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Brief Election Recap: President, Senate, Governors and Initiatives

By November 5, 2008

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On Saturday, Rasmussen pegged Barack Obama's support at 50-52% of the vote and John McCain's at 46-47%.

As I prepare for bed, the popular vote count stands at 53% to 47%. I'd call that pretty darn good forecasting.

I mention the popular vote because it is not reflected in the overwhelming electoral vote (338-158-42). And had McCain won the five "battleground" states, he would have been the candidate to surpass the magic 270 electoral votes. Those five states are dubbed "battleground" for a reason: the votes there are, in the main, very close, especially when compared to the votes in the non-battleground states.

  1. Florida (27 electoral votes) : Obama, 51% to 48% with 99% of the votes counted
  2. Indiana (11 electoral votes) : Obama, 50% to 49% with 99% of the votes counted
  3. Missouri (11 electoral votes) : McCain, 49% (leading) to 49% with 100% of the votes counted
  4. North Carolina (15 electoral votes) : Obama, 50% (leading) to 50% with 100% of the votes counted
  5. Ohio (20 electoral votes) : Obama, 51% to 47% with 95% of the votes counted

Democrats made gains in the Senate, picking up seats in Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico and North Carolina. Oregon and Minnesota remain too close to call; Alaskans re-elected Ted Stevens (R) despite his recent felony conviction.

Democrats picked up two new governorships -- Missouri and North Carolina, both open seats -- and appear to have held on in Washington.

Will South Dakota's rejection of a ban on abortion -- and Colorado's rejection of a definition of life that begins at fertilization -- finally put this issue to bed? Roe v Wade is the law of the land and has been for much of my life. As others said a few years back, Move On.

The culture wars persist, however, in social conservative insistence that a religious institution -- marriage -- should be codified so that its civil component is forever barred from a subset of committed couples. The discrimination is more blatant than that of the Jim Crow era, when laws prohibited blacks from marrying whites because they were just laws, not Constitutional amendments.

There were three Constitutional bans on same-sex marriage on the ballot Tuesday -- and they all passed. In addition, Arkansas passed a measure prohibiting unmarried couples (ie, gay couples) from adopting children. Note that the people pushing measures like the Arkansas one are the same people who, in general, want no sex education in school, preach abstinence as a way to prevent teen pregnancy and want to ban abortions.

One last thing before bed. (It's 3.30 am in Seattle.)

Money.

The genie is out of the bottle, so to speak; I think public financing, at least as it's now constructed, is dead. That said, given how out-spent McCain was, and how unpopular President Bush is, it's amazing that the popular vote wasn't more decisive. For example, in Virginia, Obama had 51 field offices to McCain's 18. Obama spent more money on TV ads in October ($100 million) than McCain had to spend for everything in September, October and November ($85 million).

So let's add that to the list of things that Democrats get to tackle while they have a trifecta.

More later on Wednesday. For now, savor this historical moment.

Comments

November 5, 2008 at 2:10 pm
(1) anonymous says:

I guess you think that many of us are idiots and are out of date.
Many of us believe that abortions are an abomination and that same-sex marriages are not marriages in the eyes of God. Many of us will not rest until abortions are totally banned!! Ask Catholics about abortion because it is a major belief of our religion. It’s one of the reasons why many of us voted for McCain and other abortion foes. But I agree that it’s a topic that will probably never be settled in this nation. Too bad.

November 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm
(2) uspolitics says:

Hello, anonymous. Thanks for writing.

No, I don’t think that people who oppose abortion or same sex marriage are idiots.

I do think that you do not have the right to impose your religious beliefs on everyone else in the country.

I also think there are far more pressing issues to deal with where energy and resources could be put to use to help make the country, and the world, a better place to live.

November 5, 2008 at 3:17 pm
(3) anonymous says:

Being pro-life is not just about “religious beliefs”. Anyone who has ever seen an ultrasound has seen that these tiny human beings are people: very vulnerable, helpless people, who need protection. Abortion is not a simple issue, but it has been embraced by many people like it is a standard right: one life is more important than another, because the other life is small and hasn’t achieved anything yet. This is the kind of thing Democrats usually support: help for the vulnerable & underrepresented. I liked Obama in many, many ways, but I just could not vote for someone who supports the killing (and yes it is killing a living being) of babies, born or unborn. I am a feminist, also, but one who believes that abortion is actually bad for women, and pressures them to make decisions they are not ready for, and must live with for the rest of their lives. See http://www.feministsforlife.org for more information on how pro-life is also pro-woman.

