Despite the billions of (often anonymous–thank you Citizens United) dollars poured into this year’s elections, democracy prevailed. It did so largely because millions of people participated in the democratic process, voting their hearts and consciences despite the bleating ads and cynical lies.
The racist and oppressive attempts to intimidate voters and suppress turnout had a splendidly ironic effect. Turnout — especially for early voting — was high and the minority communities targeted specifically refuted the attempts. Many exit polls indicated that Latino and African American voters specifically made the effort to vote — even when disenchanted by their choices — to reinforce their constitutional right to vote in the face of efforts to disenfranchise them. Almost without exception, these voters repudiated the Tea Party right and supported the President. While the final outcome might not have changed, results in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida (at least) were helped enormously by this turnout.
And what a result! Not only did the Tea Party suffer major defeats (Goodbye, Reps. Walsh and West!) but the overall results were progressive. The new Senators are almost universally to the left of the people they replace, including wonderful people-powered winners like Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren. Women repudiated the Republican attacks on their minds and bodies, demonstrating a gender gap and voting power never seen before. Thanks in part to the President’s bold leadership, gay rights — which should never be put to a vote but sadly still are — saw unprecedented victories with marriage equality ruling the day.
Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and Citizens United poured huge sums of money into this election. They lost the top of the ticket, failed to take the Senate, and lost ground in the House. Ballot measures around the county routinely favored the people over corporate power and greed. We have a long way to go, and the President — despite his mandate — has a hostile House to contend with, but the message is clear and the direction is sound. I am enormously relieved to see that a platform of hate and marginalization of so many people failed!