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November 05, 2008

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When the Soviet Union fell the appartchiks and KGB agents were not raptured away. A Pity.

There's a lot of work left to do here. This is only the start. I think President-elect Obama is well aware of that fact.

the election was close

Yglesias points out that 52% is the highest margin of popular vote victory for a non-incumbent presidential candidate since 1952.

Yeah, I'm pretty disappointed by everything except the top of the ticket (an IN and NC and VA flipping blue). Not much in the House, Prop 8 passing in CA, Coleman and Begich going down in squeakers. Michelle Bachmann kept her seat. With so many narrow losses across the board, it looks like the final break was for the Republicans. Ominous, particularly in a year with record turnout (both in raw numbers and percentages), the greatest imaginable ground game, jaw-dropping fundraising, and the triple-millstone of a lousy campaign, joke of a VP, and President 25% in the White House around the Republican's neck.

Yglesias is wrong. GHW Bush got 53% in 1988. Nontheless, this is the highest margin popular vote victory for a non-incumbent Democrat since 1932. That's insane.

Publius, don't knock it.

"(2) Obama lost the white vote by a decent bit"

Speaking as one of them, except for that whole "Jew" part, I'm really starting to have major doubts about their sense, to put it mildly. They seem kinda racist and nasty and creepy, and all. Ick.

It makes me want to be one of the other folks. Which would probably make some of them happier.

Sheesh.

I think a 5% margin in the popular vote is nothing to be sneezed at.

Gelman's numbers aren't broken down by region, which I'd like to see. Obama won 44% of white voters, but I suspect that number is skewed somewhat by his underperforming in the South (compared to Clinton, Kerry, Gore.)

I think a 5% margin in the popular vote is nothing to be sneezed at.

Especially given scenes like these in Chicago... and likely repeated all over the country.

A likely 11% margin in the popular vote got whittled down to 5%... can Obama do the same in 2012, or is he going to do the sane thing and make electoral reform a top priority?

This is the dems hand. If Obama plays it correctly--and I think he will--they will prosper.

But it's looking increasingly likely that the GOP is going to have both the numbers -- and the political ability -- to mount successful filibusters.

that is entirely in Harry Reid's timid little hands. the Pubs can threaten, certainly, to mount filibusters. whether that's equivalent to actually mounting one is something the Dems have complete control over.

It wasn't a perfect night, but it was a very good night.
I say if the GOP wants to filibuster in the Senate, game on. Make 'em stay up talking all night, the way they should. It may take couple months to "tenderize" them, but soon they'll be worn down.
Also, there's a big part of me that wants to see the Congressional Dems dish out some "Ham-Fisted Beatdown."

I'm with Rhino95. No more "polite and quiet" filibusters. Meet it head on. Three weeks. The public is in no mood right now for those kind of games.

And as I've commented elsewhere, I don't think McCain and Specter (and Snowe? and Collins?) sign on reflexively to party-line filibusters. McCain's coming into town on the Full Maverick express, and Specter either has to run for re-election in two years or is going to retire.

not sneezing at it -- am ecstatic about it. :)

but 5 is on the closer end of the spectrum in terms of win margin (dukasis was -8, clinton +6, mondale -18).

but that said, he won my more last night than bush did combined in 2 elections. so coming from the 2000/2004 red/blue baseline, it seems larger

He doesn't need a filibuster proof majority. He just needs the guts and the back up Pelosi and Reid to put together the legislation he wants and to put it before Congress. If the Republicans block it , then you've bot your issues for 2010. I have no problem with havingv the midterm elelctions center around debates on tax breaks for the middle class and helth reform. There are Republicans our there who will lose thier seats if it is clear to the voters that they will only vote to cut taxes for the rich and aren't willing to supporrt comprehensive health care reform.

I'm glad I'm not the first to be the buzzkill and point this out, but stepping back from things a bit, there are a lot of clouds to this silver lining, looking ahead.

Yes, this was a fairly close election which, given all the advantages Obama had, seems to validate the Fox News mantra that America is a center-right nation.

Secondly, the other historic aspect of Obama's victory is much more dubious: raising the bar in the money race to close to the one billion dollar level. We definitely gave our guy a free ride on this, but it is of immense long-term significance I think.