November 5, 2008 at 3:33 pm
(4) Jack Braddock says:

What is usually missed in the non-talking that goes on over the abortion and the gay marriage issues is that the reason plebicites banning are usually defeated in this country has nothing whatever to do with issue-specific positions.

The VAST majority of people in this country just don’t believe that personal or religious opinions have any place in a government within a 21st century, multi-ethnic democracy.

If you are in a straight relationship, what do you lose by letting gay people behave in a constructive, family-centric manner? I don’t believe in abortion, but I’d never vote for anyone who demands to make that decision for any one, let alone ALL, women.

Other than those brought here as slaves, our ancesters came here because they didn’t want to be told by someone else how to act and how to behave. Some of them immediately set up local societies that did just that (“agree with me or get out”), but that independent spirit that made them leave the familiar, racing into a strange land, has lived on when most of the old prejudices have died long overdue deaths.

I am a Christian, and have, as opposed to many of the professional “Christian Right Rollers” actually read the New Testament. Do you really believe that Jesus, were he here in corporate form today, would actually support suppression of individual love and compassion that leads some to seek an abortion? How does that sit with the Sermon on the Mount? Christ said, “Follow me..” not tell everyone else how to follow YOU, how to live like YOU. Open your heart: God is Love; Love is the answer.

November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm
(5) Jennie says:

I am concerned with the mentality that we should not have “moral” laws. Should we also throw out the law that we shouldn’t kill someone (abortion is murder) or how about that we shouldn’t steal. That might be considered inconvenient. After all that man stealing food to feed his family – we should feel bad for them. How dare this country have laws that are bad for some people even if it protects others (some who can’t fend for themselves).
Jack Braddock said,”Other than those brought here as slaves, our ancestors came here because they didnít want to be told by someone else how to act and how to behave.” I do believe this mentality does represent how a lot of this country feels about government. Again, should we do away with drugs being illegal? How dare we try to impose our views on other people? Why don’t we just do away with all our laws? Oh, right. That’s called anarchy. That is definitely NOT what our forefathers had in mind in the creation of this new and Godly nation.

November 5, 2008 at 5:46 pm
(6) Joules says:

I appreciate the information about election results–not the condescending tone toward social conservatives. Thanks for the update at any rate.

November 5, 2008 at 6:18 pm
(7) InChicago says:

Jennie,

My father had a phrase that addressed most of your questions. He used to say “You always have the right to swing your fist, right up until your fist reaches the end of my nose.” It has also been expressed in ancient times as “An it harm none, do what you will. An it cause harm, do only what you must.”

Should we do away with drugs being illegal? Some of them, yes – because they harm noone but the user. Others have a propensity to cause harm to others, and should remain illegal. Should we allow abortion? Some of them, yes – because to restrict it would cause more harm to the mother and to society. Should we allow theft? Almost always no, because it harms others.

Anarchy is the triumph of selfishness. I prefer the triumph of compassionate self-interest.

November 5, 2008 at 6:26 pm
(8) JP says:

Dear USPolitics & Jack B. -

I have several comments:
I am a Catholic and like many others not only disagreed with many of Obama’s views like – *spreading the wealth, (would that be taking food off of my children’s table so that I can feed the children at your table?), *National Healthcare (I am Hawaiian and from Hawaii, a state that HAD National Healthcare, but recently had to shut the program down because it was making the State go bankrupt), *LEADING people on to believe that the President elect is going to take care of your financial needs. My husband has been commissioned based in the Mortgage Industry for 25 years so he has experienced many, many types of markets, he is one of MANY great men and women who are ethical and moral in their business practices, he was not a fly by night person that came in when the getting was good and left the current mess we now have to pay for, nor is he one of many members of Congress who voiced to the American people that Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac were sound and in great financial shape. That the Banks and Mortgage Companies HAD TO lend money for homes to those that would not be able to make their mortgage payments or prior to these new guidelines would have not qualified for a mortgage in the first place. We all know who these members of Congress are and yet they are still there acting as if they did nothing unethical. Any chance of having those members of Congress investigated and place their feet to the fire? Their actions affected the industry that my husband has been in for 25 years, serving the public for 25 years and as a family we are now adversely affected. Instead, we can expect an additional TRILLION dollars of new spending to “fix” this problem. Even with my disagreements with Obama on these issues, his stance on abortion trumped it all because we are a family that believes in Life and it is life from the moment of conception, yet the President elect will have no problem taking our tax dollars to fund abortion at any stage of the pregnancy and what really hit me visually was when a commercial against Sarah Palin was shown depicting her as a murderer of animals because she hunts (by the way she hunts for food versus for fun)yet, abortion is not viewed as murder but a woman’s right. Kill at any stage of the baby’s life, up to one year, have the American people pay for it and have the arrogance to equate hunting a caribou as murder yet abortion is not, but a “religious right” mantra. No, life is life and whether one tries to justify it, deep within ech of us, moral and ethical values I believe reside within the majority of Americans no matter your ethinticity, gender or faith and in the end when you are by yourself, allowing yourself to think this issue through based on what it means to value life of a human being, you will see the clear answer. Many of us (at least 57 million) understood this and many have yet to see the light, but there is always God, the higher power and his Will always triumphs.

