to save the hostages" moment late in the 2012 campaign, and that failed, so they've been trying to hang this around Clinton. No dice there. They're not going to want to be seen as beating this drum because the longer they fixate on it the more sane Hillary will look.

Equal marriage - this will be a non-issue. The anti-gay marriage amendments that were used to drive evangelicals to the polls in the last decade turned out to be a massive boomerang that they didn't know was going to come back around to hit them. This is a losing issue for them to fight.

In general - you're going to see the national party start to flex its muscle to really push the tea party out of the way. They know 2016 is a looming disaster for them in the Senate and presidency. As long as Ted Cruz has a major influence on the party the republican brand will suffer. Demographic shifts are also lurking and may manifest in some races as early as two years from now. They'll send a lot of legislation to the veto bin, but they have to be careful because they're going to be putting their 2016 agenda on display. Their problem is going to be the House. I think Boehner is toast as Speaker. Impeachment will suck a lot of the air out of the room and the craziness of the House is going to command more airtime than the party is going to like. The success the GOP has in reining in the crazies will be a pretty good barometer of how they minimize damage in 2016.
posted by azpenguin at 10:58 PM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Wild swings from major election to major election don't inspire confidence in me that our nation is politically healthy. On the contrary. Didn't the Dems just sweep everything in '08? A few short years before that, weren't some (idiots) predicting a permanent Republican majority?
posted by readyfreddy at 11:48 PM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wild swings from major election to major election don't inspire confidence in me that our nation is politically healthy.

Historically, this isn't particularly abnormal. Even during periods where one party tended to monopolize the White House (Republicans during the late 19th/early 20th century, Democrats from FDR up through Carter) Congress tends to change up a fair amount. People are rarely content with incumbent achievements, and they're willing to give the other team a shot unless there's some spectacularly important thing going on (usually a war) and a case is made strongly enough against "changing horses."

I was born in 1984, so I suppose I don't have a personal, experiential connection to that golden past of bipartisanship and mutual respect, but I don't really feel that much has changed since the first election I was old enough to be aware of (1992, during the mock version of which I voted for Ross Perot, because his last name sounded like "parrot" and I thought having a parrot for a president would be awesome) and today, in terms of the regular pendulum swings, the endless nail-biting and professions of apocalypse, the fever-pitch antagonism.

I'll be voting for the Democrats this time around. Not as the lesser evil. Because unlike the majority of folks in this thread, I'm pretty impressed with what they've achieved in the past six years, considering the crises they've had to deal with and the resistance they've had to put up with, and I think that with some more time they could do more. If the Republicans get in, some will go to great lengths to make trouble, and a lot more will make noise, because that's less effort and most of the professional pols don't believe the shit they say to their constituents anyway. And if they look to do more they'll face resistance, from a whole raft of groups, as usually happens when some group arrives in Washington intending to take the country by storm.

People need to stop expecting one election to save/doom the country. It doesn't work like that. It was designed not to work like that. Politics is what happens between elections too.

So go vote. Then, if you feel like the vote isn't enough, go do other things. But I don't think that crying yourself to sleep in the expectation of Armageddon is either reasonable or constructive.
posted by AdamCSnider at 12:55 AM on November 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Another reason to vote - where candidates aren't standing unopposed, that is. From yesterday: Last Week Tonight on State Legislatures and ALEC.
posted by Wordshore at 3:22 AM on November 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The governors' races are what I'm really interested in on Tuesday. There are a lot of really horrible Republican governors who have done some real damage and quite a few of them have a real chance of getting booted this week.
posted by octothorpe at 4:14 AM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The trouble with third party or this candidate voting is that the more desirable candidates split the vote sufficiently so that the least desirable candidate ends up with the plurality. This recently happened the Massachusetts primary for governor when two opponenents of Martha Coakely lost even though a majority clearly preferred either of them to her.
posted by haiku warrior at 5:23 AM on November 3, 2014


It's easy for me to know for whom to vote when it comes to the big races and propositions. But I have no basis for deciding which of the three candidates for the board of directors of Division 4 West Basin Municipal Water District would be the best member of the board of directors of Division 4 West Basin Municipal Water District. The candidate statements are all the same generic pablum. Two of them have the same sort of endorsements listed. Hell, I don't even really know what the board of directors for Divison 4 West Basin Municipal Water District does.

This crap should be an appointed position. Of course then it may well turn into a sinecure but, hey, I fail to see how that's worse than the status quo where it's probably up to either whomever has their name listed first on the ballot or which candidate has the support of the local machine.
posted by Justinian at 5:30 AM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Re: what time the results will be announced -- with no candidate likely to exceed 50% of the vote, two Senate races, Georgia and Louisiana, are likely to proceed to a runoff a month later. And 1-2 seats are likely to be enough to determine which party holds the Senate. (Moreso if the independent candidate wins in Kansas and waits to announce which party he will caucus with.)

So the time on Tuesday night when results will be announced is "December."


December...ah, that would be nice. Unfortunately, the race is so close in CT that even Nate Silver won't offer a prediction beyond "flip a coin" and where my vote literally might make a difference. Throw in the leading third party candidate throwing in the towel yesterday and this has the makings of Florida style clusterfuck with both parties looking for every single vote that they can find. Then there of course will be the "missing ballots", the inevitable re-counts, arguments over marked ballots, invalid ballots, claims of voter fraud, and court decisions, and....

...I want out now. I'm already sick of this election between a very unpopular governor and a challenger whose entire campaign is based on the premise that said governor is a giant poopyhead. These are literally two of the least charismatic people that I've ever met and I just want this to be over now so I only have to listen to one of their droning voices for the next four years.
posted by dances with hamsters at 5:31 AM on November 3, 2014


Some of these Governors have done incredible damage, not the least of which is propagating restrictive voting laws. My plea to all the deities: please, please, please give us a Walker defeat.

From your lips to the deitys' ears... Sadly, while I may not be a deity, but I do have boots on the ground here in Wisconsin, and I have to admit that it isn't looking good. Our candidate is fairly awkward in speeches and debates and the Republicans are very, very enthusiastic about giving Walker a victory he can hang his hat on before he announces his intentions for the presidency in 2016. Wisconsin is a top GOP priority these days, and their operatives have been blanketing the media accordingly. Our voter ID law was on pause for years, reinstated just a few weeks before the election, then re-paused shortly thereafter, but not before Republicans had a field day sending out mailers and putting up posters to tell people that they need to provide photo ID in order to vote. Their national apparatus has spent tens of millions of dollars to mudsling and foment confusion in this race and are now duly poised to reap the benefits.

I've lived here all my life, I've canvassed and phone-banked in every election since I turned 18, and this is the least hopeful I've ever felt the day before polls open. Our most reliable voting blocs are deeply unenthused, the Republican plan to create uncertainty and confusion around what had previously been a simple settled state of 'no photo ID required' has been very effective, and our candidate has offered little to be enthused about -- she's a businesswoman, plain and simple; she doesn't have any red meat to run on, nothing except for the fact that she isn't Scott Walker. Canvassing for Burke feels a lot like canvassing for Kerry in 2004, minus Kerry's record and gravitas. So we'll probably have a fully GOP state legislature and a GOP governor for another term, and you can already tell they're intent on making it a real doozy. Expect a personhood amendment to be introduced before the trees start to bud in spring. They want to take us back to the stone ages. I need to get the fuck out of here.

With that said, we're all going out drinking on Thursday, so if you're are in the area and feel like drowning your post-election sorrows at a dive bar with some kindly MeFites, please swing by!