Third, national unity my ass. I think Obama's message of "one nation" was more pronounced than usual (basically as code for "I'm not like Jesse Jackson"), but people seem to have overlooked the fact that every anti-incumbant candidate totes the "one nation" line - George W Bush included. Make no mistake, behind the rhetoric there was plenty of base-rallying on Obama's part. In four years' time, I expect that Obama will run a much more divisive and base-rallying campaign, as all incumbant president's do. I still expect him to win that, narrowly, because it will take time for the Republicans to put themselves back together again. In the interim, look to Obama's people, like the Clintons, to make the most of a narrative of persecution in order to justify his more divisive re-election campaign.

The other factor militating against national unity is the fact that Obama himself was the insurgent candidate *within his own party*. He has a lot of debts to pay to those who stuck their neck out for him in 2007, risking the wrath of the Clintons. This will make it difficult for him to appoint any Republicans to his administration, simply because he has so many ex-Clintonites to pay back, and so many current-Clintonites to appease. Gates and Paulson would seem to be the test cases.

Fourth: the midterms in two years will be a rough ride. Congressional Dems have benefited from the economic problems twice now, they won't get the benefit of the doubt a third time, and right now it seems unlikely that things might have turned the corner enough for them to benefit.

Fifth: I think the Republican Party will be reborn again, as it was the last time, in the West. The apparent success of Proposition 8 possibly lights the way: the new Republican Party should target non-black minorities and non-immigrant groups with a message of (slightly toned-down) social conservatism and entrepreneurism. Their challenge is to hold onto their depreciating assets in the South while crafting this new coalition (and the Democrats challenge is to manage outsized expectations, particularly on the part of young voters).

Finally, George W Bush deserves recognition as an extremely extremely talented politician (not that I agree with his policies). He saw the future of the Republican Party, but failed to convince them on immigration reform (just as a Democratic Congress may thwart Obama). Not that I forgive him for it, but I do think much of his emphasis on "patriotism" and "national security" scaremongering was a short-term substitute when he and Karl Rove were blocked by their own party from creating the new Republican coalition for the future they had long planned on.

"Obama lost the white vote by a decent bit"

So what? He won the American vote by quite a lot--and last time I checked, that's the only demographic that matters.

Look, I know how this warning was intended. But the right wing and the some of the media spin a narrative on which white America is the "real" America. Democratic obsessing over their share of the white vote plays into this narrative, de-legitimizing non-white voters and making the Democrats position appear much weaker than it is. So please, stop it.

In other words, the game continues.

the new Republican Party should target non-black minorities and non-immigrant groups with a message of (slightly toned-down) social conservatism and entrepreneurism.

By which I meant non-black minorities and immigrant groups (esp. Hispanics and Asians of all varities).

But it in perspective--America went out an elected a black man named Barack Hussein Obama.

Thnk about that.

Sheesh. Talk about us lefties interanlizing rightwing abuse. Here we are the day after a man named Barack Hussien Obama won Indiana, Virginai and North Carolins, lost missouri by 335 votes, put Georgia into over time and you are already talking about how it wasn't that great a vicgtory afgter all?

That's exactly the crap that I am afriad we will be hearing fomr Reid and Pelosi: oh dear the political climate really isn't safe to deliver on our promises, the mean old Repulbicans won't vote for our agend so we will have to water it down, etc etc etc.

DO you think the Republicans ever worried about wether or not they had a mandate? As I recollect Bush claimed that he had a mandate after the Supreme Court gave him Florida!

Hell's bells.

We won big.

Jesuus H CHrist. Can't we let ourselves see that?

I mentioned this a few weeks back, but before this election, only three Democratic candidates had received 51% or more of the popular vote. LBJ in '64, FDR (four times), and Andrew Jackson. You only have to go back to Reagan to count up three Republicans that have done it, and there were many more before Reagan.

Any Democrat winning 52% is a big deal. That a black/Muslim/terrorist did so while losing almost 90% of the white vote in some states is pretty amazing, to me at least.

I am disappointed in the Senate results, as it will be much easier for the Republican Senate leaders to engage in obstructionism if they choose to.

the new Republican Party should target non-black minorities and non-immigrant groups with a message of (slightly toned-down) social conservatism and entrepreneurism.

Given the actual membership and particularly elected membership of the Republican party, there is approximately zero chance of this happening. They'll go even further towards the base, and double up on the immigrant-bashing.

I just hope the economy has turned around enough in two years that they don't win that way.

Some people just can't accept good news. An 11% margin got whittled down to 5%? That's paranoid insanity.

And which of those potential filibusterers will be in the electoral crosshairs in 2010?

