Congratulations to the Republicans. They won the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey and defeated gay marriage in Maine.
And that's about it.
"But wait," you say, "there were only two governorships and only one gay marriage law up for election, and the Republicans won them all!" But crowing about those decisions by the electorate of those states is failing to look at the big picture… which I've often pointed out is a common conservative failing.
So what is the "big picture"? Look at the much ballyhooed congressional election in New York's 23rd district. A Democrat hadn't been elected there since 1871 — until now. And then there are two major issues here in Washington state — a major tax 'reform' bill strongly backed by the business folks and conservatives, and an 'everything but marriage' gay rights bill backed by the liberals. We liberals won on both counts. A gay rights bill passed in Kalamazoo, and although Bloomberg won the mayoral race in New York City, it should be noted that it was closer than expected despite his spending $13,000 per hour on his campaign! Talk about buying an election!
But wait, that's not all! In the gubernatorial elections following Dubya's victory in 2000, the Democrats did very well, but did that help us in the 2002 and 2004 elections? Not at all. If the Republicans were wise, they'd remember that.
Back to the big picture. When governorships are up for election, people tend to vote on local issues, not on national issues, and this is reinforced by the results of the exit polls showing that Obama and his policies appear to have had little effect on the decisions of the voters. Not only that, but the failure of the gay marriage bill in Maine (and the success of the gay rights bills elsewhere) only reflected what's been the national trend — gay marriage bills have failed something like 30 consecutive times, but everything-but-marriage gay rights bills have been passing again and again. Can anyone imagine this happening 20 years ago?
And then there's the usual Republican bag of dirty tricks that they use to rile up the base, i.e. falsely accusing the Democrats of trying to steal the election. On his way to losing the NY-23 election, the Conservative candidate Hoffman proclaimed the Democrats were obviously trying to steal the election because a Republican pollster had said his tires were slashed. The police said it was pretty clear the guy had run over a broken bottle.
Not to be outdone, the self-appointed GOP voter fraud watchdog John Fund came out claiming,
People are going door to door in parts of Camden [New Jersey] with Hispanics that don't have very much knowledge of English, and they're saying, "We have a new way for you to vote, la nueva forma de votar; just fill out these papers."
But as Media Matters notes, Fund's Wall Street Journal column, published just a few hours earlier, conceded that this scheme actually occurred in Philadelphia, not New Jersey — in 1993.
Here's a good list of Republican and conservative efforts to claim that the Democrats were 'stealing the election.' That's their modus operandi, isn't it? After all, here's a list of total and partial fabrications the Republicans are claiming about the president's economic recovery act, and here's the complete falsehood of the 'huge spike' in FOX News viewership because of their 'war' with President Obama. Y'know, I would really like to see the Republicans do something completely different and try to stick to the facts and tell the truth, because every single election cycle we see the SAME thing — the Republicans falsely accusing the Democrats of trying to steal the election.
The BC conservatives will claim that the Republicans are only doing what the Democrats are doing anyway, but the challenge stands unanswered: show proof that the Democrats are making such false accusations to such a degree. The BC conservatives won't show such proof, because when they search, they find far fewer instances of Democrats making such false accusations.
I gotta wonder — why is it that the Republican politicians and pundits not only tolerate such outrageous lies, but seem to encourage each other to perpetuate those lies? And why do the Republican voters tolerate, encourage, and even donate to these people? And before anyone tells me the Democrats do it too, show proof that we're doing so anywhere close to the same degree that the Republicans have been!
Back to the main topic. The Republican victories in Virginia, New Jersey, and Maine are not indicative of a national rebuke of Obama's policies by any stretch. The governorships were decided on local issues, and the gay-marriage decision followed a longstanding national trend; however, the other issues — major tax reform, everything-but-marriage gay rights, and a congressional seat (decided on national issues) in a true red stronghold — went to the Democrats.
If anyone really wants to see why the elections went the way they did, and why the elections yesterday were not in any way a great loss to the Democrats, read Nate Silver's non-partisan blog. But for those of you who think statistics are evil and can't be trusted (unless they're supporting your side), just keep voting Republican and Libertarian, y'hear?
Frankly, I'm looking forward to the 2010 elections!