Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Apocalypse now? Live-blogging the 2010 midterm elections



Alright, here we go...

6:46 pm - I'm a bit late getting started this evening, but it took a long time getting home. Bad traffic. Torontonians, it seems, are all rushing home to watch CNN, waiting with bated breath for the election results to start pouring in. (No, not really. There's far more interest in tonight's Leafs game. And the main Senator my fellow Torontonians are interested in is Jason Spezza or Daniel Alfredsson.)

6:48 pm - It's hard to believe it's been two years (minus two days) since that glorious night of Obama's 2008 victory.

6:50 pm - I'll be doing most of the blogging here tonight -- and I'll be here well into the early-morning hours -- but it'll be more of a team effort, with some of my great co-bloggers contributing along the way. I'll add their comments directly into this post.

6:51 pm - I mentioned earlier that I'd give my predictions before 7:00. But I wasn't sure if I'd get them out on time, so I tweeted them about an hour ago: The Republicans will pick up 6 Senate seats and 49 House seats. In both cases, this puts me at the low end of the range, or even below the range, of conventional wisdom (or generally accepted forecasts). Charlie Cook, for example, predicts the GOP will pick up 6-8 and 50-60, while Nate Silver's model has the GOP picking up, on average, 54 in the House. As I also mentioned in that post from earlier today, though, Silver presents a scenario whereby the Democrats do much, much better than expected. While I don't think (who honestly does?) that the Dems will hold onto the House (the GOP needs a gain of at least 39) -- the Dems apparently realize it's a foregone conclusion, too -- I do think that they'll do relatively well, that is, that there's won't quite be the total apocalypse some in the media and many on the right are predicting.

7:00 pm - CNN states the obvious: "Democrats privately admit House loss looks likely."

7:01 pm - By the way, I don't think I'm being irrationally optimistic in thinking that the Dems will do better than expected. I'm not saying they'll do well, after all, just relatively well. And I think this is largely because Democratic turnout will be better than expected -- not enough to make up the "enthusiasm gap," but enough to allow them to hold onto a few seats that they might otherwise have lost. (And maybe the polls really have under-represented Dem voters, even if the (sad) truth is that the polls, taken together, are usually right.)

7:05 pm - Yes, Republicans will do well tonight, but not because voters actually like them. Exit polls show that voters don't like either party. Democrats actually have a two-point advantage (not much, but something) in terms of favorability over Republicans (43-41), with both parties at 53 percent unfavorable. 

7:10 pm - As expected, crazy libertarian extremist Rand Paul has won the Kentucky Senate race. Another Republican, Dan Coats, has won in Indiana, picking up Evan Bayh's seat. Bayh is hardly much of a loss, as he's been one of the most Republican of Democrats, but it's still a Republican gain (albeit in a state that for the most part leans red).

7:17 pm - Okay, just going to take a quick break. Be back in a few...

R.K. Barry: "MSNBC has called Rand Paul as the new senator for Kentucky. Paul said earlier today that if elected he would not be an automatic vote for the state's senior senator, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The quote was: "We will challenge him from day to day, but there will be many areas in which we agree." Assuming the Dems hold the Senate, it is hard to image a Rand Paul vote that would matter that much, but it does tell us something about the attitude of Tea Party Republicans as they begin to pack their bags for the trip to Washington."

7:34 pm - The Atlantic's Chris Good wrote today about five "bellweather" races to watch (and a possible sixth, Barney Frank's in Massachusetts, where Frank should win easily but may not). These are:

-- Indiana's 2nd, where incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly is facing off against "Tea-Party-esque" Republican Jackie Walorski;

-- Kentucky's 6th, where incumbent Democrat Ben Chandler is facing off against Republican Andy Barr, whom Democrats call a "criminal" for using a fake ID when he was 18;

-- North Carolina's 11th, where incumbent Democrat, ex-NFL QB, and Blue Dog Heath Shuler (running away from Pelosi) is up against Republican Jeff Miller in a generally Republican district;

-- Florida's 22nd, where incumbent Democrat Ron Klein is up against Republican Allen West in a beachfront district that does not include any of Miami-Dade; and

-- Connecticut's Senate race, where state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, contronts high-profile Republican Linda McMahon of the WWE.