"The political ability to mount filibusters"--what exactly does that mean, & what does it have to do with whether Obama's popular vote margin came from white enough voters'?

Democrats had the "political ability" to mount filibusters of most of the Bush agenda. They had enough seats. And the risk of a given Senator losing re-election over a given filibuster tend to be miniscule. Senators serve six-year terms....Democrats simply chose not to use that ability or take that small risk, because even a remote risk of losing seats was not worth preventing policies they oppose from passing. The GOP tends to calculate this differently--whether because they're more afraid of their leadership or of Club for Growth primaries, or more likely to share their base's policy priorities, or because their donor's policy priorities line up better with their voters' than the Democrats, I really have no idea. It's too bad if we don't pick up seats in Alaska, Oregon, or Minnesota (Georgia, Kentucky & Mississippi would've been nice but I wasn't expecting any of those), and that will certainly make it a lot harder to break filibusters, but talking about how Obama doesn't have enough of a mandate seems nuts to me.

When Cheney expressed his willingness to declare Democratic filibusters 'out of order', the Democrats took his threat seriously enough to cobble together an agreement limiting the circumstances under which a filibuster would be initiated.

Do these tactics only apply to Cheney? Or are they available to Bidens as well?

i'm not really talking about mandates (plus, see update). what i was trying to express is whether gop swing votes would feel political pressure to buckle under the weight of a new president. that was the point about the white vote and all that.

fwiw, i think there is a pretty whopping mandate for change. the question is whether gop senators will forced politically to recognize it.

but whatever, i sort of regret the timing of the post. it could have come later. i just read gelman's post and wrote it up.

but now is the time to be happy (and the update undermines to some extent the conclusions I took from gelman's post)

I guess I don't distinguish between "mandate" and "political pressure on opposing party not to oppose using all procedural means at their disposal." As far as the latter--there's more objective reason for the GOP to fear mounting filibusters of the Obama agenda than the Democrats to fear mounting filibusters of the Bush agenda. They've lost more Congressional seats in the last couple cycles than the Dems did in 2000, 2002, or 2004, & Obama's margin is considerably larger than Bush's. That it's "politically possible" has more to do with GOP Senators' greater willingness than the Democrats to use any procedural means available to stop policies they oppose, than on the external political pressures they face. For a variety of reasons, the Democrats in Congress just haven't delivered for their voters on policy--not before 2006 and not after. I hope it'll change with Obama's election, but I kind of doubt it.

but whatever, i sort of regret the timing of the post.

Why regret it? Seems to me just about everyone here is very happy Obama won, but if some prefer simply to exult in the moment, I don't see why others can't be free to continue to wear their analytical hats. That happens to how we won, and how we'll keep on winning.

I probably over reacted to your post, publius.

My biggest fear is that the Dems in Congress will second guess themselves into too much caution. Obama is right: his campaign swasmn't about electing him. It was about getting some fundamental changes made. He got a mandate. In order to keep that mandate he has to deliver in concrete ways to the independent or first time Dem voters who step out of their comfort zones to vote for him. They have to see a real differnce in their lives as a result of their descision to vote for him.

So he needs to step out there boldly and to ask Congress to write and pass the tax cuts , the health care that were the center peices of his campaign.

If the Dems don't rise to the ocassion--if they worry about how they can't really get the bill they want so they'll give up for now or try for someting watered down- then Obama will be seen as not delivering.'

On the other hand if they write what they want and the Republicans filibuster it then the blame for the faiure will fall on the REpublicans.

this seems obvious to me and its why I never liked the goal of a filibuster proof majority . We don't need one. We just need to either pass the right stuff or make it clear that the Republicans are obstructing so that the difference between the parties is obvious to the voters and the roles the two parties paly when it come to addressing problems is obvious as well.

The downer to me of the election is that Sarh palin is quite likely to end up in the Senate. I think I may be an AIP supporter after all.

The biggest barriers to Obama doing "big" things will likely be various special interests who want to stop the big things he has in mind and will helpfully explain why he should put off doing them, at least for a while.

Had Clinton done health care first in 1993, we'd be in much better shape today.

I hope that Obama doesn't pass up the opportunity to strike while the iron's hot.

FWIW:

The McCain/Palin campaign ended up throwing every shot from the Karl Rove magazine at Senator (now President-elect) Obama. It all bounced off. Right now, if I worked as a Republican strategist, I would feel very worried; the election of President Obama negates the most basic foundation of the Republican strategy, going back forty years. And that may well shake the willingness of individual Republican legislators to mount fierce resistance to the Democrat legislative agenda.

