Elections and Celebrations: Inclusion beats Division

7 Nov

The hug felt round the world.

I have to confess, I was more nervous yesterday evening than I realized. When the media began to call the election for President Obama, I felt so relieved. A message of hope still resonated enough to bring victory. The President coasted to a solid electoral victory and is winding up with a comfortable popular vote edge. Now he has a chance to build on the past four years, continuing to move us past the mess he inherited and pushing real reforms.

The message was broader that just the Presidency. Numerous votes last night sent the same message. Inclusion beats division.

Despite defending more than twice as many seats, the Democrats stand to gain strength in the Senate. Not just in numbers, but in quality, as people like Joe Lieberman were replaced by quality Senators like Chris Murphy. The 19 (maybe 20) women in the next Senate sets a record. One of those women, Tammy Baldwin, will be the first openly gay senator.

Gay rights also ruled the ballot box. For the first time ever states began to put inclusion on the books as Maryland and Maine comfortably passed marriage equality measures. Washington looks poised to do the same. Minnesota is on the brink of being the first state to shoot down a one-man-one-woman constitutional amendment. Despite the same tired old lies, inclusion beat division.

The pundits (especially on the right) will point to the margins of victory and say the President does not have a mandate. The electoral landscape disagrees. The cynical right lost and lost big. Tea party candidates cost the Republicans two Senate seats (Indiana and Missouri). Strong messages of inclusion allowed people-powered candidates like Elizabeth Warren to emerge victorious. Even though the Republicans held the House — and Michele (I spent 18 million dollars to barely win) Bachmann clung onto her seat by the tips of her claws — two of the nastiest members — Joe Walsh (IL) and Allen West (FL) — were defeated. The victors weren’t blue dogs or DINOs, either; they are strong Democrats who believe in the President and his message of hope and reform.

The demographics are also encouraging. As Democratic pundit Van Jones remarked, “the coalition held.” Younger voters, voters of color, women, and other minorities showed up in strength despite all the predictions and helped drive the results. Despite all the efforts on the right to make people vote against their own best interests, inclusion beat division.

Elections have consequences. The message of this election is clear. Bipartisanship does not mean giving in to the far right at every turn. Coalitions must be built and progress must come more quickly. The President’s policies were given a mandate. Congress needs to work with him to enact them and forge a stronger nation with greater opportunities for all.

10 Responses to “Elections and Celebrations: Inclusion beats Division”

  1. Didion November 7, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Oye! Now, Michael, how will we get our attention spans back after the many distractions of the past few months? Good lord, my brain is just like a pinball machine.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

      I know just what you mean, Didion. The election has been so all-consuming it’s hard to imagine what will fill the space.

  2. Labyrinth-Living November 7, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Much t.o celebrate, thankful for the results.

  3. natalienm November 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    I cried last night and again this morning when I was reading the election results. It just makes me so proud to see the progress that is beginning. It gives me hope that this nation will better for the next generation.

  4. Daphiny November 8, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    I know for like the first hour, I was a nervous wreck and let my mind run wild thinking of how the world was going to be , lol… Then the real numbers started coming in fast and furious and President Obama flew past Mitt Romney and I was thinking WOW Wheres the close race ond/or the close electoral crap??? Boy did they do a good job of pulling blinders on all of us, inclduding the Liberal media, they were believe and thus reporting how close it was. Unless everyone they called or polled lied…… Which would be funny, I got way more calls than one person shouldve ever, I was a sure bet lol … But in the end ……..The right man won and I look forward to him being able to finish the progress and recovery he started, now no one will get the credit for his hard work which he started…So,. I love you all , no matter how you voted, lol , and I hope you all respect my right too…. You dont have the right to BIT#H unless you VOTE … LOVE YA …………..BIG HUGS Daphiny

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 8, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      I always love your comments! I feel hopeful now that we will continue to move forward. Yes, it is somewhat difficult to hear people gripe if they did not vote!

  5. Jay November 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Next: the “Fiscal Cliff.” Bye-bye Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? I’ll believe it when I see it. If a Grand Bargain is impossible from the lame duck Congress, I hope the extension of the current tax/spending regime is quite short–three months, say, so the new Congress has to address that thorny set of interlocking problems right away.

    A big immigration reform bill is another strong possibility from the new Congress. That is one area where Establishment Republicans may be able to prevail over the tea bagging wing-nuts who have come to dominate the Republican caucus.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm #


      I am always so appreciative of your consistently thoughtful comments! Yes, let us hope that the lame duck Congress will stand strong against the obstructionists and be ready call the ever weeping Boehner’s bluff. I am trying desperately to sit in a hopeful place and to hold that hope and nurture it.

      With great affection, dear friend.

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