The polls showed Donnelly and Chandler with narrow leads. The question is whether they can hold on against the Republican "wave." Blumenthal should win in Connecticut, but it might be close -- and a Republican surge could put McMahon over the top. West was up and could flip that district. And a loss for Shuler, who is very popular, would be a terrible sign for Democrats, even if it makes sense that his district would go Republican again.

So where are we now?

-- Walorski is currently up 55-40 with 17 percent reporting, but the race hasn't yet been called.

-- Chandler is currently up 53-47 with 61 percent reporting -- also not yet called.

-- Shuler is down 56-44, but... 0 percent reporting? 

We shall see.

R.K. Barry: "GOP polling guru Frank Luntz is predicting Republicans will win seven Senate seats and 50 House spots, based on exit polls he had seen. On a conference call with associates from K Street, Luntz also said he thinks Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will win reelection."

Hey, that's sort of in line with my own predictions! I always knew Luntz and I were of one mind. But can it really be that Reid hangs on? -- MJWS

R.K. Barry: "According to Washington Wire, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said late this afternoon that Democrats are 'on pace to maintain the majority in the House of Representatives.' I know politicians have to say things like this, but I kinda wish I lived in a world where they didn't. Sorry, Nancy, this isn't going to happen, and you know it, but you're just doing your job, I get it."

8:04 pm - And Christine "I'm neither a witch nor a masturbator" O'Donnell... loses. What a massive triumph for Chris "I am not a Marxist" Coons and the Democrats! Huge!

No, not really. This one was a given, a lay-up... nay, a slam-dunk. It's just that so much media attention, including at this blog, was wasted on this race, and particularly on one of the most ridiculous candidates we've ever seen, so much so that all that attention distracted us, detracting attention from more competitive races and more serious, if similarly extreme, Republicans, like Toomey in Pennsylvania and Buck in Colorado.


8:10 pm - Latest Senate projections: Jim DeMint, one of the GOP's craziest and most extreme, wins in South Carolina. He's clobbering Alvin Greene -- remember him, one of the worst candidates of all time? And -- this is much bigger -- Marco Rubio has won in Florida, that great bastion of democracy. It was never going to be all that close, not with Charlie Crist running as an independent and the non-Rubio vote split between him and Democrat Kendrick Meek. Remember all that much ado from a few days ago? Yeah, whatever. Rubio has a pretty face, and may very well be a leading Republican for years to come, but he's still very much at home in the right-wing insanitarium.

8:17 pm - Crap. Incumbent Democrat Tom Perriello, who appeared on Colbert last week and who has embraced Obama, is behind in Virginia's 5th, 55-43 with 64 percent reporting.

R.K. Barry: Given the exit polls, "Republicans might want to show a little humility tonight."

Prediction: They won't. -- MJWS

8:21 pm - Hey, at least ABC News fired Andrew Breitbart, before he even started. Score a point for media sanity.

R.K. Barry: "CNN has called for Chris Coons in Delaware as was widely expected. Earlier in the evening there were reports that Coon's campaign was uncomfortable with lower voter turnout in key districts they needed to come in big. It turned out either not to be true or not to matter, but I did have a few stomach-churning moments at the thought of O'Donnell in the Senate. The Republicans are no doubt glad to see the back of this women.

8:26 pm - CNN's "greatest political team on television," or whatever the hell it's called, is annoying me already, and I've only been watching for, like, 30 seconds. Bill Bennett and then James Carville? Oh, the horror.

8:32 pm - So long, Blanche Lincoln. While I hate to see the Democrats lose a Senate seat, and while I suppose I supported your re-election (while holding my nose), your riddance is good.

8:33 pm - And Blumenthal wins in Connecticut! There you go. One bellweather down.