And everyone, everyone, please: Vote. Just vote. I know it feels like it doesn't make any difference, but it can and does sometimes, and we can't just lie down and let the bastards win.
posted by divined by radio at 7:11 AM on November 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


I just have to say, the craziness I see on Facebook and on every website that allows comments (present company excluded) leads me to believe the world is going to turn upside down after this election. The American people have really come unmoored from reality, government workers at every level are despised and constantly accused of corruption, conspiracies and worse. For many years now, TV and radio personalities have been willing to say anything to increase ratings, and we've all learned to ignore or tolerate it or at least admit that challenging it has become some syssiphean (?) task. By now it's all been internalized by the people and their politicians. The end of the democracy really started when we all stopped watching a common set of (relatively) unbiased news broadcasts together.
posted by newdaddy at 8:27 AM on November 3, 2014


government workers at every level are despised and constantly accused of corruption, conspiracies and worse

Well, a lot of that is true.

The end of the democracy really started when we all stopped watching a common set of (relatively) unbiased news broadcasts together

Ah, yes, the mythical golden age of tolerance and political unity...

My point being, this sounds like just another day in capitalist America. I don't think this election heralds the apocalypse (as much as Democrats might stoke this fear -- as they do every cycle -- to bring out the vote). Sure, mainstream politicians and news suck, but that's the historical norm.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:38 AM on November 3, 2014


I can't even keep up with all of the falsehoods in this thread in service of the "Democrats are just as bad / worse" message. It's as if people truly believe the approximately five minutes Democrats had of filibuster-proof majority (if you count Joe Lieberman as a Democrat) could have been used to pass a multi-trillion dollar jobs program, single-payer healthcare, and turn Gitmo into a theme park.

The good news is that nobody seems to even be trying to provide a counterfactual where voting for Republicans would have led to better outcomes on any single policy or issue, so it seems that the message that people ought to cast protest votes is coming out of the usual places and not out of any mistaken notion that the GOP could have been better or will be better. So that's progress, I guess?

Anyway, the election probably won't matter much for national policy-making, but as John Oliver pointed out last night, the real action is in the state houses, so I really hope the anger at the national Democrats doesn't spill over into apathy toward the very real consequences of letting a bunch of unelected ideologues from ALEC write laws while our federal legislative branch is out to lunch.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:39 AM on November 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


@octothorp, I think the only realistic approach to fixing politics in America is for liberals to learn from the Republicans. They've been staggeringly effective outside one or two relatively unimportant (to them) areas.

Other than the glaring counterexample of gay rights, virtually all of the Republican agenda has been incrementally implemented regardless of the party theoretically in power. They truly understand incrementalism and the importance of making sure that any attempt to push back the small, incremental, gains they make is met with overwhelming force. Note how the tax rate keeps going steadily down (for the upper classes and corporations anyway) no matter what as an example. At this point simply resetting the tax rates to where they were **AFTER** Reagan slashed them would be a monumental achievement for the nation.

After every temporary setback the R's suffer we get endless crowing from liberals about the end of the Republican party, we're told that the R's are on their way out due to demographic shifts and they'll be dead any minute now. And it never actually works out that way. I've heard that the Republican party is dying for most of my life, and they keep right on steamrolling us. I choose that word deliberately, they move slowly but inexorably.

We on the left have to learn the lessons of Republican success.

The first thing to note is that for the Republicans there is, quite literally, no such thing as too conservative. Rush Limbaugh called for the execution of all liberals back in the 1990's and he was never repudiated, never criticized, never pushed away, by any of the Republican power structures.

Michael Moore, however flawed he may be is nothing even remotely resembling as radical a leftist or liar as Limbaugh and his ilk are radical rightists and liars, but he is anathema among the Democratic power structures.

The Democrats have been so bullied, so cowed, that they have accepted the idea that there is no such thing as too conservative, but being too liberal is extremely easy. Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, etc none of them are ever taken to task by the Democratic power structure for being too conservative. But Alan Grayson is hated by the Democratic power structure for being too liberal.

The public image of the Tea Party, for all that it's basically just the standard Republican right wing that has always existed (we called them the Moral Majority back in the 1980's if you may recall), can provide a useful model for how actual liberalism can win.

The key is to be willing to lose elections in the name of ideological purity, and to hammer the worst offenders against the ideology in the primaries even if that means a loss in the general election. You can't do this blindly of course, losing elections is a necessary price to pay sometimes but you've got to do it strategically.

But we need to organize and find the worst of the DINO's, the worst of the Blue Dogs, and decide which to primary the hell out of office. Any in solidly liberal areas should be at the top of the list, followed by the very worst of the worst regardless of the liberalism of their area. Kick a few out of office and they'll start respecting and fearing the liberal wing of the party and giving concessions.

It is absolutely correct that when the Democratic base stays home on election day the lesson the Democratic leadership takes from it is that they should double down on being more conservative. But if the liberal wing of the party takes down a few of the most conservative Democrats the lesson is different.

Plus we need a Real Democrat movement, or whatever, to aggressively recruit and push liberal Democrats in state and local elections. Focusing entirely on the Federal government is a serious mistake, as evidenced by the way the Republicans used their state victories to cheat and gerrymander to gain national dominance despite getting fewer national votes.

We also need a Left Wing Noise machine that is utterly, solidly, no exceptions, there to back up liberals and to consistently and remorselessly attack conservatives with a special emphasis on conservative Democrats. Not just attacking individual conservatives, but attacking the very concept of conservatism. Doing our utmost to make conservatism a filthy word associated only with the very worst in humanity is key. Since conservatism **IS** a philosophy centered around a rigidly enforced social and economic hierarchy it shouldn't be too hard to make it look bad.

We can win.

We can't win by either staying home on election day or voting for third parties. Third parties are for chumps, they'll never have a chance. If we want liberalism to survive we have to inject it into one of the two major parties, and the Democrats are the only sensible choice for that.

The problem is that starting and maintaining such a liberal force is proving to be crazy hard. MoveOn has been working for over a decade on doing it, as has BlueAmerica and they're just barely getting any headway.
posted by sotonohito at 8:45 AM on November 3, 2014 [12 favorites]


Iowa is apparently now tied, and the castrator doesn't have it in the bag yet. So, yeah, voting is important. And the Senate may still be up for grabs.
posted by Wordshore at 9:00 AM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


government workers at every level are despised and constantly accused of corruption, conspiracies and worse

Well, a lot of that is true.
Noisy Pink Bubbles, I'm going to have to ask you to support that claim with some empirical evidence. I've worked in state and local government my whole life, and I've definitely seen my share of incompetent government workers. It's a real problem that supervisors routinely find it easier to shuffle underperformers into a corner where they "can't hurt anything" than it is to fire them. But I've never seen anything that I think could be fairly described as corruption. That's a pretty bold claim. I'm sure there are corrupt public employees, but I wonder if they're as common as you believe they are.
posted by wintermind at 9:04 AM on November 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


government workers at every level are despised and constantly accused of corruption, conspiracies and worse

Well, a lot of that is true.


My experience with being a federal worker for fifteen years is that the great majority of them are earnest pluggers, or at least were then. Within eighteen months of leaving federal service, my salary doubled. I never saw any kind of evil conspiracies or horrendous corruption. I saw one guy try to req a Xerox machine and sell it online (or something very similar.). That guy was caught and fired the next day. Occasionally I found that I had come home with a Bic pen or mechanical pencil from the office in my pocket, and when I once mentioned this over lunch, my co-workers were genuinely horrified.

