Random thoughts down ballot...
While Americans were becoming more civilized about homosexual marriages, decriminalization of marijuana use and rejecting the most hateful anti-female candidates in the Senate, not enough Americans could bring themselves to jettisoning the mostly Republican jokers (Michelle Bachmann barely survived, for example) who still walk the halls of our Congress.
MEMO TO HARRY REID: Blow up the filibuster anyway. You'll need to avoid any filibuster on any judicial nominee Obama will send your way when Ginsburg and Breyer retire. And who knows? Scalia might have to retire at some point in the next three years, and there could be a pick up on the Court to overturn Citizens United and a few other decisions...Now back to random thoughts, though that was random, too, eh?
Down ticket here in California, we had some significant sanity. First, Proposition 30, which raises income taxes on the richest folks and sales tax on all of us just a bit, in return for funding more for our schools, passed fairly strongly with nearly 55% of the vote. Second, voters here strongly supported amending our three strikes law to stop putting people in jail for life for possessing cocaine or some substance. This is what was driving the explosion of our jail populations and costing 10% of our state budget (up from 3% just thirty years ago), and led the conservative United States Supreme Court to say our States' jail system was cruel and unusual in its housing of prisoners (!). It was as much a budgetary move as a humanity move.
And third, while we can't get labeling of genetically modified food (Proposition 37), and we still have the death penalty (Proposition 34 would have abolished the death penalty), we did close a loophole in our tax code that had given an advantage to companies that did business in other states (Proposition 39).
Some happy results in the Congressional races: First, Democratic Party Congressperson Brad Sherman, one of my favorite Congresspeople here in CA, stomped on his Democratic Party rival--a result of the new district lines and the new run-off structure--Howard Berman, who was on his way to becoming Joe Lieberman, and ran a nasty campaign against Brad, complete with Liberman's and right wing Republicans' endorsements of Berman against Sherman. This was the race where Sherman put his arm around Berman in an aggressive manner after Berman was yelling "Liar" to Brad's face when Brad was not lying at all. Great for Brad, and great for America to have someone who is a true supporter of labor rights and against trade treaties, and is not a complete Likudnik like Berman has been.
Second, in my old area of Thousand Oaks, there is a new Democratic Party Congresswoman, Julia Brownley, who defeated the career Republican and original Tea Party sort of person, Tony Strickland. The word was that Julia was "too liberal," but Strickland has been trying to find an open seat for years in Congress, found it, and realized people just don't like the guy. Julia will get stronger support as the district gets to know her.
Third, the biggest and happiest surprise for me was that my family and I may actually have a Democratic Party Congressperson representing us in the deep, deep Red Republican Poway area. I am not sure how this happened, but Scott Peters, an Obama corporate Democratic Party candidate, may have defeated an incumbent stealth Tea Party candidate, Brian Bilbray. Peters had initially made noises that he will support the Grand Bargain of Obama to cut Social Security and Medicare, but somehow I think he may be seeing the light. And he'll need some "education" as to why he should not support job-killing trade treaties.
Overall, America had a very good night that almost makes up for the disaster of 2010. But we've got a long way to go, and Obama is still gunning for our Social Security and Medicare, and stealthily pushing to further hollow out and destroy our manufacturing base on behalf of his corporate financier overlords. Now, maybe someone will tell Latino, black American, single women, and younger voters that off year elections count, too?:-)