Interesting is the word for it. Somewhat disappointing for me, although not as you might think because Democrats lost (or did not win) governorships, but because here in Ohio, that damned casino thing finally passed after four tries. I have a moral loathing of gambling as an industry, so as you might imagine the thought of casinos coming to Ohio bugs the crap out of me. At least it failed in my own county; the majority of Darke Countians voted against it. Go, Darke County.
I’m also sad it appears that bigotry won the day in Maine, as regards the same-sex marriage vote there; it’s depressing when people vote to deny other people the same rights they have — not that Ohio, which bans recognition of same-sex marriages, has anything to crow about in this regard. I’m sanguine that this sort of thing is a rear-guard action, and that sooner than later same-sex couples will be able to marry in more states than not, but then again, I can afford to be sanguine, because I can be (and am) married to the person I choose. No one’s telling me that I’m a second-class citizen.
As for the New Jersey and Virginia: Well, I think the New Jersey vote is what you get when you have an unpopular incumbent; Corzine got what was coming to him, it looks like. As for Virginia, it’s not terribly surprising they might vote in a Republican. The governorship there trades off between Democrats and Republicans pretty evenly: Since 1970, the commonwealth has had five Republican and five Democratic governors, not counting McDonnell, who won the election last night but is not yet seated. Whether either of these wins has national implications I’ll leave to others to decide, but I think they probably have more to do with what’s going on in those states.
The interesting “national implication” race for me was the one in the 23rd Congressional District of New York, in which outside political forces (including Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh) decided the woman the local GOP chose to run for the vacant seat there was not conservative enough for their tastes, so they backed the candidate of the Conservative Party (which is a third party in NY) and essentially drove the Republican candidate out of the race. Her response was to throw her support to the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, who won, becoming the first Democratic representative in that district (or so I am told) since the mid-19th Century.
What does this tell us about the state of politics? Well, I think, one, national party leaders, elected and otherwise, probably ought to listen to the local folks about who is a good fit; if they had, this seat would probably be in GOP hands still. Two, it appears local voters don’t take kindly to outside interference. Three, stabbing one’s allies in the back has negative repercussions. Four, listening to people whose personal fortunes are not tied to legislative victory is not necessarily a smart thing for a political party to do.
For all that, I suspect Owens ought not become too comfortable in the seat, since he’ll have to run for it again a year from now, and the district will still be what it is: largely GOP territory. But for the moment, his victory is a big fat middle finger in the eyeball of the national conservative movement. That this middle finger was jammed in there by a disgruntled GOPer is rich, creamy irony of the sort I expect Palin, Beck, Limbaugh et al to steadfastly pretend didn’t actually happen from this day forward.
That’s what I’ve got for you the day after election day, 2009.