Yet everywhere I look I find fellow citizens who are sure, sure that the bureaucrats are robbing and cheating everyone blind. It's very disheartening. I don't think people in the public sector get anything near the recognition they deserve. I think if you wanted to kill off government service, a great first step would be to vilify the entire setup.
posted by newdaddy at 9:33 AM on November 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


And I want to add that, more than anything else, this is what this election is about - the belief that our form of government can only be inefficient and corrupt. No one on the right is offering any at ideas at all about how to make government better. The reason is because their goal is to eliminate it. They don't believe it has value or can be made better. The public sector is being made the scapegoat for everything that's wrong in America.
posted by newdaddy at 9:39 AM on November 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


soundguy99: The publishers of the P.D. have been plutocrats of the first order for as long as I can remember. Back in '04 the then-publisher overruled the editorial board and tried to force the paper to endore Bush. (The conflict ended in a stalemate and no official endorsement.)

Jay Rosen: "There is something going on at the news organization formerly known as the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the world should know about."
posted by tonycpsu at 9:42 AM on November 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Jay Rosen: "There is something going on at the news organization formerly known as the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the world should know about."

Yeesh. And I thought the Denver Posts's fact-free endorsement of Gardner was bad.
posted by audi alteram partem at 10:03 AM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm curious. Do people think many moderate, fairly intelligent republicans refuse to vote because they dislike their party's actions, while admitting the Democratic Party would implement worse policies for their ideology?
posted by halifix at 10:32 AM on November 3, 2014


For the amusement of those of you who don't live in Massachusetts and may not have heard, I point you to the fascinating/pathetic gubernatorial events of late.

Republican candidate Charlie Baker broke into sobs during a recent debate. Set aside how any woman candidate who did this would be treated and concentrate on the story. Baker was relating the tale to show how human he is. What caused his waterworks? A New Bedford fisherman and his sons who are having their lives ruined by federal regulations, the horrors!

Charlie Baker Goes Fishing
"The story Charlie could not tell without crying (because he is so empathic) is a tricky one to follow. A big (and he has to be really big to be bigger than the 6’6″ Charlie) fisherman comes off a boat. Charlie talks to him. And the man points to his two boys (who must be men) and explains that they both had scholarships to college because of their success in football at New Bedford High and that he would not let them go — he told them “you’re going to be fishermen.” And so, he told Charlie, “I ruined their lives.” Charlie then hugs (that’s right hugs) him. Charlie struggled through the telling — and cried as he talked.
But think about the story for a second. What about it hits Charlie hard? The poor parenting? The man’s pain? The plight of fishermen in this economy? It’s not clear. The father didn’t stop the boys from going to college because of over-regulation or because of some easily-identifiable parenting mandate — instead, he seems to have exercised inappropriate control over their lives in a devastating way. It’s more a Eugene O’Neill play than a statement about the fishing industry and it is sad as theatrical tragedy is sad — not sad in the sense that the protagonist (fisherman) is easily relatable. "


But it gets better. Local media have searched far and wide to find this New Bedford fisherman and his two football-scholarship winning sons and they have been unable to find them. They did find out that Charlie has been telling this fish tale for at least five years.

Lost At Sea - Charles P. Pierce
"Ordinarily, this is the kind of trivial regular-dude resume fluffing that I wouldn't notice, even though it's perfect talk-radio fodder and is illustrative of how Baker has run a campaign of personality this time around to convince people that he has one, and that he's not the, well, cold fish he was when Deval Patrick beat him the last time. Fair enough. But he actually told this story. It's right there on tape. And I remember how people simply made stuff up about how Al Gore was making stuff up, and it crippled his campaign in 2000. So I hope someone finds Charlie Baker's fisherman, or we might have to throw Charlie back because he's underweight and too small to keep."
posted by madamjujujive at 10:40 AM on November 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


They should look for a fisherman who killed an albatross with an arrow.

And them go out and befriend an albatross or two.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:00 AM on November 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


From Howard Friedman's church-state legal blog Religion Clause
Tomorrow is election day. Here are some of the ballot issues in various states that may be of interest to Religion Clause readers:

Alabama- Statewide Amendment 1: Alabama Foreign Laws In Court.
Colorado- Amendment 67: Definition of Personhood.
Illinois- Advisory Question: Birth Control in Prescription Drug Coverage.
North Dakota- Measure 1: Life Begins At Conception Amendment.
Tennessee- Amendment 1: Legislative Powers Regarding Abortion.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:03 AM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm curious. Do people think many moderate, fairly intelligent republicans refuse to vote because they dislike their party's actions, while admitting the Democratic Party would implement worse policies for their ideology?
In my experience, moderate, fairly intelligent Republicans increasingly vote for Democrats.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:57 AM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why so many people think a Republican victory tomorrow means Obama gets impeached. The GOP has held the House and the ability to impeach Obama for four years now; if they were going to do it; they would have. Why some of you think a change in Senate Majority Leader affects that, as if the Senate has had any sway or control over the Tea Party House these last few years, baffles me.

Same thing with the filibuster: they're not going to nuke it, and even a cursory Googling would show that McConnell has actually alluded to restoring it- partially because (comparatively) more level-headed Republicans are aware that with only a 1-2 seat majority in 2014, they are almost guaranteed to lose the Senate again in 2016, and partially because, if you haven't noticed, the entire GOP strategy since 2008 has not been to try actually try passing and major legislation, it's been to block everything, blow up the country and blame Democrats for it. Guess how they get to keep doing that- allowing Democrats to filibuster terrible laws with good-sounding names week in and week out.

The real change with a GOP Senate is, sadly, going to be that somehow, the lack of anything getting done of the last few years is just going to be worse. They will stop all major nominations from going through, which for many Federal agencies can mean the stop functioning altogether. (most likely targets: the FCC and the NLRB) Forget about any funding increases, as things are chipped away from crisis to crisis.

And mostly, it'll just be hearings. Senate Benghazi hearings, Senate health care hearings, Senate Ebola hearings, but no mostly just more Benghazi. Because the next two years of a Senate GOP is going to be how much taxpayer money can be wasted trying to make Hillary Clinton look bad.

So please, stop with the idea of them impeaching Barack Obama. They have no interest in impeaching Barack Obama. They're interested in impeaching Hillary Clinton, before she's even elected.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:09 PM on November 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Balance of Power, Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station, 03 November 2014
Republicans are poised to take the Senate tomorrow.

And Democrats are terrified.

I’ve got hundreds of messages here, woe woe woe, what are we gonna do, Jim? It’s the end of the world!

Folks, first of all, nothing’s won until the votes are counted.

And second, political polls don’t measure reality. That’s not their purpose. Polls, especially the ones pushed relentlessly by agenda driven organizations aren’t designed to reflect reality, instead they exist to shape reality by doing exactly what they are doing – i.e. creating a self-fulfilling prophecy through manipulation of your perception.

The bottom line here is this: if you think you’re defeated, if those polls make you think you’re defeated, you are.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:45 PM on November 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Noisy Pink Bubbles, I'm going to have to ask you to support that claim with some empirical evidence.

I just meant to point out that corruption and conspiracies are present at all levels of government. I don't doubt that most government employees faithfully carry out their duties. Granted, I would agree with you that the problems are not as widespread as the right-wing noise machine makes it out to be, but nevertheless, it's there. I certainly didn't mean to cast aspersions on what surely are the majority of government workers who aren't engaging in foul play, which is I think how you took my comment. I was more thinking of high-level conspiracies and corruption... Iran-Contra, Halliburton, Enron... that kind of thing.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:23 PM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Enron - not by any stretch an example of government corruption. The state of California was taken advantage of by a private company making and manipulating a market for power. The SEC investigated them and their auditor, Arthur Andersen. The Sarbanes-Oxley act was written in response to the scandal, to add further penalties for destroying evidence during investigations and for attempting to defraud shareholders. If anything, it's a demonstration that underregulated markets are liable to defraud taxpayers.
posted by newdaddy at 1:38 PM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


And second, political polls don’t measure reality.

