Random Election 2008 Next Day Thoughts

It is now 24 hours since I opened last nights live blog and we still don’t know for sure who won 4 Senate races.  It looks though like the good people of Alaska are going to reelect a convicted felon to the Senate.  Assuming those numbers hold, we will now find out if Ted Stevens will do the honorable thing and retire, or if the Senate expels him.  Either way, winning holds the seat for the Republicans, as Sarah Palin can name a successor once the seat becomes officially open.  Will she name herself?  The race in Minnesota is absurdly close, with Democratic comedian Al Franken trailing by roughly 500 votes, triggering an automatic recount.  Either way, the Stevens result alone is sufficient to ensure the Democrats cannot get to the holy grail of Senate power; being filibuster-proof with 60 seats.  And, being in the high 50s might not be a bad thing, though.  Not being right on 51 like the current Congress, and not being right on 60, they have the room to boot Joe Lieberman’s butt out of the caucus, which I hope Harry Reid does.  Nothing personal against Lieberman; he is a concientious public servant and a good person so far as I know.  But he’s simply not a Democrat, as his support of John McCain (notice who was in the edge of the camera shot during the concession speech last night?) demonstrates.

Looks like the Democrats will pick up 20-some House seats.  Locally in Western PA Jason Altmire and John Murtha both retained seats in races that turned into rather nasty TV ad campaigns in the Pittsburgh market.

Of course the big story is Barack Obama’s big win.  Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri still have not been called, but the numbers give Obama the edge in Hoosier and Tar Heel Country, McCain the edge in the Land of Truman.  If it plays out that way Obama will end up with roughly 355 Electoral College votes having won just about every state that was considered a battleground going into Election Day, save Missouri and Montana.  The blue shading on the maps now creeps further down the East Coast, has a big Floridian island, completely encompasses the Great Lakes (assuming Indiana) and has a new pocket in the southern Rockies.  Of course Obama had a huge black turnout, but he also did very well with Hispanics and younger voters, winning about 2/3 in each demographic.  I suspect the younger voters is not an everlasting trend; just the dynamics of this race younger voters identifying with Obama, not with McCain, and really liking Obama’s message and magnetism.  But hispanics might genuinely be becoming a solid Democratic constituent, not as strong as blacks, but solid, like the Jewish vote usually is.  If that is the case, given the sharply increasing number of Hispanics in this country (and the shrinking percentage of whites) that augurs well for the Democrats down the road.

On a more local note, St. Clair Township finally repealed the 18th Amendment!  Liquor can be sold at Calcutta Giant Eagle, 170 Drive-Thru, and Turkana golf course.  Hallelujah!  East Liverpool easily passed its fire levy.  But Beaver Local voters narrowly rejected an operating levy for their school district.  I would hate to be an administrator in that district; getting the taxpayers to do their part is like trying to get blood from a turnip.  They have repeatedly turned down cheap money from the state to replace their dilapidated schools in recent years, and now they reject an operating levy.  I think its time administration goes nuclear; cancel football and wrestling and tell the voters that if you don’t pass this the next cycle we are closing all the schools and sending the kids to neighboring districts.  Incumbent Commissioners (D) Penny Traina and (R) Jim Hoppel won reelection by solid margins, decisions Buckeyenewshawk agrees with.  Democrats retained control of County Treasurer and Recorder posts, Republicans still have the sheriff’s badge in their pockets.  In a baffling decision, county voters rejecting a bond issue for neglected and abused children.  And voters in East Liverpool rejected the notion of setting terms in office for our concilmen at 4 years instead of the current 2.  We like to be able to throw the bums out more quickly, and I suspect most of us wish we had the same shorter terms for our school board members!

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