The voters strike back: GOP shellacked

November 9, 2011

Looking over the election results from last night, all I can think is: It’s a good day in America.

Yes, yes, so much excitement about the defeat of the anti-union measure in Ohio, the weird “personhood” proposal in Mississippi, the fact that the Democratic governor was easily re-elected in Kentucky (land of Rand Paul), and a black woman is new mayor of Gary, Indiana.

But the craziest encouraging sign that perhaps there is some sense in the world? Arizona’s state senate president Russell Pearce, the man who wrote Arizona’s draconian immigration law, was sent packing in an historic recall election -- a thorough trouncing, in fact -- by his constituents.

Sure, he was replaced by a Republican, Jerry Lewis, but a moderate Republican, for Pete’s sake, and that’s an endangered species any sensible human being should want to save. And, sure, the Mormon Church had much to do with Pearce’s derailment but -- God! -- isn’t it great when religious institutions actually assist the meek? Plus, it makes up a little bit -- just a little itty bit -- for the Mormons’ ugly involvement in California’s Prop 8 debacle.

The cherry on top of all this would be if the Democrats actually kept the Republicans from controlling all of Virginia’s state government. Right now, it looks like the GOP has majorities in both houses, plus the governorship. A total of 86 votes may be the difference between absolute GOP control or some semblance of democracy.

But even better would be if the Democrats saw this for what it is: a warning shot that the GOP understands it’s not a majority party and won’t be playing that game much longer. Instead, the Republican party will be staking out particular territories for concentrated efforts, creating power bases to leverage national issues and policies that they can’t otherwise win. It’s a strategy born of the Tea Party, but now absolutely mainstreamed by the GOP.