Yep. Who's actually gotten a legit polling call this election cycle? I'm in a heavily-contested state, and the only one I got was a push poll designed to get me to vote for the Republican douchebag. I cheerfully stayed on the line and participated for the whole thing, because thirteen minutes spent on me is thirteen minutes they weren't spending on somebody they had a chance of influencing.

I've been a registered voter everywhere I've lived as an adult, and I'm not that hard to find. Somehow the legit news polls never seem to find me, and it makes me trust them a lot less than I might if I knew more people who'd been sampled, like, ever.

And the hell with this "lesser of two evils" stuff for this election for me. My state representative is awesome and I'm pleased to cast my vote for him to get a second term. Every district's different, and there may be nobody that makes us feel really happy about voting, but maybe there's a great candidate for the smaller offices who's worth your enthusiasm. Don't discount them, since that's what leads to the dearth of good candidates down the road.
posted by asperity at 1:42 PM on November 3, 2014


The only bright spot I'm keeping my eye on for tomorrow is the Kansas governor's race. If Kansas can vote out Sam Brownback, there's hope for the rest of us.

(Kansas tax collections fall $23M short in October; "Brownback has referred to his tax policy as a “real live experiment” of the theory that cutting taxes will stimulate economic growth, saying the cuts would be like “a shot of adrenaline” in the heart of the Kansas economy.")

(Also: Righteous rage, impotent fury: Thomas Frank returns to Kansas to hunt the last days of Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts)

Granted, things will go from bad to worse to much, much, worse in the meantime, but there's a tiny sliver of hope. That's what I'm down to now.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:48 PM on November 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


asperity, it takes a sample of less than 1,500 to accurately measure the outcome in most states, or for that matter nationwide. The fact that no one has ever called you is utterly irrelevant to the validity of polling. Moreover, finding you isn't the goal. The goal in any legitimate poll is to get as close to a perfectly random sample as possible.

If you haven't taken a statistics class this seems counterintuitive at best, or even like outright bullshit. But it is true and it does work. Here's a decent little summary though if you're confused: http://www.janda.org/c10/Lectures/topic05/GallupFAQ.htm
posted by sotonohito at 2:54 PM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Until I got rid of my landline, I seemed to get polled weekly. I think I was just the last person in Iowa who was still answering her phone. I got some obvious push polls, and I got some stuff that I'm pretty sure was internal polling by the parties, but I got called by news polls a couple of times. . But Iowa is a fascinating mix of small and important, so I guess we get polled a lot.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:04 PM on November 3, 2014


The GOP has held the House and the ability to impeach Obama for four years now; if they were going to do it; they would have.

The House can vote to impeach, but only the Senate can actually do anything about it - up to and including removal from office. Absent control of the Senate, an impeachment might as well take away Obama's Birthday.

With control of the Senate, the GOP is (more or less) free to install Boehner as the Head Gopper in Charge. They only need 66 votes - depending on how large the victory for them tomorrow is, they could well only need 4-5 defectors from the Democrats.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:04 PM on November 3, 2014


they could well only need 4-5 defectors from the Democrats.

And who would these 4-5 defectors be, who would know they will go down in history as abetting what amounts to a coup? Joe Lieberman might have been a possibility but he's not there any more.
posted by localroger at 3:09 PM on November 3, 2014


Uh. You mean 14-15. They're trying to get 50 seats tomorrow, not 60.

And they'd get 0 defectors.
posted by Justinian at 3:10 PM on November 3, 2014


I could see Manchin voting for conviction, but more to the point, they don't really need to convict. A simple majority will send enough of a message. Plus, the general public will pay way more attention to impeachment hearings over Benghazi than the regular hearings the House has been doing.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:34 PM on November 3, 2014


Odds are good that Republicans will have 57 seats in the Senate.

Not to mention - they only need 2/3 of the senators in attendance. As we've seen in WI (and Texas!), Republicans are not above playing fast and loose with session rules and vote counting.

I'm not trying to be all chicken little here. It's just that I've seen close up what Republicans are willing to do to win, and every time I've thought a given tactic was beyond them, they've done it and won it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:35 PM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


New York Times: Angry Voters and Piles of Money Put Control of Senate in Play.

CNN: Should Americans be forced to vote?

The State (South Carolina): Fewer voters for midterms, but Election Day snags possible.
posted by Wordshore at 3:39 PM on November 3, 2014


A simple majority will send enough of a message.

Yes, that message will be "we failed again, just like the 50 times we voted to repeal the ACA."
posted by localroger at 3:49 PM on November 3, 2014


If you haven't taken a statistics class this seems counterintuitive at best, or even like outright bullshit. But it is true and it does work.

I do get how sampling works generally -- but I'm not sure the polling organizations have been able to adequately represent the wireless-only population well in spite of their recent efforts in that direction, and given the likely differences between wireless-only and landline households, that's a problem.

... Also, I want to continue to believe this since it gives me hope that I'm not gonna have to start writing letters to Senator Gardner or Governor Beauprez come January. That part's probably more important to me than actual statistics at the moment.
posted by asperity at 3:52 PM on November 3, 2014




Odds are good that Republicans will have 57 seats in the Senate.
May I ask why you think this? Five Thirty-Eight puts the odds of this at about one in a thousand. The NYT puts it as "less than 1%", not going more fine-grained than that.
Not to mention - they only need 2/3 of the senators in attendance. As we've seen in WI (and Texas!), Republicans are not above playing fast and loose with session rules and vote counting.
I am loathe to underestimate what lengths Republicans are willing to go to, but I am having a hard time believing that they'd be willing to convict the President of the United States of America via some method of ensuring that sufficient numbers of Democratic senators are unable to vote. It seems like such an extremely high-profile thing that, while they may very well be that scummy, it is difficult to believe that they'd be that stupid.
posted by Flunkie at 4:44 PM on November 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


> "Odds are good that Republicans will have 57 seats in the Senate."

It's hard to see how that would happen.

There are 34 Democratic seats and 30 Republican seats which are not up for re-election this year.

There are 10 seats which are up for re-election but are pretty much certain to go to the Democratic candidate, and 14 seats which are up for re-election but are pretty much certain to go to the Republican candidate.

So that's 44 Democratic seats, 44 Republican seats, and 12 remaining seats that are to some degree contested. If the Republicans win every single one of them, that brings them to 56 seats.

However, at this point, even though it's not "absolutely certain", Minnesota is not realistically going to go to the Republicans. Even in the worst case scenario, with every single close election going the Republican's way, I can't see how they're getting more than 55. And a couple of those close elections are likely to go to the Democrats.

Somewhere between 52 and 54 seems like the most probable scenario.
posted by kyrademon at 4:50 PM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The impeachment thing is a canard, even if the House were to take up articles (and I think the 50/50 prediction above is high, Boehner never even filed his much ballyhooed lawsuit against Obama for "lawlessness" or whatever, that was the gesture to the Goemert/Cruz/Hannity wing, and he won't bring it up again unless he thinks it's the only way to save his job from a rightwing rebellion) like others have just said, the Senate votes aren't there. They won't want to waste valuable and possibly limited time that could be spent slashing earned benefits entitlement programs holding futile impeachment hearings.

They'll ram through as much destructive legislation as possible all of 2015, some of it will be red meat "FULL REPEAL NOW" type bills that will get vetoed swiftly, but others will be carefully calculated to seen just how far they can nudge Obama into agreeing t small but harmful changes in benefit calculations, federal employee pay and retirement contributions or bargaining rights, renewal of the SSDI trust fund, abortion bills, pot shots at small portions of Obamacare to see what sticks, and all manner of smaller but pernicious changes or cuts to every manner of government, some of which Obama will sign. Probably the most dangerous will be whatever they manage to slide into the next budget agreement, and who knows what damage that'll do and whether Obama can be trusted to stand firm on his own (I said above I don't trust him much at all, all hail the Grand Bargain).

