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I find I'm ambivalent about the election - maybe more than I should be.

Obviously Obama's victory is great news for the country. More about that in a future post, I hope.

I'm most disappointed that California's gay marriage ban passed, writing a new form of discrimination into the state constitution. I plan to write about that one separately too.

And everything in between. I'm glad the Democrats picked up about 20 House seats, and at least five in the Senate, although it's too bad we couldn't make 60. Of the candidates I was really following, a few won (Kay Hagan, at least), more lost (Madia, Tinklenberg, Cook), and others are still too close to call (Franken, Merkley, Burner, Martin, Begich).  Maybe this just means I tend to be interested in races that are hard to win.

Californians voted for high-speed rail, but my county voted against extending the regional rail system to San Jose. We voted for more humane treatment of livestock, which I like. Anti-abortion measures failed in California, South Dakota, and Colorado. Michigan and Massachusetts passed marijuana reform. Washington will allow terminally ill patients to choose how to end their lives. Connecticut decided not to hold a constitutional convention, which means same-sex marriages will probably be legal there by the end of the month. But not in Arizona, Florida, or California, where new bans were passed. And Arkansas banned adoption by unmarried cohabitants, mostly because some unmarried couples are gay.

There's plenty of good in there along with some bad. Partly I'm disappointed because this amazing event, the election of Barack Obama, doesn't seem to have swept other needed changes in along with it.  But I think mostly what's getting to me is that so many of the losses came from the two states where I've lived most of my life. What happened, California and Minnesota? I thought we were pals!

Date: 2008-11-05 10:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dougo.livejournal.com
I didn't follow the MN senate race-- what was the deal with the third-party candidate? Any chance Minnesotans will start thinking about preference voting?

Date: 2008-11-05 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfb.livejournal.com
I'm not an expert, but it looks to me like Barkley drew about equally from both Franken and Coleman. Which means he wasn't the kind of spoiler that will get anyone passionate enough to change a voting system. Likewise, Bob Anderson took about 10% in MN's Bachmann/Tinklenberg race, but opinions differ on who those voters might have chosen second. The numbers might become clearer later.

Both St. Paul and Minneapolis have made significant moves toward instant runoff voting (for city elections), and Minneapolis has actually approved it for next year. Last I heard, though, someone was planning to challenge it on constitutional grounds. So we'll see how that goes.

Date: 2008-11-05 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dougo.livejournal.com
Regardless of the spoiler effect and which side felt more affected, I think it's still a strong argument that 42% of the vote shouldn't be enough to elect someone. Preference voting means the winner always gets a true majority, not just a plurality.

I'm [livejournal.com profile] dougo, and I approved this comment.

Grumble.

Date: 2008-11-06 04:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] suprstaticwoman.livejournal.com
Yeah, me too with the ambivalence, because Obama's election wasn't a sign of huge change. He got a huge electoral college victory, but only 51% (last I checked) of the popular vote, which means he won a lot of places, but only by a little bit. I think I had just started to feel really hopeful before the election, because even though I avoid polls and stuff, people kept saying it looked like Obama would win, and I thought that meant that other people/issues would win (or lose, as appropriate). But despite the fact (ok, opinion) that some of the candidates/issues were SO BAD, they won, often by a substantial margin. Everyone's talking about how the election of Obama changed everything, but so much didn't change. (How were Bachmann and Stevens in the running, let alone winning, after the past two weeks?) Or changed for the worse (Prop 8, I'm talkin' to you). So it was a letdown, when I thought a lot more good would happen and it didn't.

Also the rhetoric about how this (Obama's election) could only happen in America is bugging me. I mean, Nelson Mandela, for pete's sake. He actually *did* belong to radical organizations, was in prison for decades, in a country with a far more established system of legal segregation, and he became president 22 years ago, with a far smaller gap between the end of their legal segregation and his election (5 years?). Granted, I guess he wasn't in the racial minority, but with him also, it was about something bigger than race, it was about the message and the change needed, and white people helped vote him in. This kind of thing does not happen only in America.

Anyway, I'm tired and crabby, and Bachmann should not have been reelected.

Re: Grumble.

Date: 2008-11-06 05:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfb.livejournal.com
I think "changed everything" is pretty much always a foolish thing to say, but if the people who are saying it really mean this (http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/11/random-election.html), I won't hold it against them. It's bigger than bad politicians.

I haven't heard anyone say "only in America", but it sounds kind of meaningless. I mean, only in America does Obama's election mean what it means. If you follow me. So by definition the thing it means could only happen in America.

CNN.com says 53-46, by the way.

Re: Grumble.

Date: 2008-11-06 04:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] suprstaticwoman.livejournal.com
NPR was saying "only in America" repeatedly. Well, people interviewed on NPR.

Anyway, still crabby, so I'll stop.

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