Friday, November 10, 2006

Okay, It’s Over, But Who Won?

It’s three days after the election and I am still analyzing the results. All the other pundits say it was a great victory for the Dems and a disaster for President George and the GOP. Even the President called it a “thumping,” and, because he always accepts responsibilities for what goes wrong, he fired Don Rumsfeld.

I think what these paid analysts forget is that we kicked out the Brits. We do not have a parliamentary system in our country. Our citizens don’t vote for parties, they vote for individual candidates. Many of these candidates do not identify their party affiliation in their campaign literature. In many states candidates are not even identified by party on the ballot.

The media and the press have been reporting for weeks that a significant majority of the American electorate supported transferring control of the Congress from the Republicans to the Democrats. That’s a meaningless statistic. I don’t remember seeing on the ballot any place where I could vote to change control of the Congress. All I could do was vote for one of two candidates for the Senate and for one candidate or a write-in for the House (my representative, Bobby Scott, ran unopposed). At most, I could only vote to change the occupants of two seats. I am sure that, except for those who voted “early and often,” no voter in the United States was able to affect more than two seats.

So what we had on Tuesday were 468 separate elections—435 in the House and 33 in the Senate. Although the broadcast networks and all the cable networks reported as if it was a single election, it was not.

So, who won?

I’m looking at a list in the paper of the election results as reported by the Associated Press. It lists the 426 individuals who won (9 elections had not yet been decided.) There’s another list showing the 33 winners in the Senate elections. Although I haven’t counted, I can see from the list that the vast majority of incumbent Representatives running for reelection won. Same thing in the Senate—most of the incumbents who ran for reelection won.

So, who won? Mostly incumbents.

Let’s forget the rest of the country (just for today). Who won in the Commonwealth?

A large majority of the voters ignored my advice and approved the so-called "marriage amendment.". I think the entire Commonwealth will lose because of this vote. The proponents of the amendment need to be praised, however. They marketed the vote as a referendum on marriage. Not too many people are against marriage, at least in principle, so many voted for the amendment probably without even reading it. This was a clear case of appealing to voter’s emotions rather than to their reason. It worked.

As for the congressional elections, the Republicans won.

But Maven, don’t you know that Jim Webb beat Senator George?

Of course I know that Jim Webb, who used to be a Republican, beat Senator George, who is still a Republican. But Webb didn’t win because he ran as a Democrat. He won despite it.

I hear people saying that Virginia is now a purple state, rather than a red one. Well, I looked at the map of the election broken down by county in the paper Wednesday morning and it showed a huge sea of red, with a few blue islands. Now those islands do hold a whole lot of people, but the commonwealth still looks red to me. Besides, that map was based on the senatorial election. Let’s look at the representative elections.

Virginia has eleven members in the House of Representatives. Before the election, eight of those seats were held by Republicans and only three by Democrats. And after the election? Eight held by Republicans; three held by Democrats. Surprise! All that campaigning; all that money spent; all those nasty signs erected, and we get back the same eleven people!

But, Maven, what about last year? Didn’t the Democrats win?


Tim Kane, a Democrat was elected governor. That’s true. But, the other two state-wide offices were won by Republicans. And, the Republicans retained their control over both houses in the General Assembly.

So I’m afraid that Virginia is still a red state. A candidate running as a Democrat can be elected to state-wide office, if s/he runs a brilliant campaign. But s/he will have no coat-tails. The Republicans will win most of the other elections.

But, Maven, must this be a red state forever?

I’ll talk about that soon.

1 comment:

Vivian J. Paige said...

Good post.