Then in 2016 it'll be all Benghazi (plus whatever new Benghazis they dream up over the next year), all the time, all day, every day with the 2016 media frenzy just lapping it up for a full year. They'll have full control of the Senate to call a press conference announcing a new "investigation" every single day until November '16, by which point the Obama administration will be portrayed by our hapless and complicit media yearning for a return to Republican control as the most scandal ridden administration in history. They've been starved for a real scandal (Beltway scandal, not like, the NSA, so old news by now) for going on 6 years, it might just take one little hit from one investigation to break the dams open.

The next time I hear, "The GOP is dying" or, "Texas will be blue by 202X", I'm going to fucking slap someone. There's a (outside maybe) path here for full GOP control of all 3 branches by 2016, all they have to do is win tomorrow, don't go completely insane for the next two years, ramp up the scandal machine in just the right way and choose a decent nominee who's not Cruz or Rand Paul. If they can keep it together for two more years, the freak flag has a real chance to fly home free in 2016, and then it's time for Kochistan.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:09 PM on November 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The next two years are going to be a horror show. And, sadly, the national media are just going to egg them on.

Yep. I was just watching the CBS Evening News where they were having a panel discussion with a handful of political pundits about the upcoming fate of the Senate. The smug just oozed from the news anchor who chairing the discussion and he signed off with one of biggest shit-eating grins I've seen in a long time.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:35 PM on November 3, 2014


Tthe media's definitely been asleep at the switch during the mid-term campaign season, allowing the GOP to sell their fringey nutbar candidates as folksy, down-to-Earth types. Joni Ernst's views are every bit as crazy as, say, Michele Bachmann's, but because she's more disciplined and never has to face hostile questioning, very few people know the real story. Same goes for Kasich, whose record has been whitewashed as noted above, and Gardner in Colorado, who's gotten away totally lying about his support of a personhood bill.

If the GOP does take control -- and signs point to that being the more likely outcome -- don't expect the Fourth Estate to serve as a check on their ability to gum up the works and relentlessly pursue nothingburger scandals.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:13 PM on November 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hoping Brownback succeeds in being reëlected. Four more years of the most boneheaded misbegotten policies anywhere should be enough to convince people that there are limits to what can be attained by tax cuts.
posted by newdaddy at 6:51 PM on November 3, 2014


I take it you're not a Kansan, newdaddy?
posted by tonycpsu at 6:56 PM on November 3, 2014


Minnesota is not realistically going to go to the Republicans

The poll average for Franken is something like plus-8 to plus-10 in Franken's favor, depending on who you follow. Likelihood of a Republican win in the Senate race here is very close to zero.
posted by gimonca at 8:25 PM on November 3, 2014


If you're registered but not sure where to go vote, yourfuckingpollingplace.com has you covered. [Via Vox which includes less profane options for finding your polling place.]
posted by ob1quixote at 9:38 PM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Washington Post: 7 questions about the midterm elections you were embarrassed to ask.

BBC News: US mid-terms: Battle for the Senate as the US votes.

Guardian: Midterms 2014: what will it take for Republicans to win Congress?
posted by Wordshore at 2:45 AM on November 4, 2014


The House can vote to impeach, but only the Senate can actually do anything about it - up to and including removal from office. Absent control of the Senate, an impeachment might as well take away Obama's Birthday.

You need 67 votes to convict, which would mean 10-11 Democrats joining every Republican assuming even on the best night for Republicans happens today. There is no chance of this.

The odds of a 53-seat GOP Senate successfully implementing an impeachment trial are as high as the odds of a 45-seat one. If I'm coming off as snotty or condescending I apologize because I'm not intending to be, but these comments read like you don't actually realize that the ability for Republicans to convict an impeached president next week is, literally, as statistically impossible as it has been for the last six years.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:10 AM on November 4, 2014


Seriously, what is the scenario in which republican control makes things better for left-wing causes?

Well... let's say the Republicans get a Senate majority and abolish the filibuster. That means that next time the Democrats have more than 50 Senate seats but less than 60 Senate seats they'll actually be able to do something!!

Oh but except that if the Republicans get a Senate majority and abolish the filibuster, the first priority for the Democrats' next subsequent majority will probably be to reinstate the filibuster. Because God forbid they should forgo their favorite excuse for doing nothing.

We saw last time the Republicans had the Senate; they threatened the "nuclear option" to abolish the filibuster and the only reason they didn't was because the D's offered them a "grand bargain" to basically never filibuster anything. And then when the tables were turned and the R's were filibustering everything in sight, the D's never threatened a "nuclear option" of their own. Why? Because they're losers. They hate power, they prefer losing to winning and they like having an excuse to do nothing.

Of course abolishing the filibuster is not quite as useful for the R's so long as Obama still has the veto pen. But when the filibuster is finally abolished, either under Obama or under a Republican president, it will be because of the one side of American politics that actually knows what it wants.
posted by moorooka at 4:15 AM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


OK, time to go visit the adorable deaf little old ladies who run our local polling place and yell my name at them. I have a really common last name and I always have the hardest time getting them to understand it.
posted by octothorpe at 4:42 AM on November 4, 2014


We saw last time the Republicans had the Senate; they threatened the "nuclear option" to abolish the filibuster and the only reason they didn't was because the D's offered them a "grand bargain" to basically never filibuster anything.

The last time this happened, there was also a Republican President.

Republicans are not going to eliminate the filibuster for legislation; they have absolutely no reason to. If Democrats filibuster, Republicans can accuse them (and let's face it, rightly so) of being hypocrites, which makes for great campaign politics. If they block "finance reform" or "immigration reform" or "puppies and ice cream reform" bills, they can call Democrats obstructionists, which makes for great campaign politics. Meanwhile, legislation for the stuff Republicans and their backers care the most about- tax cuts and spending cuts- can be passed with a simple majority already through reconciliation, and then they either get what they want or Obama vetoes it and... again, campaign politics.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:58 AM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Curious how busy (or not) it is, or was, for anyone voting today. Here in Ye Olde Motherlande, we've had two extremes of voting lately. Local elections, and police commissioners, where hardly anyone turns up to vote e.g. 10 to 20%. And then the recent Scottish independence referendum, with a turnout of 84.6%.

Wondering what it's like on the ground for the Midterms over in the US of A (didn't you folks in your three corner pointy hats fight us and do upsetting things to good tea so you could have contests like this?)?
posted by Wordshore at 5:42 AM on November 4, 2014


Well, I did my duty. The only contested race was for PA Governor; no Republicans bothered to run for Congress, State House or State Senate from here so it was a little anti-climactic.
posted by octothorpe at 6:09 AM on November 4, 2014


If I'm coming off as snotty or condescending I apologize because I'm not intending to be, but these comments read like you don't actually realize that the ability for Republicans to convict an impeached president next week is, literally, as statistically impossible as it has been for the last six years.

They wouldn't be able to impeach him next week no matter how many seats they win - the new senators don't get inaugurated until January.

And they don't need 67 votes. They need 2/3s of present Senators.
"...no person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present"
That is the tactic that Republicans used in WI in 2011- hold a surprise session, and vote before the Democrats can even find the room they are in. Hell, they even violated state law to do it - and the ruling conservatives on the WI Supreme Court held that the because the WI legislature can change the law whenever they like, they can't actually be bound by it. Elections have consequences, they say.

So before you deign to condescend to me, you might get your basic facts right and read up recent Republican inversion of normal parliamentary procedure in the state legislatures. While you're arguing what is sane, ethical, and proper, they are doing anything necessary to advance their agenda.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:21 AM on November 4, 2014


They're not going to attempt that and to believe otherwise is to discard reason.
posted by Justinian at 6:30 AM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


> "... do upsetting things to good tea ..."