Thank you for the venue to voice my comments/opinions.

November 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm
(9) Jamie says:

Abortion is an issue that has sharply divided this nation for a long time now and some very vicious arrows are usually slung from both sides of the debate when the topic is raised. As with any divisive topic, there is a unfortunate tendency for discussions to turn personal, exaggerated, and for those involved to metaphorically stick their fingers in their ears and say ‘nyeah, nyeah’. I wanted to compliment most of those commenting here and the author for keeping a level head and maintaing intelligent discourse without the name-calling.

My two cents… I don’t like the idea of terminating pregnancies and I find the idea of late-term and partial-birth abortions particularly repellent. That said, I wouldn’t actively support legislation making all abortion illegal. Yes, abortion is physically and emotionally traumatic for the woman, bu so are many other things a person could choose to do to themselves. As far as the unborn having a right to life? There’s where it gets sticky for me. I’ve heard arguments from both sides and I still cant say with certainty when life begins.

As far as banning gay marriage, I disagree with that as well. To try to do that is to open a can of worms about the separation of church and state. Marriage, which was originally a religious institution, carries with it some state benefits. To say that gays cant marry would throw into question why straight couples should be legally more special than gay couples. I do think that adoption should be left for married or otherwise legally committed couples, but i know gay couples who have raised straight children and vice versa. It would have little to do with the childs eventual orientation.

November 5, 2008 at 7:10 pm
(10) Paul says:

“same-sex marriages are not marriages in the eyes of God”

Fine. God does not have to recognize them in heaven. But we live down here on earth, with Christians and Jews and Athiests and Muslims and Paganists and Rastafarians. Given that there is NO AGREEMENT over what God says on the issue, we should let freedom and equality prevail.

What is America about if not freedom and equality?

November 5, 2008 at 7:32 pm
(11) Gary says:

Typical liberal arrogance and condescension. The smug attitude is why common ground will always evade conservatives and liberals. If liberals really do know everything, why was the Carter presidency such a disaster?

As far as the abortion question is concerned, it was enough for me to know that my children’s hearts were beating only a few weeks after conception. I cannot believe that anyone EVER feels good about having an abortion. Down deep we all know it is an assault against life itself.

November 5, 2008 at 7:40 pm
(12) Sunshine87 says:

I posted what the Constitution has to say about these issues on Kathy’s 11/4 blog “Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage on Tuesday’s Ballot” ~ in a nutshell, the Framers were crystal clear that there’s no “right” when it comes to religion and religious issues.

Kathy, you were fantastic last night! I especially appreciated your one-on-one dialogue on campaign financing. I cannot fathom being camera-ready for 7 hours. But, you looked wonderful to the very end. Your closing comment was quite insightful and profound. Congratulations on a job well done!

I do hope an exceedingly brilliant attorney will take on the Equal Protection violations attendant with the ballot initiatives prohibiting gay marriages.

And, I weep for the kids in foster care in Arkansas.

We the People voted yesterday for compassion and respect, but it seems this universal message from the world’s major religions hasn’t quite registered on some. I cannot fathom, for example, compelling a woman to birth an unwanted baby and at the same time prohibiting that unwanted child from finding love from potentially loving, caring, and nurturing parents.

November 5, 2008 at 10:16 pm
(13) Sylvain Forget says:

It’s too bad that not every loving couple can get hitched in California. Love is a rare commodity indeed.

November 5, 2008 at 10:37 pm
(14) Larry Neal says:

Now that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has won the Presidency, it remains to be seen just what will happen with the coal industry, which Obama has threatened to “bankrupt”, with nuclear energy, the “redistribution of wealth”, the housing crisis (lead by Frank and Dodd), fair trade agreements (signed by Clinton), and other pet peeves of the likes of Pelosi, Reed, Murtha, Kerry, Clinton, et al.
As for abortion: it is legal, but killing a baby that has survived an abortion is murder.
Just look at all the young women who are in prison for allowing their newborn babies to die.
We constantly need to remember that just because something is “legal” it is not necessarily ethical or moral.