8:34 pm - And, dammit, Republican incumbent Richard Burr has defeated Democrat Elaine Marshall in North Carolina's Senate race. It was an uphill battle, and the result is hardly a surprise, but still. I followed this race close, not least because I was on Marshall's mailing list, and it's a shame.

R.K. Barry: "CNN reports the following comments from Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle after she voted when asked what her first priority would be if elected. Her response: 'Well I think it's the first act of business that the people of America and the people of Nevada want, and that is: Repeal Obamacare and to make the tax cuts permanent. And that should happen even before we're sworn in.' Go Harry Go!!!!!!!!!"

8:39 pm - Another big win for the Democrats: Gov. Joe Manchin has beaten right-wing extremst Republican John Raese (global warming denier, etc.) in West Virginia's Senate race. No, no, I'm not getting too excited. The Republicans will still walk away with the House tonight. But there are some victories still worth celebrating, and this is one of them -- even if Manchin is hardly a progressive.

R.K. Barry on Manchin's win: "A win for the Democrats is a win, I guess, even though he pretty much ran to the right of every other Democratic candidate across the country. Ain't politics grand?"

9:05 pm - Sorry, just putting together "Mike's Blog Round Up" for Crooks and Liars tomorrow, looking for posts that will still be relevant once tonight is over. (Here's today's round-up, by the way.)

9:06 pm - Rand Paul on the teevee: "We're here to take our government back!" So sickening. "Tonight, there's a Tea Party tidal wave..." Ugh. Fiscal sanity, balanced budgets, limited government. Uh-huh. Sure. Then cut the military and the national security state. Don't take out your right-wing ideological extremism on the vast majority of Americans who actually like much of what government does and who need government to protect them from the brutality of the market Rand promotes.

9:09 pm - But Kirsten Gillibrand won in New York. Which is great. I was skeptical of her at first (to put it mildly), after Gov. Paterson tapped her to fill Hillary's seat, but she's been, from what I can tell, an excellent senator, including on such issues as same-sex marriage and DADT repeal.

R.K. Barry: "On MSNBC, Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow are interviewing some generic Republican member of Congress and asking over and over again what government programs she would cut to pay for extending the Bush-era tax cuts. I have to give her credit, she spoke at length and said absolutely nothing. I am impressed with the discipline of these Republicans while disgusted with their duplicity. Will their supporters ever catch on? Hard to say.

9:16 pm - CNN projects that the Republican Party will win control of the House. "This is a major, major projection," trumpets Wolf Blitzer. Yes, yes -- as predicted by pretty much everyone. The question is whether Republicans will pick up closer to 39 or closer to 70. Either way, get ready for Speaker Boner, er, Boehner. (And Wolf and John King hand it off to... Bill Bennett. What a crock o' shit.)

9:19 pm - And there's Mary Matalin. Fantastic. And she thinks Boehner will be amazing.

R.K. Barry: "Rand Paul is now giving his victory speech. I find it interesting that he used the phrase, 'we've come to take our government back.' He didn't say, 'we have come to take our country back.' Is that something different? Is that a slightly moderated tone? Even still, this is the guy who is going to give the GOP leadership in Congress the biggest headache. Incredible arrogance."

9:26 pm - And here comes Rubio. I need a drink. "A rising star in the Republican Party," Wolf helpfully reminds us. A double.

9:36 pm - O'Donnell's concession speech. How sweet it is -- if also full of her usual nonsense. "The Republican Party will never be the same," she happily avers. "This is just the beginning." Is that a threat? A warning? A promise? I certainly hope the GOP keeps running candidates just like her. (And now, dearest Christine, I must take my talents to South Beach. Kidding. Maybe.)

R.K. Barry: "Democrat Kristen Gillibrand holds her Senate seat in New York. Good to see my absentee ballot being put to such good use. Now to see if incumbent Democrat John Hall can hold NY-19, my home district. That'll be a tight one."

R.K. Barry: "As I listen to Rubio's speech, I am reminded how well these guys were able to run away from the Bush legacy. Two years later and they act like they never heard of the guy. And the amazing thing is that they are getting away with it. How can that be?"