Oh, come now, it was only bohea tea. If you hadn't been trying to force the colonies to drink that late-season swill by giving an effective monopoly to those blackguards in the East India Company while retaining the three pence Townshend duty, you might have avoided the whole brouhaha.
posted by kyrademon at 6:34 AM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I responded to a catcaller by yelling DON'T FORGET TO VOTE TODAY. Zeitgeisty!

I'm voting in DC where the official voting guide came out with our flag printed upside down, if that gives you any insight into the state of District affairs.
posted by troika at 6:49 AM on November 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Only a few more hours before I go to cast my all important vote for Member, Board of Directors, 4th District West Basin Municipal Water.
posted by Justinian at 6:59 AM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm voting in DC where the official voting guide came out with our flag printed upside down, if that gives you any insight into the state of District affairs.

I just hope the people outside DC take their responsibility of voting for the people who control our local laws with the appropriate solemnity.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:07 AM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Easy in and out as usual at my polling location in Pittsburgh's North Hills. In addition to my choice of white guys named Tom for governor, there were contested races in the US and PA houses. (The state house race was a Republican running unopposed, and there's no US Senate race in PA this year.) The Democratic challenger for the US House seat probably doesn't have much of a shot in this kind of low-turnout election in a district that the GOP has managed to gerrymander into something like an R+9 advantage, but at least I can (hopefully) take comfort in the fact that Fracky McFrackerson will be off to some wingnut think tank sinecure or Fox News consultant gig and not ruining my state.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:09 AM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm voting in DC where the official voting guide came out with our flag printed upside down, if that gives you any insight into the state of District affairs.

Urgh; the three molets (stars) below the two bars (stripes) made me flinch. The Washington family Coat of Arms, upside down. The village where I grew up has ties with George's ancestoral family, and Penelope Washington's tomb is in the church. On it, the family coat of arms is thankfully the right way up. There used to be a regular stream of American historians head down there (some asked for directions and local info in our family farmshop).
posted by Wordshore at 7:22 AM on November 4, 2014


Busy at my polling place 45 minutes after polls opened, but no real line. I dropped off my ballot, and am nervous that the signature I provided isn't signature-y enough, but I didn't get there early enough to recast my vote with a fresh ballot and also catch my bus. My bus driver had already voted, and I expect the early voting ballots in everyone's mailboxes this year will contribute to a lower turnout on election day itself. Though we've got election day registration this year! So WHO KNOWS. Anything could happen!
posted by asperity at 8:19 AM on November 4, 2014


This year we have an early voting amendment on the ballot, so that's nice. The CT state constitution specifies reasons you are allowed to vote early, so it needs to be changed to remove it. I think there is a lesson in there.
posted by smackfu at 8:28 AM on November 4, 2014


Just voted in rural western PA. One thing that annoys me about this state is that they provide essentially no information about what's going to be on the ballot. Florida (!) would mail everyone a sample ballot before each election. Nope. Here you have to rely on third party websites that don't much care about small rural districts in Western PA.

Anyway, there were three chances for me to vote out Republicans. Corbett, and the twin douchebags of Daryl Metcalfe and Mike "environmental laws are terrorism" Kelly. Since I voted for all Democrats, the voting machine probably deleted my vote.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:32 AM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just finished voting here in Bexar County Texas. Won't make any difference, I'm two blocks from a Democratic district, but where I live Lamarr Smith is going to win again because the D's didn't even bother putting a candidate up against him. So I voted Democrat in all races except where there wasn't a candidate then I voted Green. WTF Texas Democrats? You can't win if you don't put up a candidate, there should be at least a token candidate for all races, sheesh.

XQUZYPHYR, you are perfectly correct on the virtual impossibility of the Senate convicting Obama.

But I still think the House will vote to impeach if the R's take the Senate. They aren't driven by logic, they're driven by pure elemental hate and the knowledge that their base will lap it up. There is nothing like saying "I voted to impeach Obama" to boost the R's in highly conservative areas. I expect the impeachment vote to come sometime in mid 2015, probably after the Nth time Obama vetoes the coming weekly repeal of Obamacare. That's close enough to the 2016 elections that the R's can still use it as an appeal to their base while being far enough that the media shitstorm will have quieted down a bit.

I could be wrong, but I don't think so. The Clinton impeachment was long enough ago that a lot of the current R's don't remember the backlash, and anyway they can always rationalize that things are different now. Besides, don't forget that after attempting an impeachment on a popular Democratic president they managed to get the vote close enough to steal, and they don't really have any stand out candidates for 2016.

Hillary Clinton is pretty much guaranteed the nomination, I don't like that [1] but there's no denying that she's got serious name recognition and some major appeal. But who can the Republicans run? Jindal is brown, no possible way he'll get the nomination much less get Republicans to vote for him in the general and he's the best of the lot. Rick Perry maybe, the Republicans have a demonstrated love for nominating utter fucktards from Texas. Ted Cruz possibly, but I don't think he's stupid enough to really appeal to the Republican base. The rest are also rans at best.

Sam Brownback wanted it, but after demolishing Kansas and (I hope) losing today he's got no chance. If he wins (please no) today I still think just how badly Kansas is messed up will keep him from winning even the nomination, and if he does get nominated than Clinton will kick his ass.

Further, the numbers look good for the Democrats retaking the Senate in 2016.

So the R's have, on the one hand utterly lackluster Presidential candidates in need of some serious help to beat Clinton, and on the other hand very good odds of losing the Senate. Why not impeach Obama? Their base will love it, and the effort might help get the base out to vote in an election they're all but foreordained to lose. Of course they can't remove him from office, but that's not the point, the point is political theater and being able to tell the voters back home that they tried their best to get rid of the niggerKenyan in the White House.

[1] She's even more of a right wing corporate tool than Obama is, and I hate the idea of political dynasties with a burning passion. Just wait, they'll be pulling Chelsea out as a candidate for something soon.
posted by sotonohito at 8:44 AM on November 4, 2014


“utter fucktards”

This is not a very nice word – it's a derivative of "retards," a word for neuroatypicals repurposed as a derisive insult – so it's generally not a good idea to use it.
posted by koeselitz at 8:57 AM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


You are correct. Make that racist, redneck, assholes instead. I do my best not to use ableist language, but obviously I fail.
posted by sotonohito at 9:05 AM on November 4, 2014


Try fucknugget. It's a portmanteau of "fucking stink nugget".
posted by Talez at 9:25 AM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Try "Sir, you are a bounder and a cad".
posted by Wordshore at 9:35 AM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Tentacled scumbag fuckwit."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:55 AM on November 4, 2014


Political Master Narratives Don't Just Happen
At Bloomberg View, Jonathan Bernstein expresses agreement with a view of this year's election that's becoming conventional wisdom in the liberal punditocracy. According to Bernstein, Norman Ornstein is right to say that the press settled on the following narrative months ago, and won't report stories that contradict it:
The most common press narrative for elections this year is to contrast them with the 2010 and 2012 campaigns. Back then, the GOP "establishment" lost control of its nominating process, ended up with a group of extreme Senate candidates who said wacky things -- Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Sharron Angle -- and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in races that should have been slam dunks. Now the opposite has happened: The establishment has fought back and won, vanquishing the Tea Party and picking top-flight candidates who are disciplined and mainstream, dramatically unlike Akin and Angle.

[...]

The "neutral" press does have biases - but they are more for sensational stories, for individual-level explanations over institutional ones, for bad news over good....

