Fighting a major post-election hang-over after a long night out celebrating good news. And there is so much good news! Obama won, earlier in the night than expected. Elizabeth Warren beat Scott Brown in a close race in Massachusetts, and Tim Kaine also beat George Allen in Virginia. And those Republican rape comments really bit them in the ass, with Richard “rape pregnancies are God’s will” Mourdock losing to Democrat Joe Donnelly in Indiana — an outcome that seemed extremely unlikely even a few days ago. Todd “legitimate rape” Akin also legitimately lost to Claire McCaskill in Missouri. And Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin, who will be America’s first out lesbian Senator.
What’s really incredible is that Democrats held off big-money Republican challengers and gained several Senate seats in a post-Citizens United election. Citizens United, for those who haven’t been paying attention or don’t live in the United States, was a recent Supreme Court case that gutted campaign finance laws, basically allowing unfettered spending on political campaigns in the name of free speech (I am simplifying the case greatly, but that’s the one-line summary). With deep ties to Wall Street and big business, and with a staunchly pro-business candidate on the presidential ticket, the Republican party saw their campaign coffers swell. The Romney campaign alone spent hundreds of millions of dollars, much of that from individual billionaires who donated up to $10 million apiece and from Super PACs who raised enormous sums from corporate and individual donors. Senate and House candidates on the GOP ticket were similarly flush, especially in key states like Massachusetts, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin and Connecticut. Obama also raised a good amount of money, but not nearly as much as Romney, and the Dems didn’t benefit from Citizens United the way the Republicans did. But they still hung on to their Senate seats and even gained a few. That’s a big victory.
It was also a huge night for marriage equality. For the first time ever, voters in several states elected to allow all state citizens the right to marry who they choose, regardless of sex, gender or sexual orientation. Major kudos to Maryland and Maine for that one. Fingers crossed that my home state of Washington goes the right way when all the ballots are counted. Minnesota also voted down a measure that would have restricted marriage to heteros.
Cheers also to Washington State for legalizing recreational marijuana. It’s not a perfect law, but it makes it legal to buy and sell small quantities of marijuana grown by licensed sellers in the state. Pot will be taxed heavily and regulated by the state, with revenues going toward things like substance abuse programs, research, education and health care. DUI laws, virtually identical to those used for driving while intoxicated, will be implemented for marijuana use. So pot smokers over the age of 21 can smoke without fear of reprisal, the general public is protected as well as they can be (and probably more than they currently are), and the state gets a bunch of money to pay for necessary programs. Win win win. Colorado passed a similar law, although I’m not familiar with the details, and Oregon rejected one (wtf, Oregon?).
There were a few other victories, and a few ridiculous laws that passed as well. A bunch of states love guns and hunting and are standing up to some invisible political enemy who’s trying to take their enormous stockpiles of weapons; nothing new there.
But generally, a pretty excellent night. Whiskey shots at midnight were probably not the best call for me personally, but otherwise, feeling good.