Keep in mind, also, that the Republican policies have failed. That matters, because you'll hear a lot from the Republicans (it has already started) that from John McCain's first "my friends" in his concession speech, the entire Republican mess landed in the Democrats' collective lap. We have to keep pointing out the extent of the mess President Obama and the new Congress will have to clean up, from the trillion dollars in new government debt between July and November to the chronic trade deficit that has saddled the United States with a total foreign debt of twelve trillion dollars. And that legacy came about almost entirely as a result of Republican policies and priorities. You have to have change, if only because the status quo won't work. Say that again: the status quo won't work. The democrats won't make change because they want to take away the plasma TVs of the rich; any government you elected would have to make change, because your government cannot continue to run in the red to the tune of a trillion dollars in three months.

Finally, you have a considerable organizing edge. Don't underestimate it. And above all, you have an assurance that you didn't have last week, that you can keep the promises made across your history.

publius,

I think your buzzkill is a case of too-clever analysis overlooking the larger picture. Here's a couple of points of counter-analysis:

1) Reagan's victory in 1980 was closer than post-1984 hagiography has made it out to be. If Obama and co. govern well then this election may take a similar position in our electoral history. It is about governance now. Let the electoral chips fall where they may, we have a country to run.

2) The Latino vote was a big part of Obama's win. He dominated McCain, gaining 8 points vs. Kerry/Bush in 2004 amongst Latinos. By way of anecdote, I can tell you that here in New Mexico the 2000 election was visually dominated by the "Viva Bush" stickers and signs that were everywhere. This year it was "Obamanos!" signs which were omnipresent. Expect more of the same in 2012, especially if Bill Richardson has a prominent role in an Obama administration.

That is the good news for the GOP. Here's the bad news: compared with virtually all of the more base-pleasing candidates avaialable for the GOP to choose from during the 2008 primaries, McCain was by a very large margin the best positioned candidate to appeal to Latino voters on immigration issues. Many of the other possible GOP contenders were absolutely toxic on that score.

Which means that for the GOP, unless they have a huge change of heart on an issue of great importance to their base, it can only get worse from here. That is going to destroy their future in the southwestern US - even Texas (which now has a state legislature almost evenly split between the two parties) will not be immune.

Go ask the California GOP and Pete Wilson how well that Faustian bargain worked out for them.

wonkie: We won big.

Jesuus H CHrist. Can't we let ourselves see that?

No, because the meme that there's nothing really wrong with US elections continues apace.

Obama won very, very big. That's fantastic, and now so that he and all the other Democratic or other-than-fascist candidates in the future don't have to achieve a landslide victory in order to scrape by on a narrow win, the US needs electoral reform.

It's great that Obama won. Wouldn't it also be great if Bush hadn't been allowed to steal Gore's victory in 2000?

F*&# that.

Democrats never win the white vote - plus what f'ing country are we in where only the white vote counts? Four points is pretty resounding for a non-incumbent vs. non-incumbent race.

Bush claimed a mandate in 2000 after LOSING the popular vote and winning the electoral college by ONE ELECTORAL VOTE. And some DLC clowns and David Brooks say OBAMA can't claim a mandate?

No f'ing deal.

The senate results mean that union card-check is dead in the water. Other than that he's got a good deal of room to maneuver on the economy, taxes, healthcare and energy - just like Bush did on education and taxes.

And those are, after all, the things he ran on.

The upshot of Gelman's analysis is that there was not any big shift to the Democrats here.

Maybe not, though the Democratic hold on certain areas seems to be strengthening. But in a sense Gelman's point is secondary. This election was not about rewarding the Democrats for their success. It was about punishing Republicans for their failures. It gives the Democrats an opportunity to do better.

If we can take advantage of that opportunity we'll get the shift.

Slaney - Bush the Lesser won by five certified electoral votes, not one.

Other than that, yeah - looks like a mandate to me.

Obama looked quite somber last night. Some of this is no doubt mourning for his grandmother, and some of it is probably sheer fatigue, but I think he also recognizes the enormity of the challenges he faces.

I'm very disappointed that we're not picking up more Senate seats (and extremely disappointed that Prop 8 looks likely to pass here in CA), but one thing gives me cause for optimism: Obama is a pragmatist. This will sometimes drive progressives crazy, but I think it also means that he will actually get things done. He will find the necessary compromises to move the country, slowly but surely, in the direction of sanity. And when the Republicans act like $%@*!# (which they surely will), Obama can use his considerable rhetorical skills to parade their obstructionism before the country.