November 5, 2008 at 11:43 pm
(15) dontagree says:

It is grim when we have to define marriage at
all when it is inherently and intrinsically hetero-
sexual. Homosexuals can create a legal contract
and set up any kind of ceremony or ritual they
want. There is no reason at all in this morally
permissive culture to argue that homosexuals
are being denied anything simply because they
can’t get the state to call their contracts marriage.

Homosexuals cannot reproduce–period. They might
be cloned but that is not reproduction. That is simply
repetition of their own DNA. They can’t do anything
naturally to reproduce. Marriage is heterosexual.
Homosexuals want something that cannot be
homosexual from either point of view: a biblical,
religious one or simply by looking at the way nature
naturally behaves.

Of course, homosexual activists don’t really want
marriage. They simply want to compel the rest of
society to confer everything on homosexuals that
heterosexuals can have because they are obsessed
with control and forcing compliance with their agenda.
The activists from their depraved compulsions dream
of criminalizing all opposition to their premise that
self-identified homosexuals are victims and merit the
protection of minority status. They want to silence
all the opposition and make it impossible for a school
to exist legally that does not accept the homosexual
agenda. The activists are true bullies and tyrants.

November 6, 2008 at 1:36 am
(16) uspolitics says:

Wow. Now I know what a relatively off-the-cuff comment can lead to.

First, to Joules:
I was not trying to be condescending, and if my remarks came across that way, I apologize.

I am, however, frustrated that the same people who don’t want kids to be adopted by families that they see as “unfit” are, generally, the same people who are lobbying against practices that can minimize the risk/odds of an unwanted child being brought into the world. I have two sets of friends who have adopted unwanted children, giving them a path out of foster care, two sets who also happen to be same-sex couples. They have “marriages” that have lasted longer than many of my heterosexual friends.

Second, to the people who want their religious view to be the dominant and legal one: please re-read the 1st amendment.

Third, to Sunshine and Jack, thanks for your supportive comments. Sunshine, your long comment from the other day influenced this post. Just so you know.

Fourth, to Jamie, the nation is NOT sharply divided over abortion, no matter how many times people assert that it is:

Gallup, 2003 – A 53% majority of Americans consider Roe v. Wade to have been a “good thing” for the country. Only 30% consider it a “bad thing,” while 17% are uncertain.

Gallup – 2006 – Only 20% of Americans think abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances.” Among Christians: 20% legal in ALL circumstances v 22% illegal in ALL circumstances (which means 76% legal in SOME circumstances). Among other religions: 54% legal in ALL circumstances v 7% illegal in ALL circumstances (which means 93% legal in SOME circumstances).

Gallup – 2008 – “Most Americans downgrade the importance of abortion to their vote, saying either that it’s not a major issue for them (37%), or that it’s just one of many important issues they consider (49%). Only 13% of Americans told Gallup in May 2008 that they vote only for candidates for major offices who share their views on abortion.”

I should probably make this a blog post.

November 6, 2008 at 1:38 am
(17) uspolitics says:

Oh, anonymous — please read the comment I just made. It’s pretty clear that religious beliefs have a little bit to do with one’s attitude towards abortion.

November 6, 2008 at 6:51 am
(18) Gerry says:

I can’t get over how peoplecall it a religious matter. Without life—–nothing else matters. Its as simple as that. Wake up!

November 6, 2008 at 11:49 am
(19) jh says:

Ah abortion, the divider. This is what I have to say–we can outlaw abortion when we live in a country in which birth control is freely given and information about birth control is given to everyone of reproductive age. And when every child is provided for with health care and free day care so that their mother’s can work on not being poor. When that happens then it is no longer a moral and religious issue but until then, keep your hands off my uterus because you are not pitching in to take care of a child I do not want or choose.

jh

November 6, 2008 at 4:03 pm
(20) sunshine87 says:

This is going to be very painful for me to write, but, Gerry, I think you need a reality pill. So, swallow it, Gerry. Swallow it like I have to swallow it every day of my “life.”

Gerry, I’m happy for you that you were obviously a very much loved, wanted, and cherished child.

I weep that you, therefore, lack appreciation for the “life” sentence you pronounce on unwanted children. You have no clue about the quality of our “life.”

Kathy, I applaud your friends who have embraced unwanted children into their loving homes. A kid doesn’t care whether parents are gay or straight. All a kid cares about is whether those parents love, nurture, cherish, and support them.