The bottom line is that while media bias frequently produces liberal or conservative results in newspaper, online and broadcast stories, the biases themselves aren't liberal or conservative.... They have to do with what sells, or with the incentives of individual reporters and editors, or simply with the way that news-gathering and publishing are organized.
But master narratives don't just happen. Republicans crafted this we're-not-crazy-anymore narrative. Republicans sold it to the press -- a press that's decided it doesn't like or respect the president anymore -- while Democrats never really made an effort to counter the narrative or craft an alternate narrative.

[...]

What's going on now isn't just about the media's habits of thinking and working. Republicans never stop selling stories to the press. Democrats stop for years at a time.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:17 AM on November 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Facebook Wants You to Vote on Tuesday. Here's How It Messed With Your Feed in 2012, Micah L. Sifry, Mother Jones, 31 October 2014 [via]
posted by ob1quixote at 10:35 AM on November 4, 2014


I did some number crunching:

1857 was the first election in which Republicans were elected in significant numbers to the Congress (House of Representatives: D-127, R-92) and ever since then, Democrats and Republicans have been the two major parties in America. There have been four presidencies during which we have had a Democratic president and Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress:
Johnson 1865-1869.
Cleveland (second term) 1895-1897.
Wilson 1919-1921.
Clinton 1995-2001.
Two of these (Johnson and Clinton) included impeachment proceedings.

During six presidencies Republicans controlled the White House when the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.
Hayes 1877-1879.
Eisenhower 1955-1961.
Nixon. 1969-1974.
Ford. 1974-1977.
Bush, Sr. 1989-1993.
Bush, Jr. 2007-2009.
One of these (Nixon) included impeachment proceedings.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:53 AM on November 4, 2014


You're missing (at least) Reagan, who had to deal with a Democratic Senate and House in his last two years. (source)
posted by tonycpsu at 11:00 AM on November 4, 2014


One of these (Nixon) included impeachment proceedings.

Nixon was never impeached. He resigned before the articles could come up for a vote in the house. His impeachment and conviction was all but assured though.
posted by Talez at 11:05 AM on November 4, 2014


Oh and for all the folks who are jonesing for third parties to get stronger, the stuff going on with Andrew Cuomo and the Working Families Party in New York is really interesting (and also rather disgusting.)
posted by tonycpsu at 11:26 AM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


(Link fixed. Thanks, Obama edit window!)
posted by tonycpsu at 11:28 AM on November 4, 2014


Thanks for the correction. I did this by hand, but Reagan (1987-1989) did have a Democratically-controlled Congress. There were impeachment proceedings against Nixon (a 410-4 vote!), but not impeachment.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:39 AM on November 4, 2014


Voted this morning in GA with no problems.

Weirdest event of the day, though, I was in the parking lot of the grocery store while picking up my lunch and saw a guy have some trouble with his grocery cart. Specifically, his paper doilies and styrofoam cooler fell off of the bottom. I stopped to help him pick up his stuff, and he introduced himself. He was the Republican candidate for public service commission.

What are the doilies for, Bubba? What are the doilies for?
posted by goHermGO at 11:42 AM on November 4, 2014


Presumably it's for a results party tonight. My parents are going to one, because my dad's heavily involved in local Democratic politics.
posted by Small Dollar at 12:59 PM on November 4, 2014


Ugh, the stuff Cuomo is pulling is disgusting. I can't wait for him to get utterly demolished in the Dem primaries when he inevitably runs for president.
posted by troika at 12:59 PM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Where to stream coverage online

these links are live streams of the channel generally, but require a watchtveverywhere account:
MSNBC: http://now.msnbc.com
CNN: http://www.cnn.com/go/
posted by vibratory manner of working at 4:46 PM on November 4, 2014


guys, i don't know if I can survive two years of that croaky-voiced turtle bastard proclaiming things
posted by angrycat at 5:00 PM on November 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


forget cnn and msnbc. I'm watching LegoSenate.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:37 PM on November 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Scott Brown losing is always a good time.
posted by davros42 at 6:47 PM on November 4, 2014




Thanks for the Charlie Pierce link. What a sad, depressing day... but Scott Brown is the first major party candidate ever to lose senate elections in two different states? Fun.

I still have my hopes up that Sam Brownback might lose in Kansas. Other than that, meh...
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:43 PM on November 4, 2014


Sadly, now we're going to find out how accurate the impeachment predictions have been.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:32 PM on November 4, 2014


Well, at least you guys don't need to worry about filibusters any more.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:27 PM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Really? Wow. Shame that he's reportedly a nuttersupporter of the Tea Party movement.

Tim Scott becomes first black senator elected in south since Reconstruction
South Carolina candidate defeats two challengers to become only the fifth black US senator and the first in the south since the 19th century

posted by Joe in Australia at 9:32 PM on November 4, 2014


guys, i don't know if I can survive two years of that croaky-voiced turtle bastard proclaiming things

Whenever I hear him speak I visualize a mouth full of marbles. Boehner is the same with maybe -2 marbles.
posted by futz at 9:40 PM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm going to just avoid politics for two years if I can. This is the success of the GOP'S stealth "both parties are the same so don't vote (liberals)" campaign.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:01 PM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Four more years of Brownback, four more years of Walker.

Jesus Christ. Not good.
posted by Talez at 10:31 PM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


politics.
posted by koeselitz at 10:54 PM on November 4, 2014


Sad that Amendment 2 failed in Florida. It only got 58% of the vote. On the bright side, it will show exactly what the Republicans think about democracy when they fail to write and pass a bill to implement the will of the majority of the state's voters.
posted by wierdo at 12:08 AM on November 5, 2014


Pretty good article on how the GOP did it and what went wrong with the national Democratic leadership in this election. I'd read it before jumping to blame your favorite usual suspects.
After years of tension between President Obama and his former Senate colleagues, trust between Democrats at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue had eroded. A fight between the White House and Senate Democrats over a relatively small sum of money had mushroomed into a major confrontation.

At a March 4 Oval Office meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and other Senate leaders pleaded with Obama to transfer millions in party funds and to also help raise money for an outside group. “We were never going to get on the same page,” said David Krone, Reid’s chief of staff. “We were beating our heads against the wall.”

The tension represented something more fundamental than money — it was indicative of a wider resentment among Democrats in the Capitol of how the president was approaching the election and how, they felt, he was dragging them down. All year on the trail, Democratic incumbents would be pounded for administration blunders beyond their control — the disastrous rollout of the health-care law, problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, undocumented children flooding across the border, Islamic State terrorism and fears about Ebola.

As these issues festered, many Senate Democrats would put the onus squarely on the president — and they were keeping their distance from him.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:18 AM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Surge of young voters in Florida points to the political power of pot

9 takeaways from the 2014 election: The night had few bright spots for Democrats — but there were some for liberals. The personhood ballot initiatives lost in Colorado and North Dakota. Marijuana was legalized in D.C. and Oregon (and we're still waiting on Alaska). The minimum wage was raised in Arkansas, Illinois and Nebraska. Washington state expanded background checks on guns. "So voters want a higher minimum wage, legal pot, abortion access and GOP representation," tweeted FiveThirtyEight's Ben Casselman. "Ok then."
posted by Drinky Die at 1:41 AM on November 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Now we'll see how much of the support or opposition for reforming the filibuster was naked political ambition and how much was real. I'm for eliminating the filibuster tomorrow if they can get it done. I don't expect Republicans to push for it until or unless they get the Presidency as well, and I expect Democrats will suddenly find religion as defenders of the legitimacy of the filibuster.
posted by Justinian at 6:05 AM on November 5, 2014


Arizona saw Republicans sweep even moreso than usual. In my state legislative district a Republican won a House seat and this is as safe a Dem district as you can get.