Also, the grassroots movement that Obama helped to build is not going away. The revolution isn't over -- it's just beginning. Now is not the time to be gloomy. It's time to be hopeful, and most of all, determined.

Addendum: When I suggested that Obama could parade the Republicans' obstructionism before the country, I don't mean that he will demonize them. That's just not his style, nor do I think it would be productive. But I think Obama will be clever enough to highlight the fact the certain forces are operating in opposition to the best interests of the American public, and that the people need to make their voices heard.

"the new Republican Party should target non-black minorities and non-immigrant groups with a message of (slightly toned-down) social conservatism and entrepreneurism."

lol. I assume by entrepreneurialism you mean single payer healthcare and guarenteed minimum income? Or was that code for gutting OSHA and tax breaks for rich people?
but yes, i too see the future of the republican party in even more gay-bashing. it might take a few years, but in a decade or so that will underlie a real majority.

I fear the "lesson" the Republican opinion leaders take away from this is that even under conditions extremly to their disfavor the election was realtively close. Conclusion: if they are able to undermine the Obama administration enough, to "deglorify" him, then the next time the slime will work again and get them to 50%+1 vote after counting. I hope they go into selfdestructive mode and allow the sane/moderate ones to start afresh (maybe with a new party), but I doubt it. They need a second defeat in 2010 at minimum to "get it" that the good ol' time of slime 'n bile are over.

They aren't going to run on 2010 on slime and hate, they'll run on Obama not delivering any change. Which is why obstruction is the name of the game. Especially since obama ran on 'coming together', not being able to 'compromise' with the GOP when they counterpropose pseudopolicies to his agenda items. I think dems should really think about just declaring the nuclear options. GOP will say THATS UNCONSTITUTIONAL and obama will be busy signing popular legislation.

I think it's just wishful thinking to exaggerate the extent to which the Republican Party was defeated yesterday. McCain ran an exceptionally bad campaign, Obama had a staggering money advantage, and there was an enormous financial crisis that McCain's party was blamed for right before the election. In those circumstances, a 4-5% margin is simply not a landslide, it's just not. We'll see what happens over the next four years, but the nature of the victory - though very welcome - does not yet indicate that the Democrats are no longer the junior opposition party in presidential politics. The fact that Obama felt the need to channel Reagan so diligently in the final months confirms this: even health care reform took a back seat to the twin mantras of tax cuts and winning in Afghanistan. Those are two center-right talking points, folks, let's not kid ourselves.

This election was not about rewarding the Democrats for their success. It was about punishing Republicans for their failures. It gives the Democrats an opportunity to do better.

If we can take advantage of that opportunity we'll get the shift.

I agree with that. Let's hope they do some good, and let's hope Joe Public (no relation to the effing plumber) likes it. The good thing about the Obama reality distortion field is that it might enable him to sell some progressive policies that someone like Hilary Clinton would have made radioactive.

""(2) Obama lost the white vote by a decent bit""

Didn't he get a higher % of the white vote than Kerry, though? Or am I confused?

the red/blue map wasn't really redrawn, there was just a global shift of a few percentage points

Similarly, there wasn't an earthquake in California, the left half of the San Andreas fault just slid leftwards six feet.

Yglesias is wrong. GHW Bush got 53% in 1988.

He was incumbent veep.

Nontheless, this is the highest margin popular vote victory for a non-incumbent Democrat since 1932.

And even Roosevelt had already appeared on a presidential ticket, in 1924. When is the last time a Democrat appearing for the first time on the ticket had this margin of victory? Wilson?

I have to agree with the "We won big" assessment.
I also think our elected congress and President need to pursue the agenda we elected them to pursue.
Now, can we all agree that the constitution has taken a hell of a beating over the last four years? And can we all laud an Obama initiative to restore the constitution, making this a land where the rule of law trumps the "unitary executive?"

FWIW, Obama's popular vote margin is currently +6.1%, not 4-5%, and generally expected to go a bit higher, since West Coast votes are still being officially counted.

FWIW, Obama's popular vote margin is currently +6.1%, not 4-5%, and generally expected to go a bit higher, since West Coast votes are still being officially counted.

And this is right on the consensus poll prediction. See Nate Silver, for example.

So, no, jes, it's not true that:

A likely 11% margin in the popular vote got whittled down to 5%.

