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Democrats Win House, Senate Still Open

November 8th, 2006


Democrats take the House and maybe the Senate. No matter what happens from now, the Democrats have already exceeded expectations, especially in the Senate.

Before the election, the numbers were:


Democrats: 201
Republicans: 230


Democrats: 45
Republicans: 55

There are 435 seats in the House, so 218 is a controlling majority. The Democrats have pretty solidly won 227 at this time (Republicans have 191), and 17 seats are still in play. Some see the Dems as having 231 seats at least, which is more than the Republicans had before today. Democrats probably won’t have a rout; they will probably win with 5 or 10 more pickups than most people expected, so it’ll be a big victory, though not a huge one.

The real surprise is in the Senate. Very few, if any, expected the Democrats to win there–but now, it is still in play. The Democrats won key races in:

Pennsylvania (Casey beat Santorum, 60%-40%)
Ohio (Brown beat DeWine, 55%-45%)
Rhode Island (Whitehouse beat Chafee, 53%-47%), and
Missouri (McCaskill beat Talent, 50%-47%).

That gives Democrats 49 seats (assuming Lieberman doesn’t pull any funny stuff), with two more needed to win control of the Senate. Ford lost to the Republican Corker in Tennessee (that’s the one with the racist “call me, Harold” Playboy-party ad). Democratic long-shot Pederson did not win the Arizona seat from Kyl.

But two races are still in play. Virginia is neck-and-neck, with Democrat Jim Webb leading George “Macacca” Allen by a sliver, 49.56% to 49.24%. CNN reports that Webb has a 7,500-vote lead out of more than 2.3 million votes cast; we’ll probably see a recount there, which may string out the announcement of a winner for days. The second race in play is Montana, where Democrat Jon Tester leads Republican incumbent Conrad Burns 50%-48%, but only 74% of the vote is counted, and strongly Republican districts may swing the vote the other way.

So it’s a nail-biter for the Senate–but because a Democratic takeover was such a long-shot to begin with, the Dems will be counted as performing strongly even if both Virginia and Montana fall to the GOP.

But a full takeover of both houses of Congress would not only be a huge win for the Democrats, it would be a tremendous slap in the face for Bush. Right now Republicans can, at most, stem the damage by hanging on to a 51-seat majority, or at least retain a 50-50 Cheney tie-breaker in the Senate; anything less for them is a much greater loss. But anyone who calls anything from this point onward a Republican “victory” is blowing smoke–like Ann “I’ll say anything to piss Democrats off” Coulter claiming that anything less than a 67-seat pickup in the House and an 11-seat pickup in the Senate is a defeat for the Democratic Party. Talk about “lowering the bar.”

Other effects of what we’ve seen happen so far: Pelosi is the new Speaker, and gets credit for leading the Democratic Party to a win, and Howard Dean wins a lot of respect for his 50-state rebuilding effort, which will be credited with helping Democrats win where we frankly did not expect to do so strongly.

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  1. Tim Kane
    November 8th, 2006 at 22:33 | #1

    Not the end, Not the beginning of the end, but perhaps, the end of the beginning.

    I couldn’t be more satisfied then a democratic sweep of both houses.

    But I want more. We need two years, at least, of control of all three elected branches to undo six years of damage, to fix a system that went haywire in the first place, and to repair lives, reputations, economics, healthcare, education, and find a way to take corporations out of the electoral process.

    The big issue turns out to be corruption, and when you think about it, Iraq really is a manifestion of that corruption, in so many ways.

    It appears the Democrats have a mandate to conduct oversite and inquiry into the corruption that has reigned over the last six years.

    This is important, as there is a need to keep the Republicans pinned to the mat for the next two years.

    The danger is power corrupts. If the Democratic leadership is smart it will implement rules and proceedures immediately to minimize the possibility of corruption among their own, as well as the institutions they manage more broadly. Democrats need to become the party of professionalism, competancy, honesty and openess, all the while they are spending the next two years exposing all the dirty linen inside Bush’s party and the Republican party.

    The Republican corruption and incompetance being so massive and for so long, creates an enormous opportunity for the Democrats to look positively sterling by way of comparison, and if they do it right, perhaps decades.

    I am a democrat because I believe that their policies work better then republican and they will. Clinton gave us 50% increase in economic growth in 8 years. The next Democratic president could do even better then that if they implement new healthcare and creat more level bargaining power for workers and thus release enormous amounts of demand and purchasing power.

    As the enlightened Buddha might say, paradise is just the next thought away.

    If the Dems can conduct themselves professionally the next two years, and with a little luck, there is no reason they can’t have strong majorities in and the presidency in two years. From that point on things could really take off for them. Enormous economic growth, balanced budgets, sound management of government, universal healthcare, sound retirements, better education, the kind of paradise that Europeans have been able to enjoy.

    Internationally, this would mean that social democracy would get a new momentum, and a possibility towards growing towards global harmonic convergence in economics, law, politics, etc… with only the Islamic and Subsaharan African states the outliers.

    Energy? There’s enormous potential there, and enormous work to do. But imagine what rural America would look like if we got our energy from those states in either liquified coal, biomass, or nuclear generation? Perhaps a little bit like Doha, or Abu Dahbi, or Dubai etc….

    The Republicans are in real jeapardy of sliding into the trap they set for Democrats to fall into. No doubt they are aware of the Rodney Dangerfield affect: If you want to look skinny, stand next to someone fatter than you. If you couple Democratic zenith as I am predicting to be possible, with the Clinton years, and then contrast them with Bush I, Bush II, and even the Reagan years, well, one looks like Jessica Rabbit, and the other like Mama Cass.

    I hope that yesterday was the begining of something really great to come, for America and the World, and that some day we will look back on these years the same way we look back on WWII and the Cold War – as harrowing years followed by the proper victory.

    And so, maybe, truth marches on.

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