Gerry, there are millions more of those unwanted kids who want and need a home desperately. How many of them have you brought into your own home? Have you EVER seriously talked to an unwanted child in foster care? Do you know about the horrendous abuse these kids typically experience? Do you have a clue what it is like for these kids to emerge into the world without a solid emotional, spiritual, and intellectual foundation?

Do you have a clue how terrifying “life” is for an unwanted teenager about to “age out” of the system without a solid foundation to navigate “life” in the real world?

Parents who don’t want their kids don’t cherish them. Being cherished is something unwanted kids never get to experience. They go through life painfully aware that their parents wish they’d never been born. You think that’s a “life,” Gerry? Wake up!

Do you understand why and how these kids end up in prison? You put them there, Gerry, with your misguided point of view. You put them there because you command they be born without personally stepping up to the plate to make sure they actually get a LIFE.

Kids aren’t puppies and kittens at the pound. Most of them get adopted.

Thank you, JH, for your compassion and courage. Thank God some people get it. It is an oxymoron to be “pro-life” without being “pro-choice.” Life is all about choices.

I hope y’all can appreciate the courage it has taken for me to speak up on this issue. These truths are very painful for me to admit. I’d much rather be quiet, but some of the misguided posts on this blog command that I end my silence. Y’all need to wake up already!

If y’all are so long on “compassionate” conservatism, start preaching with your lives instead of your words. Bring a bunch of those kids in foster care into your home. Love them. Nurture them. Cherish them. Give them a solid foundation for the “life” you insisted they have.

Until y’all find the wisdom, courage, and Christian compassion to do this, I really do wish you’d mind your own business.

November 6, 2008 at 4:19 pm
(21) Chuck Manson says:

Wow, this may appear to be off topic but results in the “batteground” states should have been overwhelming considering how much money was spent by Obama and how far the media went to help him to be elected.

I’m looking for some sort of silver or in this case, bronze lining and this is about all I can come up with.

C

November 6, 2008 at 5:16 pm
(22) Carolyn Drake says:

How’s this, Chuck?

You and I have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, and I’m sending you hugs and respect for your passion! John McCain got a standing ovation from even strident Obama supporters for his speech on election night.

The same CNN and MSNBC pundits who pushed Obama have announced their intention to keep an eagle eye on Nancy Pelosi. You KNOW that’s a VERY good thing!

Louisiana, Montana, and West Virginia voters split their tickets. They voted for Democrats for senator/governor, but voted for McCain for president.

This tells me that We the People took our country back from the lobbyists. We voted in record numbers, but we didn’t give the Democrats the super-majority they sought.

McCain’s going back to the Senate with a stronger and more powerful voice as well as deep respect from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

I’m hoping we really will be the UNITED States from now on. I’ve always liked the color purple better than blue or red! And, I’m looking forward to engaging in further dialogue with you and others on this blog as to how We the People can create bi-partisan solutions where everybody wins.

November 6, 2008 at 5:53 pm
(23) uspolitics says:

Hi, Chuck — there are indications that voters were using this as an opportunity to make a statement about social change.

I remain convinced that this race was a Democratic candidate’s to lose — regardless of who the candidate was. That said, I think the G.O.P. leadership has some serious thinking to do if they do not want to become a representative of only about 25% of the electorate.

Where are the Goldwater Republicans? Where is fiscal conservatism? Where is the proponents of no-foreign-entanglements?

Kathy

November 6, 2008 at 5:55 pm
(24) uspolitics says:

Sunshine – thanks for your candor and for sharing.

This is off-topic — except for the adoption bit — but I encourage everyone to watch it for its inspirational message.

2005 Commencement Speech @ Stanford

November 8, 2008 at 4:22 pm
(25) mother hubbard says:

Everyone, just shut up !!! Opinions are like butt-holes, every body has one !!! Obama will do wonderfully !!

November 8, 2008 at 5:12 pm
(26) uspolitics says:

Hello, MotherHubbard:

So long as people are being respectful, we don’t say “shut up” here.

Also, in case you didn’t read the thread, it had nothing to do with Obama, that is, people were not saying he would do badly.

Kathy

November 10, 2008 at 11:46 pm
(27) uspolitics says:

Thought I’d share this quote from conservative P.J. O’Rourke in The Weekly Standard:

“If the citizenry insists that abortion remain legal–and, in a passive and conflicted way, the citizenry seems to be doing so–then give the issue a rest.”

Thank you, Mr. O’Rourke.

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