9:41 pm - CNN's Ali Velshi -- a Canadian, I think -- reports that, according to the exit polls, the vast majority of Americans think the economy is in bad shape. No, really? You don't think that might have something to do with Republicans doing well against the party in power, do you?

9:46 pm - Nevada polls are set to close at the top of the hour. Obviously, the Reid-Angle race has been one of the most closely-watched, including by us here at The Reaction. As the Las Vegas Sun's Jon Ralston reports, Democrats had just over a two-point advantage in early and mail-in ballots going into today. Meaning:

-- "If Harry Reid is not ahead when those first numbers pop up on Election Night – the tallies of the early and absentee votes – he probably will lose."

-- "These numbers indicate Angle probably needs a double-digit win among independent and other voters. If Reid can keep that margin in single digits, he probably will be re-elected."

Ralston has actually predicted a Reid win. Hmmm. This one could be very, very close. I suppose it will also depend if the unions turned out for Reid. 

9:52 pm - Other big Senate races: Bennet leads Buck in Colorado, Sestak leads Toomey in Pennsylvania, and Giannoulias leads Kirk in Illinois. But, as expected, Feingold is losing in Wisconsin. That will be a huge loss for the Democrats. (What other genuine progressives do we have in the Senate?)

And, yes, Alan Grayson has lost in Florida's 8th -- by a lot. Too bad. He's been one of the few Democrats willing to stand up to and not take any shit from Republicans.

9:57 pm - Deval Patrick is well ahead in his quest for re-election as governor of Scott Brown's Massachusetts. Looks like the state, where I once lived, has come to its senses again.

R.K. Barry: "ABC news is reporting that on her first appearance on Fox News' election coverage tonight, Sarah Palin said that it's 'time for unity' between the Tea Party candidates and the GOP establishment. Not sure what this means, especially in light of recent reports that the GOP establishment is trying to find a way to throw Sarah under the bus. I'm still not sure they'll be able to play nice. I just don't see it."

R.K. Barry: "Rand Paul said that there is no rich, no middle class, and no poor, because we are all interconnected. This is a very peculiar man. He also said that he was going to get to work setting up a Tea Party Caucus in Congress. Oh boy, this is going to be fun."

10:00 pm - Grassley wins in Iowa. Ho-hum. McCain wins. Obviously. This is anti-immigrant Arizona we're talking about, and he conveniently turned into a right-wing Minuteman extremist during the campaign. Vitter wins in Louisiana. Family values! Oh... wait

Check out our very own Mustang Bobby's election-night post.

R.K. Barry: "The Sacramento Bee reports the following age breakdown for the vote to legalize marijuana in California: Voters aged 18 to 39 generally support Proposition 19 by slim margins, but the measure is trailing among voters 40 and older. Respondents 65 and older also reported voting no. So what's this among Boomers? Do as I say, not as I did?

10:22 pm - Let's look at those bellweathers again (see 7:34 entry).

-- Donnelly is clinging to a narrow lead over Walorski in Indiana, 48-47 with 99 percent reporting.

-- Chander and Barr are locked in a dead-heat in Kentucky, 50-50 with 98 percent reporting. Chandler holds a lead of less than 900 votes.

-- Shuler has won in North Carolina, and quite easily, 54-46 (with 97 percent reporting).

-- West is up over Klein in Florida, 55-45, but with just 42 percent reporting. This looks like it could be a loss for the Dems, but not really a surprise in a fairly conservative district that was redistricted to Republican advantage.

-- Blumenthal has beaten McMahon in Connecticut, as I mentioned.

-- And, in Massachusetts, Frank is up by 17 points, 57-40, with 85 percent reporting. That's a fairly decisive victory.

R.K. Barry: "Chris Matthews just asked Michelle Bachmann if she still thought the media should investigate Democratic members of Congress for un-American attitudes. She obviously and incredibly ignored the question every time it was asked, while offering the same tired speaking points from the Republican platform. Matthews was hilarious when he asked Bachmann if she was in a trance. Good moment."

