I'm so, so happy that it's finally over. This election was exhausting (at least for me).
The Democrats pretty much won everything that we were expecting to win (at least by the sane polling aggregates, like 538). We kept the presidency. We made small, but very important gains in the Senate (ensuring that we can change the rules on the Filibuster for the following two years, assuming that the Democrats follow through with their promises to kill the ability for Senate Republicans to hold the Congress and nation hostage by using the Filibuster on nearly every damn thing). We may have even made some small gains in the House (hard to tell, even now not all the results are in), but the House still remains firmly in the hands of the GOP. It looks like, once all the counting has finished, that we'll have picked up an additional Democrat governor as well.
Now, it sounds like a really modest gain for the Dems. But it's actually a huge victory. First off, with an economy this bad, even though this economy wasn't created by the Dems, the Dems should have lost the presidency according to conventional wisdom. Secondly, over half of the Democrat Senators were up for reelection, which would normally cause at least a small loss in seats, and with an economy like this, would normally have resulted in massive losses. Instead, we made gains. And instead of massive losses in the House, it looks like we held our own.
Part of the reason for the gains were that the Democrats just plain were the better choices in most cases. But the other side of that is that the GOP has been taken over by radical partisans. I don't think this was lost on the public. Many of the most radical GOP candidates up for election lost, like Akin, Mourdock, Tommy Thompson, and so forth. We literally could not have had this victory if it hadn't been for the crazies on the other side of the isle. Of course, if the other side hadn't gone crazy, the stakes wouldn't have been as high, and it wouldn't have mattered as much if we won big.
In the states, there were a few initiatives or state constitutional amendments that were proposed. Most but not all of these were passed or defeated in a favorable way for the progressives. Maine, Maryland, and Washington have all passed gay marriage. Meanwhile, Republicans had put an amendment on the ballot in Minnesota to ban gay marriage, and the amendment was defeated; gay marriage isn't allowed in Minnesota, but it's constitution hasn't been amended to forbid it. Massachusetts has passed medical marijuana, while Colorado and Washington have legalized it entirely (it's still illegal federally, so that's a sticky situation there). Several other states failed to legalize medical marijuana or legalize it entirely. On the other hand, several states have passed ballot measures that try to prevent some or all of Obama care. They'll probably be stricken down by the Supreme Court, but with this court, it's hard to say.
But it's quite possible that before any new challenges come before the Supreme Court, that one or more judges will retire or die on the bench (Scalia, I'm looking at you), and that Obama will get the opportunity to appoint one or more liberal or centrist justices. It's commonly been thought that many of the conservative judges have been wanting to retire, but were waiting and hoping for a conservative president before they stepped down. But with some of these guys approaching their eighties, they're just one medical crisis away from vacating their seats. Most people tend to believe that Scalia, the most partisan and radical of the conservative justices won't step down under any circumstances, and that he'll die on the bench. Which is why whenever I talk about a justice dying on the bench, I always think of Scalia. I'm not saying that I wish he'd drop dead already... I'm just saying that I won't shed a tear for him when he does, because I just don't have it in me to mourn the passing of a loud mouthed bully that's a ball of hypocrisy and hate wrapped in the shriveled skin of the aged (like Emperor Palpatine from Return of the Jedi). Where was I...?
At any rate, I'm so, so glad that the massive victory (in other words, holding our own and making modest gains) that was predicted by Nate Silver over at 538, and others, held true. We couldn't have done it without the bile and hypocrisy from the other side, and we wouldn't have needed to if they hadn't lost their minds. Things can't and won't go on indefinitely like this, but for the foreseeable future, I'm afraid we're stuck with a Republican Party that's given itself to the dark side, along with a well funded and powerful propaganda machine. In the future, we all need to pay attention to what's going on, so we can bring the good fight for the next campaign. This isn't some fantasy book or sci-fi movie where victory is clean and permanent. We'll have to fight this fight again in 2 years, when the House of Representatives is up for reelection. It takes people like us, who are paying attention, to remind those that aren't or won't pay attention that they have to vote again, and to remind them of why they need to vote, and what the other side has done that needs to be addressed by the public in the voting booths.
I'm planning to keep that watchful eye myself, but I think that I'm going to make myself pretty scarce here in Politics and Religion for a while. I'm fatigued from all this, and need some time to recharge. Maybe, if we're all really lucky, the Republican Party will have already have regained its sanity by the time the next election comes up, but I don't think it's likely for them to make such an about face in just two years.