Statewide turnout was 36%. This is directly related to the results.
posted by azpenguin at 6:06 AM on November 5, 2014


The DC marijuana law will be overturned amid gleeful cries from the Republican Congress. They'll never stand for letting the liberal, black, population of DC have legal pot.
posted by sotonohito at 6:34 AM on November 5, 2014


This map of the DC marijuana vote by precinct is interesting to play with. Sadly, I suspect you're right that a policy that was only defeated in a single precinct in the city will be overturned by Congress.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:40 AM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Politico: Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday indicated that he will not stand in the way of marijuana legalization in Washington, D.C., if voters approve a ballot measure on Election Day.

The Kentucky Republican, who is the ranking member on a key subcommittee that deals with D.C. oversight, said outside a polling location in Bowling Green, Ky., that the district should have “discretion” on legalization.

posted by Drinky Die at 7:25 AM on November 5, 2014


Wait, Rand Paul is going to be in charge of the subcommittee that in charge of D.C. oversight? Well, that's just awesome.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:30 AM on November 5, 2014


Everyone Calm Down: The GOP Won't Kill The Torture Report If It Takes The Senate

The report is Feinstein's landmark legislative feat as Intelligence Committee chair. The California Democrat has generally been perceived as friendly to the intelligence community, and this is arguably the only one of her achievements that illustrates any kind of heavy-handed oversight. So she isn't likely to just let Republicans take over the reins. Rather, Feinstein will probably push to release the executive summary before she loses her chairmanship in January.

Did Obama's immigration punt backfire?

"He demobilized Latino activists across the country," said Gary Segura, partner of the firm Latino Decisions, which polls Latinos extensively and monitors election turnout. Segura sees depressed Latino turnout figuring prominently in these Senate races and the nail-biter governor's race in Florida pitting Republican-turned Democrat Charlie Crist against GOP Gov. Rick Scott.

"If Nunn pulls an upset and Hagan and Udall win, Obama looks like a freaking genius but if Crist or Udall lose, and Hagan loses, and Nunn loses, then he looks like he delayed for nothing, and the delay may have cost Democrats enthusiastic support of Latino voters," Segura said.


Election Leaves Immigration Advocates Frustrated With Obama

That move was meant to protect vulnerable red-state Democrats like Hagan, but most of them either lost anyway or are poised to lose. In Colorado, executive action could have boosted enthusiasm from Latino voters to the benefit of Udall. Instead, he lost to Republican Cory Gardner, whose immigration stances are far more conservative. The only tangible effect of the delay may have been the deportation of thousands of people who could have been helped by executive action.

Sorry, couldn't find another site to link to for this:

ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl reported that according to WH officials “the president will move forward with an executive order on immigration reform “no matter how big a shellacking Democrats get tonight” during ABC’s Election coverage on Tuesday.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:13 AM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


(Cross-posting from the other election thread)

FiveThirtyEight:
While most people are paying attention to the Senate races tonight, Republicans also had an amazing night in gubernatorial elections.

The GOP won all the close races in which its candidates were favored, such as Michigan and Wisconsin. Republicans won the vast majority of close races in which they were slight underdogs, such as Florida, Illinois and Maine. They won in Kansas, where we gave the GOP incumbent, Sam Brownback, only a 20 percent chance.

And Republicans have even taken Maryland, where they had only a 6 percent chance of winning according to our last pre-election forecast. The Republican candidates are also leading in Colorado and Connecticut — three races where polls favored the Democratic candidates.

To put it mildly, this is a wave.

Also, for those saying the 2014 results don't really matter, this election has put a significant damper on the chances of the 2016 election riding to the rescue. According to Sean Trende at RealClearPolitics, the GOP Senate majority of 54 seats we're likely to see will mean Democrats have only a 59% chance of retaking the chamber while winning the White House -- and a 43% chance if they fail. The odds of winning back a filibuster-proof majority are basically nil.

And if you can stomach contemplating this far in the future, the 2018 race -- the first midterm for the next president, featuring seats contested in 2012 -- looks to be another bloodbath for Senate Democrats. Virtually all of the tossup and leaning seats are in Democratic hands, and a lot of Dems that squeaked by in 2012 thanks to Obama's coattails, crappy GOP candidates, "legitimate rape," etc. will be in a very vulnerable position.

Add to that the continued Republican lock on the House until at least the next Census in 2020, and their utter domination of state politics, and we have basically all hopes riding on Hillary Clinton doing quite strongly in 2016.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:20 AM on November 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Didn't even see the newer thread. That's annoying.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:29 AM on November 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I missed the other thread too. I wondered why it was so quiet in here yesterday.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:23 PM on November 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Meet Ben Carson: First Republican to Throw His Hat in 2016 Ring

And the 2016 clown car has it's first passenger.
posted by octothorpe at 4:44 PM on November 6, 2014


Ben Carson on Wikipedia. In the UK betting markets, which may not have caught up fully yet, he's currently between 33/1 and 100/1 to be the GOP candidate.
posted by Wordshore at 2:37 AM on November 7, 2014


Salon have more. They position Ben to the right of ... just about everyone. Asked a politics-addicted colleague in Iowa, and his summary: "Makes Santorum appear mainstream in comparison."
posted by Wordshore at 3:22 AM on November 7, 2014


"Yes, Obama duped young people by not doing every single thing they want. So now, they'll all vote Republican. It's like when I want some bread, I won't settle for half a load. Instead, I will have a muffin made of broken glass." - Stephen Colbert
posted by Wordshore at 3:53 PM on November 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Actually young people just didn't vote.
posted by smackfu at 11:53 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm a Tammany Hall Democrat. I've voted in every election since I was 10, sometimes multiple times, and will continue to vote long after I'm dead.
posted by maxsparber at 12:47 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


@Wordshore, well much as I like Colbert I think he like so many others badly misstates things.

To us cynical older types Obama's center right credentials and words were taken seriously. Though I must admit he did worse than even cynical old me thought he would.

But a lot of the kids voting for him the first time around were truly convinced by his PR. They thought they were voting for a real liberal, someone who would reign in the beast and actually fix (or try to fix) the big systemic problems they and the nation have.

And what they got was more of the typical "not quite as bad as the Republicans" Blue Dog Democrat centrism and blatant servitude to Wall Street. That's an illusion shattering event. Don't underestimate just how much the 2008 first time Obama voter bought into the PR and genuinely believed Obama was really on their side.

Then he bailed out the banks and left the homeowners stuck with the bill. He "saved" the economy in the sense that stock prices went right back up (the stock market is doing better than ever!) but it was an economic salvation that left anyone who wasn't a millionaire footing the bill and a huge number out of work. And what little work they could find was crappy minimum wage jobs in an economy where you literally can't find housing, much less food and housing, for minimum wage.

And he waged endless wars through covert means. The part where he invaded new nations to start new wars while declaring that he didn't even need the rubber stamp approval that Congress was dying to give him made those wars even worse.

He protected torturers and attacked whistleblowers.

He fought tooth and nail against gay marriage (including having his own Justice Department file documents comparing gay people to pedophiles).

Etc.

Yes, he's done some good things too. But the bad things he has done are vast, and feel like personal betrayals to the kids who bought the hype back in 2008. Their cynicism was briefly put aside and now it is back and stronger than ever. He has proven to them that they were right all along, it doesn't matter if you vote the bad guys win anyway.

So yeah, they stay home. Us cynical political junkies can see that the difference between bad under the Democrats, and so horribly unspeakably awful that it sears your mind thinking about it under the Republicans is significant. So we vote for the lesser evil as a form of damage control and mitigation.

But the first time voters from 2008 feel, rightly, that they were suckers. And no one likes feeling that they're a sucker. So they're finished.

They tried voting, they got not half a loaf but half a loaf plus a giant broken glass filled turd. And they might take half a loaf, but they won't take half a loaf if it comes with the giant turd.
posted by sotonohito at 2:56 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]








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