10:31 pm - The idiots on CNN are talking about what spending to cut. Begala is occasionally okay, and Roland Martin is usually fine, but it's basically a phony discussion about nothing.

10:32 pm - Bill Bennett comes out against marijuana! Hoo-wah. But how about gambling?

10:40 pm - Sestak narrowly ahead of Toomey in Pennsylvania. I'm worried about this one. As John King is showing us, as I type, Sestak is doing extremely well in Philadelphia -- but will it be enough? 

10:42 pm - Toomey just took the lead. 

R.K. Barry: "Andrew Cuomo has been elected governor of New York. Now Carl Paladino can go away and, if we are very lucky, we will never have to speak his name again. I was raised a proud New Yorker and am glad to see some sanity prevail in the Empire State."

10:55 pm - Feingold loses. Alas.

11:01 pm - Good exit poll numbers from California (Boxer over Fiorina, Brown over Whitman), and even from Washington (Murray over Rossi). 

11:02 pm - South Carolina, one of the craziest states in the Union, deserves Nikki Haley. Sarah Palin loves her. Enough said. And it doesn't matter that she's Indian and a woman. Crazy is crazy. Extreme is extreme.

11:15 pm - I'm taking a short break. Be back soon. 

11:23 pm - Okay, so here's what I'm drinking... a nice "very small batch" bourbon whisky I picked up when I was down in Pittsburgh a while back. (Actually, I bought it at a Giant Eagle somewhere north of the city.) It's called Jefferson's, bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky. Yes, the state that elected Rand Paul. Still. It's a fine, fine beverage, and very smooth.

11:29 pm - A few minutes ago, John King -- why am I watching CNN? -- almost gleefully noted how red his map is, calling the Republican wave a "shellacking." But it is? Republicans are doing extremely well, in terms of flipping seats, in the economically depressed industrial heartland, in purplish states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, where one would expect the party in power (i.e., the Democrats) to do poorly in a time of economic difficulty. Isn't that what's happening here? It's the economy, stupid -- combined with a frenzied Republican base, an unaroused Democratic base (certainly compared to '08), and a whole lot of fear, anger, bitterness, and resentment among huge swathes of the electorate. It would actually be surprising if this weren't happening, if Democrats were somehow holding onto power in the House. Remember, the Republicans lost seats in '82, Reagan's first midterms. What's more, many of the seats Democrats are losing are basically Republican seats that they picked up in '06 or '08, riding those Democratic waves. And these are midterms, elections with low voter turnout and a generally older electorate -- this is also why midterms often go conservative. (And the wave that swept Obama to the Oval Office in '08 just isn't there this year.) AND -- While Republicans are winning the House, they aren't winning the Senate -- at least, it doesn't look like it. It's not like this is some massive repudiation of the president or of the Democratic agenda generally (which, by the way, has been rather moderate/centrist). But such an explanation won't do for the media, which prefer the sensational over the true. So aggravating.

R.K. Barry: "Now it's Wolf Blitzer's turn to ask a Republican what he would cut to make government smaller, Eric Cantor in this case. And again the Republican ignores the question. There really ought to be a protocol among journalists that they, and by extension the American people, will not tolerate being disrespected by this kind of crap. It is all too much. Republicans like to say that they are tired of "inside-the-beltway politics," but this is the worst example of that very thing. Hypocrisy you say? I'm shocked!"

11:41 pm - Boehner speaks. He appears less orange than usual. (Again, though, this isn't about some grand message being sent by "the American people.")

