My election recap, ten days later

I've been pretty busy over the last few days, and it's taken a while to collect all of my thoughts toward this election. But, here goes!

The biggest surprises of the election:

1. Diane Marie Hathaway unseating Cliff Taylor. It is considered all but impossible to lose a race for state Supreme Court when you're the incumbent. I figured Taylor had it in the bag - and quite handily, I might add.
2. Obama winning Kent County. I mean, hello!
3. Proposal 2 passing. In all honesty, I figured Prop 2 was toast. I saw a lot more organization from the "2 goes 2 far" folks.
4. The Democrats expanding their majority in the Michigan House. Just over a year ago, a small group of anti-tax conservatives launched recall campaigns against several Democrats (and a few Republicans) to punish them, if you will, for raising taxes. I had no clue that, a year later, Democrats would expand their majority in the state House by 9! Dems have gained 20 seats in the last three election cycles despite a Republican gerrymander, for a majority of 67-43.

What Obama overcame
A partial list of things Barack Obama overcame in order to win this election:
  • Inexperience
  • Bill Ayers controversy
  • The Rev. Wright controversy
  • The front-runner status of a former President's wife
  • The Republican nomination of a war hero
  • The standard lies about Democrats wanting to raise your taxes
  • I could go on and on
America: A Socialist Country?
Not according to me. But if you ask some of Obama's fiercest critics, America would rather pay higher taxes and live under a socialist President who "pals around with terrorists" than have four years of Bush-lite. Hmm, something to think about.

Do we need 60 Senate seats?
What we need is for 60 Senators to vote to invoke cloture on a measure in order for it to pass. If the next Congress convenes with 56 Democrats, 42 Republicans, and 2 independents - which seems to be the most likely outcome at this point - cloture can still be achieved provided that a handful of Republicans cross over to vote for cloture. (Likewise, if the Dems did get 60 seats, cloture wouldn't have been certain on any bill.) And cloture votes generally receive more support than the final vote to pass a bill, the latter of which only requires 51 votes as you know.

So save for very divisive issues, the probability of Obama getting much of his agenda passed through the Senate in the next two years probably will not be hindered so much by the fact that there will only be 56 or 57 Democrats in the Senate instead of 60. No, it won't be easy. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But nothing is impossible.

My most famous professor
Congratulations to US Representative-elect Gary Peters on a ten-point thumping of Joe Knollenberg! I had the privilege of taking a class with Peters last semester. Also, congratulations to Mark Schauer for winning his race in the 7th District, despite the fact that he too voted for a much-needed tax increase in the state Senate!

2010 offers us the chance to defeat another Republican incumbent, Thaddeus McCotter, who won by only 20,567 votes over a little-known Democrat!

I cannot begin to thank all of you who helped make Barack Obama our next President! I thank all who took the brave step of running for office, the field directors I met (Ted in Mt. Pleasant, Aaron in Kentwood, and many others), the high schoolers who helped put stickers with voting location info on door hangers, and everyone else of whatever age, gender, or race who called, canvassed, entered data, provided food for volunteers, wrote letters to the editor, etc., etc.

Thanks to you, I will have many fond memories of this campaign. But more importantly, hope has triumphed over fear, and courage has been rewarded over cowardice. May I inspire others as much as you have inspired me!

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