Needless to say, yesterday was a big day for the Democratic party. They won the House going away, and it looks like they may take the Senate as well. Democrats have their first majority among the nation’s governors since 1994. There are a few things that stood out to me that are probably worth noting:
- Despite high turnout in some states, overall turnout was average. That’s disappointing.
- Exit pools indicate that corruption was a big issue with voters. For all the talk about this election being about hatred of Bush, independents voted for Democrats because they were sick of Republicans running Congress as if they were Visigoths sacking Rome.
- I hope the first order of business for Democrats is restoring most of the rules that the Republicans did away with in order to suppress the minority party in Congress. The Democrats could keep those rules in place and abuse the Republicans the way they were abused, but that’s bad governance. Congress was a more effective and civil institution before the Republicans took over in 1994. Hopefully the Democrats can restore that to some extent.
- I worry about how President Bush will react. He did not accept that the President is accountable to Congress when Republicans ran the place. He couldn’t even be bothered to ask a friendly Congress for permission to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists more freely. Now he has to deal with the Democrats. How will that work out?
- Howard Dean deserves a ton of credit for insisting that Democrats run their party as though elections in every state are winnable. By recruiting the right candidates and spreading their funds around widely, Democrats picked up seats that seemed impossible only a few months ago. Being in the right place at the right time is as much a part of success as anything, and Dean deserves a lot of credit.
- Maybe this really was the year for the netroots. I read last night that 60% of Jim Webb’s campaign donations came in via the Internet.
- Hopefully this is the end of right wing bashing of the judicial branch. Their constant drumbeat of idiocy with regard to “activist judges” was bad for the country, and was mainly the result of their having to find something to gripe about given that Republicans held the Presidency and the legislative branch. Now that they can focus on hating Nancy Pelosi, maybe they’ll leave judges alone.
More than anything, yesterday’s election was a relief for me. I’ve been watching Republicans govern the nation poorly for the past six years, and I have been waiting for Americans to wake up and see that ideology aside, these guys were doing a rotten job. Hopefully the new Congress can do better.