11:45 pm - Boehner: "This is not a time for celebration." Fine, and he did say he was open to working with Obama, but we all know he's full of shit, right? The Republicans aren't about to do anything different, anything that's never been done before. (Oh, here come the tears! How phony is this guy? And the crowd chants "USA! USA USA!" Jingoism while the empire collapses.) They aren't about to slash spending, and they aren't about to impose limited government. This is a party that is all about tax cuts for the wealthy, cutting those specific programs that help the worst off in society, pandering to its corporate backers (yes, the K Street lobby is back in business!), running up massive deficits, and, more so since Bush-Cheney, enhancing unchecked executive authority and the national security state at the expense of civil liberties. It talks big about the Constitution, but it's really all about distorting the Constitution to fits its radical right-wing ideology. Boehner can say what he wants, and he may even be somewhat sincere, but his party, especially in the House, with a caucus that is certainly on the far right, won't let him do anything that smacks of compromise, let alone appeasement. It will paralyze government, and hurt the American people, to score as many political points as it can and to keep its base as angry and fearful as possible. Period.

R.K. Barry: "Both Marco Rubio and Eric Cantor have been thanking America for giving them (Republicans) another chance. It's frustrating because they are still all about the same old tired and failed fiscal conservatism, but the line is obviously working with enough voters. My god, two years ago these guys drove the economy into the ground and now they have the nerve to claim to be it's saviour? Social amnesia indeed." 

11:57 pm - CNN calls the Senate for the Democrats. A dramatic turn of events? No, not at all. Though there has been a good deal of wishful thinking on the right and among pundits, a massive "sweep" (a word I just saw in a Yahoo! headline) was never likely. And yet, again, this is being treated as a huge Republican win. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

11:58 pm - Boxer beats Fiorina, projects CNN. At least this failed CEO won't be heading to the Senate to line up as a good Republican partisan.

12:07 am - And another big California win: Brown beats Whitman for governor. He's baaaaack! ("You can't necessarily buy an election," says Wolf, referring to Whitman's massive spending, much of it her own money. But you can sure try. And she did.)

12:15 am - I'm a Democrat, and proud of it, but it is unfortunate that someone like Charlie Rangel, despite all his many (ethical) problems, can win re-election yet again by a massive margin, 82-9.

Other races of interest:

-- It looks like John Hall is going down in New York's 19th. He's currently down 54-46. Mr. Barry will not be amused.

-- Patty Murray is up by a bit in Washington, 51-49, with 54 percent reporting. 

12:20 am - John King just used the word "shellacking" again. Please. What we're seeing is a turnover in the House, that's it. Sure, a fairly sizable turnover, but hardly anything so dramatic.

12:21 am - These two are hard to take: CNN projects Pat Toomey the winner in Pennsylvania, beating Joe Sestak for Senate, and John Kasich the winner in Ohio, beating the incumbent Ted Strickland for governor. Given all the electoral problems in Ohio, having a Republican as governor will put Democrats at a major disadvantate. The GOP also won the governorship in Pennsylvania, with Tom Corbett beating Dan Onorato. Looks like there just wasn't enough urban/black turnout. And, of course, Toomey, while seemingly less extreme than many of the GOP crazies who ran this year (O'Donnell, Angle, Buck, Raese, etc.), is still a hardcore conservative.

12:26 am - Oh right, that's right-wing blowhard blogger Erick Erickson on CNN's panel. I think I just tried to pretend otherwise whenever he opened his mouth. And there's the vicious Ed Rollins, too. And the idiotic Alex Castellanos. How is this at all balanced? Maybe I'll turn over the MSNBC to see what's going on. But what would be the point?

12:32 am - Mark Kirk beats Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois. No Republican gain is good, but this is hardly a great loss for the Democrats. Obama likes him, but his tenure at Broadway Bank from '02 to '06 was marred by bad loans -- the bank was seized by the state earlier this year.

12:37 am - In Colorado, Michael Bennet holds a narrow lead over Ken Buck, 48 to 47, with 68 percent reporting. 

12:38 am - So it is being reported that Obama is already reach out across the aisle. Good luck with that.

12:39 am - And... Harry Reid... beats... Sharron Angle... in Nevada. Wow. Looks like a solid victory, too. Nice call, Jon Ralston. But does this mean Reid gets to be minority leader? Haven't we had enough of him? (Of course, he won this race mainly because the Republican elected an incredibly terrible candidate.)

