I still feel good about the election this week, though the Congressional side of things will remain unsettled for a while longer. But democracy has survived to fight another day, and that matters a lot.
Women in particular turned out in defense of abortion rights and every state that had a vote on the issue upheld the right to choose. There is also a strong likelihood that Democrats will continue to hold the Senate, and there was no red wave in the House or anywhere else. The Secretary of State positions have been kept out of the hands of the Big Lie pushers (at least so far, some are still counting), and Dems did well with state races such as governors and state legislative runs. Details below.
On the Senate
Of our eight critical Senate seats, four were lost (Demings, Barnes, Ryan, and Beasley), we won one (Fetterman in PA), and three remain undecided (Kelly in AZ, Masto in NV, and Warnock in GA). We must take two of those three seats to hold the Senate.
Kelly is running ahead and seems likely to eke out a win. Masto is behind at this moment, but there are many ballots uncounted from Dem strongholds in Nevada so we still hope for a victory here. Warnock is once again headed for a runoff vote, this time on Dec. 6th.
If we win in both AZ and NV, GA becomes less pressing. Of course in the Senate every vote counts (and anything that weakens the power of Manchin/Sinema is a good thing in my book). But they say NV won’t have a full count until next week, so you may as well relax while we wait.
Control of the House is also unconfirmed as I write, but clearly there was no red wave. Even if Republicans eke out a win here, they will control the thinnest of margins, making the next two years very volatile as they attempt to force the majority of the country to bend to their will using their tiny leverage.
On abortion rights
Pundits insisted that the loss of abortion rights had faded as an important issue in this election, that public attention had turned away. Many of us disagreed with that, and we were right. Voters, especially women, declared that abortion rights were a top issue in bringing them out to vote. And every state that had a vote on abortion rights reaffirmed that right, even encoding it in some state constitutions.
From Bolts Mag:
Measures to Protect Abortion Rights Triumph on Tuesday
California, Michigan and Vermont became the first to explicitly codify the right to abortion in their state constitutions.
From Dahlia Lithwick at Slate:
Women Remembered to Vote on Abortion
Contrary to the media narrative, women responded to what the Supreme Court did in June.
From Amanda Marcotte at Salon:
The Dobbs effect is real: Voters, still angry about the Roe overturn, turned out to protect abortion
Pundits said people forgot about Dobbs. The success of abortion rights and pro-choice politicians says different
On various Secretary of State elections
Republicans nominated several election deniers for Secretary of State positions. Some of these races are not yet finalized. Big Lie supporting, Trump-approved candidates lost their races in Michigan and New Mexico, while two more in Arizona and Nevada have not yet been called.
Putting these folks in charge of state elections would be a very bad idea, as this is one more way Republicans want to subvert the popular will, by skewing how elections are carried out and counted. Let’s hope the final vote counts in Arizona and Nevada will keep them out of office.
I am happy to report that Colorado, being a reasonably sane state, returned Jena Griswold to her role as Secretary of State. Our state elections will continue to run smoothly.
On state governors
I was so happy to see that Michigan re-elected Gretchen Whitmer. She’s been very impressive in that role, and Republicans targeted her for defeat. She deserves attention and praise much more than Desantis in Florida, and I hope she continues to be a strong figure in the national Party for years to come.
Another Democratic governor targeted by Republicans was Kathy Hochul of New York, who also won reelection handily. (The rest of the NY Democratic Party seems to be a disaster right now, the result of years of terrible leadership in the NY Party. I do hope they get it together soon.)
Here in Colorado, current governor and known gay guy Jared Polis won reelection easily. (Oh, and flashback to the Senate, Michael Bennet also won easily as I expected.)
And some misc. state legislature changes
Colorado also maintained full Democratic control of the State Legislature, and in fact there will be no chance for Republicans to have any statewide influence until at least 2024. The Republican Party here is in even worse shape than the Dems are in New York.
Rhode Island and Massachusetts are also under full legislative control by Democrats now.
And in Michigan:
Democrats Take Control Of Michigan House And Senate For First Time In Decades
Ballotpedia has an in-depth overview of state legislative control, and is following the impact of the 2022 elections. Let’s hope we’ve seen the end of the time where Democrats ignored down-ballot races.