Wednesday, November 07, 2012


I admit, last night was an anxious one. Even with the polls pretty clear about who was going to win, there is a reason we hold elections and don't just let Nate Silver and David Brooks decide who will be the next president in the New York Times cafeteria (or wherever they might meet.) And watching the results come in in some of the states, the likes of Virginia, with the rural places reporting first and the big urban centers coming in last - is a recipe for worry....

But it worked out in the end. And seems to have worked out more or less exactly as predicted. Maybe a state here or there might skew a bit off from the polls, but basically, the predictions were dead on. It's a relief. I will add - I actually felt a twinge of sympathy for Romney and company last night, the much mocked Karl Rove even: everyone started calling Ohio with Romney within a couple thousand votes - I was watching MSNBC and they were hammering the Romney people and Rove himself for refusing to concede, but I don't know why they should. Sure, everyone can see where it will end up - but it hasn't gotten there yet - let the votes be counted... Elections are, in fact, decided by the voters, not by the TV anchors; campaigns shouldn't be run for the convenience of the networks. The fact that you could have called the election the night before, and gotten it exactly right doesn't change that...

All right. This is not a time for long policy statements and so on - just a quick note. My main feeling when this one ended was relief - none of the elation and sense of history that surrounded the 2008 election. But watching it, especially toward the end, as the senate races wrapped up and Warren and Duckworth and Murphy won, McCaskill, Kaine, Angus King (even) - Baldwin (which might have been the last one I saw before I went to bed) - it felt as if, in a small, modest way, you could see the country getting better. Little things - I think it was Murphy in Connecticut, leading off his victory speech with a simple statement that health care is a right. At some point, good liberal policies should become conventional wisdom - should move into the realm of things that are taken for granted. And just - the fact of talking about health care (for example) as a right, not as a hope - changes the country for the better.

So - it is a relief, and, in a lot of ways, a sign, even more than the 08 election, that we might actually have a chance to get back on track. It's a little bit more like an election on the policies, a little less the plain rejection of a miserable failure that 2008 was.

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