12:45 am - Bush has now pulled ahead of Bennet, 49-46, with 72 percent reporting. This can't be... and with Democrats generally doing fairly well in Colorado this year, including winning the governorship, with John Hickenlooper at 51 percent, independent (i.e., crazy Republican nativist) Tom Tancredo at 37 percent, and Republican Dan Maes a distant third at 11 percent.

12:51 am - Is it just me or does Dana Bash look like she belongs in a Munch painting? 

Here's a selection of recent tweets from Creature:

-- "Wow. Harry Reid did it. Big Tea Party fail."

-- "At a minimum Reid's win helps change the narrative toward the positive for Dems. So thrilled."

-- "Trying to stay positive, but a Boehner led House so depresses me." 

12:57 am - No marijuana legalization in California. Proposition 19 goes down 56-44. I guess even California isn't ready for it yet. Yet.

12:59 am - John King playing "what if" games: What if Republicans had nominated moderates instead of Angle and O'Donnell. But they did nominate Angle and O'Donnell and many, many other extremists around the country. That's who the Republicans are these days. Why not play the game from the other side. What if there hadn't been any sort of Tea Party "movement" this year? Or what Bush and the Republicans hadn't screwed the economy and left Obama and the Democrats with a mess? Oh, but that wouldn't fit the pro-Republican narratives that, predictably enough, the media are pushing.

1:06 am - Some thoughts from my friend Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly's Political Animal:

-- On Dan Coats's win in Indiana: "Indiana will replace Evan Bayh (D) with an old, wealthy Washington insider, who left Indiana more than a decade ago, and who's spent several years as a corporate lobbyist. This, of course, is evidence of the public's desire for a fresh, new perspective in Congress, with senators who can relate to regular people." (Hypocrisy or ignorance? From voters, a lot of both this year.)

-- On Joseph Cao's loss in Louisiana: "Rep. Joseph Cao (R) lost in a very Democratic New Orleans district today. There aren't many of these red-to-blue House districts this year, but this was one Dems expected to win." (Republicans can't stand the guy. Too moderate, too willing to work with Obama.)

-- On Russ Feingold's loss in Wisconsin: "NBC is reporting that Sen. Russ Feingold (D) really is going to lose. The polls all showed this as practically inevitable, but it still seems incomprehensible. The guy who beat Feingold is, as regular readers know, Ron Johnson. To say he's not ready for prime time is a dramatic understatement. It's bizarre that he even ran for the U.S. Senate; that he's actually won is ridiculous." (It's a crazy year dominated by crazy candidates and crazy politics.)

-- On Patrick Murphy's loss in Pennsylvania: "There have been some real heartbreakers tonight, but the apparent loss of Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) in Pennsylvania is just awful. Patrick was not only the first veteran of this Iraq War to get elected to Congress, he was also a forceful champion of DADT repeal." (I agree, a really bad loss for Dems -- and for the country.)

-- On Rand Paul's win in Kentucky: "Maybe it's just me, but I still find it odd that Kentucky would elect to the U.S. Senate an odd, self-accredited ophthalmologist who doesn't know much about public policy, the state he lives in, or even his own political ideology. Sure, we knew he'd win, but that doesn't make this any less bizarre." (It's a crazy and bizarre year.)

1:22 am - Did I mention that my election predictions were picked up by the Times earlier today (er, rather, yesterday) -- specifically at the Opinionator blog, which put me in with the likes of Nate Silver (who's been live-blogging as well), Larry Sabato, Charlie Cook, Mark Blumenthal, and Markos Moulitsas? I predicted a Republican gain of 47-52 in the House. I actually ended up going with 49. It looks like I was way too optimistic, and way off, with the GOP poised to pick up at least 60 seats, beyond even Silver's forecast. So much for Democratic under-representation in the polls, so much for great Democratic turnout. I'm doing much better on the Senate side, where I predicted a 6-seat GOP gain. Oh well.