At least not through some sort of massive fraud or suppression. That said, I do agree that we need major reform of our electoral process. Having people wait several hours is unacceptable. Having widespread suspicion of the voting mechanism and the counts is unacceptable. Having elections managed by state-level political partisans is unacceptable.

BTW, in case you're not watching, Merkley seems to be building a lead over Smith in Oregon

Bernard: At least not through some sort of massive fraud or suppression.

If it turns out that the Republicans who successfully suppressed or destroyed votes en masse in 2004 had just given up by 2008, and that none of the early voting warning stories were echoed on Election Day itself, and that - unlike 2004 or 2000 - everyone who queued up to vote got to vote, and vote cast was counted, and that - unlike 2000, 2004, 2006 - the exit polls conform to the reported election results without being fixed to make sure they do - then that's great, Bernard.

I decline to take wishful thinking that none of that happened as evidence, though.

Obama had a staggering money advantage

That's an effect, not a cause.

and there was an enormous financial crisis that McCain's party was blamed for right before the election

It was a financial crisis that was directly caused by an ideology that is central to the modern Republican party.

the nature of the victory - though very welcome - does not yet indicate that the Democrats are no longer the junior opposition party in presidential politics.

The presidency, the senate, the house, the majority of governorships...that is not a junior opposition party. That is a party with a mandate for change.

tax cuts and winning in Afghanistan. Those are two center-right talking points

Cutting taxes on the poor and middle class while raising them for the rich is not a center right talking point. Quite the opposite. If he starts talking about cutting taxes on the rich and raising them on the poor and middle class, then maybe you've got something.

I wouldn't call winning in Afghanistan a center right talking point either. Most people agreed that something needed to be done there, and one of the left wing talking points about attacking Iraq was that it took focus away from Afghanistan.

...

Oh, and the Oregonian just called it for Merkley. Yey.

Jes, a little nuance would go a long way to take the monomaniacal edge of your posts on this subject.

Anyone who followed along at Talking Points Memo over the last two months is aware of the multiple Republican efforts at vote suppression and voter purges in this election. But likewise, there's absolutely no denying that the experiences of 2000-2004, combined with more Democratic governors / Boards of Election / Secretaries of State than in those years, produced enough early exposure and aggressive Democratic pushback that they were not able to pull off anywhere near the scale of chicanery of earlier cycles. Judicial rulings went against them in almost every case.

Recognizing that just doesn't equate to wishful thinking that Republicans have quit trying to suppress the vote, and it's irritating to see you impute that to Bernard and others.

Thanks, Nell.

There is a difference, jes, between thinking that reform of our election procedures is desirable, and thinking that the 2008 election results were significantly affected by various shenanigans.

I see nothing to support the latter, but I still think, as I made clear, that there is huge room for improvement in the process.

Bernard: "That said, I do agree that we need major reform of our electoral process. Having people wait several hours is unacceptable. Having widespread suspicion of the voting mechanism and the counts is unacceptable. Having elections managed by state-level political partisans is unacceptable."

All of this is true, but it seems to me that the major fix should be getting rid of the Electoral Voting System. Once that is gone, any national election would be harder to "fix", for it would need to be done on a national basis rather than by "battleground states."

Jes: I also agree with some of your points that there was evidence of attempt at voter fraud, and in the cases of the very long lines surely worked to some degree. I also think that Obama cut off a lot of this with his strong push for early voting by his supporters. People who had to leave the line on one day were able to return on another. Additional hardship and entirely unfair, however, it seems to have been effective. It is my greatest hope for the outcome of a Democratic President and Congress to be that we make the significant electoral changes that we need.

the nature of the victory - though very welcome - does not yet indicate that the Democrats are no longer the junior opposition party in presidential politics.

Two maps for your viewing pleasure.

On this one, choose the "Voting Shifts" dataset and cycle through the different years. 2008 is far redder than '92 and '96, but also *far* bluer than '00 and '04.

On the UMich cartographic red/blue and "purple" maps for 2008 and 2004, the trend toward "blue" is also pretty evident. Compare especially the county-level cartograms, where county size is adjusted for population.

There are lots of factors to consider: Bush's low approval ratings, the economy tanking, etc. etc.

But something's going on.

Thanks -

Actually, I think what determines whether Obama gets a lot done is whether he tries to get a lot done.

Bush had almost no mandate (he *lost* the popular vote).

Obama has quite a big mandate for change. Even his opponent was running on that platform.

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