2006/11/11

Election highlights

Even tho I don't actually believe in the system of American so-called democracy, I've always found watching the election returns to be a lot of fun. So here's some random observations.

1) Almost unnoted, the Green Party candidate for governor of Illinois won over 10 percent. Now would be a good time to put pressure on the Illinois Democrats to implement instant runoff voting in their own interests, since ballot access is now easier for the Greens and there's no similar third-party threat to Republicans. And, after the coming four years of Blagojevich scandals, the next election won't be quite so easy for the Democrats.

2) Greens elsewhere did badly, even where we might have expected some hope. In California the Democrat running for governor had no hope of winning and the Democrat running for Senate, Dianne Feinstein, had no hope of losing - and is a well-known shill for big-money. Yet only two percent of supposedly liberal Californians voted Green in the two races. In New Mexico, once a stronghold for Greens, the party didn't even run candidates in the Senate or governor races, which Democrats ran away with. Does anyone know what happened to the New Mexico Greens?

3) Completely unremarked upon, the first self-proclaimed socialist (so far as I know) won a Senate seat. Bernie Sanders of Vermont took the open seat in a blow-out. Sanders strikes me as more of social democrat than a socialist, but I also don't know much about him. Regardless, you'd expect the media to notice. Instead they didn't even bother to acknowledge that Sanders was running as an independent and colored Vermont blue for Democrat.

4) MSNBC commentators Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough at one point argued that the American people were demanding more nationalist policies. And I'm not using that word polemically like I usually do - they actually said "nationalist". I don't think I've ever heard mainstream types say "nationalism" when they mean nationalism.

5) The commentators were falling all over each other advising the Democrats to pursue a course of "moderation". The American people are tired of partisan gridlock, they said, and many of the newly elected Democrats are less ideological than the Congressional leadership. It's funny, because I read the exit polls as saying voters wanted to get out of Iraq, raise the minimum wage, and end government corruption. Why do the media make a fetish of moderation? Why did Harold Ford, who almost certainly lost his race for the Senate in Tennessee because of a series of racist advertisements, call for "healing" in his concession speech?

6) My favorite quote of the night comes from Rod Blagojevich, reëlected to governor of Illinois: "[when I first came to office I found] a state government more interested in serving itself than the other way around." Presumably Blagojevich has been hard at work setting things right - ie, making itself serve the state government.

2 comments:

robyn said...

Bernie's been vermont's sole house of reps person for like a decade and a half (always as a "socialist"). they love him. once i almost ran over him in burlington.

Patrick said...

Bernie's always been "considered" a Dem because he caucuses with the Dems and counts as a Dem for committee purposes. That's been his choice, and that's why Vermont gets blued every time he wins - and he's been winning for a long time.