1:44 am - By the way, the Tea Party hasn't come to power, as the Times suggests. It won some seats and is a major force, perhaps the major force in the Republican Party, but Democrats still control the White House and the Senate. What will be interesting is not so much what these Teabaggers do in office but what happens to the GOP now that they've gotten a taste of victory. They are deeply arrogant and self-righteous, but they don't have any sort of mandate to govern, and, ultimately, I think the Republican Beltway establishment that made peace with the Tea Party and indeed co-opted it (just as, in a way, the Tea Party co-opted the GOP) will have problems dealing with these right-wing radicals who hold Washington, and democracy generally (including the political process), in such contempt.

1:47 am - Alright, that's it for me, for tonight. I'm exhausted, and this post is already probably the longest I've ever written. We're still waiting on Colorado (where Buck is narrowly ahead), Washington (where Murray is narrowly ahead), and Alaska (where write-in Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski leads Republican Teabagger Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams 40-34-25), but I need some sleep.

1:50 am - Harry Reid is at the podium. "Today you made possible what many called impossible." I'm afraid not. What happened was that Angle was too crazy and too extreme, an insane choice for Republicans. And Nevada didn't really choice to go forward -- what it chose was the lesser of two bad candidates. Look, I'm happy that Reid won, I really am. And, on the whole, while this was a bad night, it is time to move on. And I hope Reid is serious about wanting to keep fighting. But for what? For concessions to Republicans? That just won't do. If he's the minority leader, he'll need to do better.

1:53 am - Good night, everyone. Thanks for being here. I can't say it's been fun, or pleasurable, but it had to be done, and we have to keep fighting for the liberal-progressive values we believe in. This is a major setback for America, to be sure, but that's all the more reason not to give up.

Take care, and be good to one another. We'll be back with more, much more, later today.

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  • 538.com is predicting upper 50's at this point, but it's still quite early

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:53 PM  

  • At the moment I would say ... mixed.

    Hill is losing in IN, which would suggest a Republican blow out. And Hill is losing badly.

    BUT, Yarmuth has already been declared winner.
    Yarmuth voted pretty straight down the progressive line in a Moderate KY district.
    And he is winning as decisively as Hill is losing.

    If BOTH had lost, it would be a very bad predictor for a long horrid night for the Dems.

    I think this may hold true through the night. Suggesting your projections are low. But projections of 70+ seat gains are pipe-dreams too.

    By Anonymous chromehawk, at 8:01 PM  

  • The 56-44 Shuler report was for absentee voting.
    That is how you see some races called based on 0% reporting.

    i.e. FLA has been called for Rubio due to a 400,000 vote lead on the pre-election votes.
    Basically, they are saying that is unsurmountable.

    The second thing you will see is things like Yarmuth declared winner with 68% but Chandler not with 61%.
    The networks and "experts" will hold off or jump ahead based on the area.

    For example, if Patty Murray were to beleading here in Whatcom county, they would call the election for her without even looking at the main Seattle counties. She is expected to lose this county.

    By Anonymous Chromehawk, at 8:21 PM  

  • Thanks, Chromehawk.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 8:38 PM  

  • Nancy Pelosi, the person who knew how to run her chamber, herd her members, get progressive legislation passed and even at times get Republicans to come along, loses her job while the ineffectual Harry Reid who can't lead anything, will be put back in charge of a smaller majority when he didn't even know what to do with a bigger one. The Dems owe to themselves to vote him out as Majority Leader since he's the worst Senate Democratic Leader in modern history and get someone who will be better equipped to fight, be it Durbin or Schumer or Harkin or hell any Senate Democrat whose name isn't Harry Reid (or Ben Nelson or Mary Landrieu).

    By Blogger Edward Copeland, at 3:10 AM  

  • "John King just used the word "shellacking" again. Please. What we're seeing is a turnover in the House, that's it. "

    Give the bitter a rest and quit the same old narrative. 'turnover, that's it'? The biggest turnover in over 65 years. Yeah. No big deal....

    Do what the GOP did and have some introspection for once. Your party took a hard left turn in a center-right country, this is a reprimand on that failure to represent the people. Adjust your party and quit condescending the people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:53 AM  

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