In the Senate, the Democrats picked up five seats. But hey, guess what? Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman barely held on to his seat. With all the precincts reporting, Coleman's won by 571 votes. Which means recount time! Poor comedian Al Franken should've won this, but a third party candidate took more of his votes than Coleman's (instant runoff voting, anyone? please?), and also he didn't run a very good campaign, and also Minnesotans, like many Americans, are in love with the idea of a divided government as some sort of good thing, because we all remember how well that worked in 1994, when the government shut down, as a stunt. And hey, let's check in on Alaska, the retarded child state America forgot it adopted until this year, when it nearly crashed the democratic car into a tree. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who is a convicted felon, won his reelection campaign! Stevens, convicted just last week of seven counts of corruption, has a 4,000 vote lead over his opponent, some boring non-corrupt Democrat. There are still 50,0000 absentee ballots left to count, so you know, this could still go either way. But honestly, Stevens is probably a lock. Good work, Alaska.
Everyone wanted to get out last night! Whether you were in a city where you could roam the streets, or in a small-town bar, or simply at a friend's house, it was a bad time to be alone in your apartment. It was one of those rare moments where people took to the streets in celebration. It's a primal, biological urge: spontaneous gatherings are inspired when we lose the desire to be an individual and are inexplicably driven to be part of the herd.Past examples? Well, September 12th in New York City. While people weren't sure what they wanted to do or what to think, the one thing they knew for sure was that they wanted to be around others. (Remember those trend pieces about post-9/11 sex and couples reuniting?) The Blackout of 2003 was an awesome confluence as well. It took power out all the way west to Detroit, where I remember it as one of the few moments where the highly segregated black and white populations dropped their guard for two days and actually talked to each other without suspicion, offering clean water and the like. Of course, there was also 1945's V-J Day and its iconic Times Square celebration:
In the first election of the 21st century decided by the end of Election Day, Democratic Senator Barack Obama was elected President, beating Republican Senator John McCain. Obama, 47, is the United States of America's first black president. Despite his race, despite his being a liberal Midwestern Senator running with an east coast Democratic Senator, despite running against an incredibly well-respected and admired Republican with great independent voter appeal (at least back in the day), Obama took it decisively. It was a good year for Democrats, what with the economy melting down and the last dying breaths of the miserable presidency of universally despised Republican president George W. Bush, but it did look, for minute, like it might be another close one. If, for example, Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic nomination, as it was predicted she would last year, we probably would've seen a repeat of the "50+1" strategy of fighting the election only in two or three "swing states" (Kerry states + Ohio = victory!), and probably another 49/48 popular vote split. But Obama fought in "red states" like Indiana and much of the mountainous southwest. The map expanded, and stupid Ohio and Florida were justifiably stripped of a great deal of their terrible importance. Obama finally won with more than 50 percent of the popular vote, the first time a Democrat managed that feat in a generation. Obama ended up a much stronger candidate than even his early partisans could've predicted, with a calm, intelligent, cool demeanor. That demeanor got him labeled a stuffy egghead early on, especially when contrasted with Hillary Clinton's newfound fiery populism, but in a time of great upheaval, "appearing presidential" suddenly looked good. And he looked presidential in three debates, while his opponent, John McCain, sputtered and shouted and, in Joe Biden's memorable words, "lurched" around the stage of the town hall. Thing got completely fucking crazy in the last days, as the Republican dead-enders began trying, surprisingly without efficacy, to appeal to the basest instincts of the electorate, painting Obama as a Marxist Socialist (and quietly encouraging people to think he was a DANGEROUS MUSLIM TERRORIST), but every time voters saw the candidate he looked like a rational, moderate, smart family guy. It was a half-hearted use of identity politics by a Republican who always hated the rabble of the Religious Right but it did intensify to uncomfortable levels in the end. The high point, weirdly, was a crazy young white woman in Pittsburgh filing a false complaint to the police claiming she was mugged and robbed by a huge black man who carved a B in her face. The self-inflicted B was, of course, carved backwards, and soon she was off for mental health treatment. It was a nice little microcosm of the state of the race nationally—the race-baiting didn't work! He inherits a nation utterly fucked to it's core by the venal incompetents of the Bush years, and lord knows it's idiotic to invest all your hopes in one guy egomaniacal enough to want to be president at all, but we have secret hopes in our tiny heart that he'll be a decent success. And, of course, we all get fucking unicorns. Seriously. Check your mail next January. Unicorns and cocaine for all! Image: (c) Jana Kohl and Robert Sebree, www.ararebreedoflove.com, used with permission from (c) holder.
Will the Democrats get 60 seats in the Senate? Will Obama win in a landslide and have a MANDATE? Ugh. No, and yes, respectively. Dems are looking good in the Senate but not 60 seats good. Obama will get over 50% of the popular vote, the first time any Democrat's managed that in a generation. That sounds like enough of a mandate to us. What else? Coleman/Franken The Minnesota Senate race will be down to the wire. Franken is ahead at the moment but it's close. Exit polls look decent for him, but that third-party guy might hurt him. Michelle Bachmann The insane Minnesota congresswoman might pull this off—she's ahead at the moment but the write-in Repub challenger might kill her hopes. Ted Stevens The Alaska Senator and convicted felon faces a tough fight but, you know, Alaska loves that corrupt asshole. Alaska polls close late. Proposition 8 Lord knows what's going on with California's gay marriage initiative. Whites want the gay marriage, blacks and latinos are divided. Cautious optimism?
Let's check in on ballot initiatives! Florida's shitty marriage amendment will probably pass. We can't find any other news about any of the rest of them. But we will! Check back in! Update: Colorado's "Definition of Person Initiative," which would've banned abortion and also forms of birth control, has failed. As has South Dakota's abortion ban, which was just play at a Supreme Court case anyway. Massachusetts residents can possess an ounce of weed! Arkansas' "unmarried couples adoption ban" thing looks like it might pass. Medical marijuana passed in Michigan!
Oh, adorable. The ice rink at Rockefeller Center is a big Map, tonight, and they are painting it red and blue, like the states, in this election! Hey they can go ahead and paint New York blue. SHOCK: New York just went for Obama. Below, losers in Times Square, the worst place to celebrate anything, let alone an election, watch the results come in.
Elizabeth Dole just lost her seat in North Carolina, to Kay Hagan. Democrat Mark Warner won Virginia but that was a gimme. We'll update this with notable results as the night progresses. Stupid Saxby Chambliss is holding on but that will probably go to a run-off. Mitch McConnell won and John Sununu lost. 3+ new Senate seats for Dems thus far. Now: Up four seats! Tom Udall won in New Mexico.
Sorry, Dianne Feinstein! Exit polls are useless and wrong (actually they're not entirely wrong and useless except that no one knows how to read them, except Marc Ambinder). But they're out, now, and soon they'll be everywhere. Let's get to it: "Senate sources" say the Dems will be stuck at 58 seats. Sad! After the jump, the numbers that people like Drudge have. There are no surprises but the slight Obama leads in MO and IN are probably LIES. (Or, uh, misleading.) GA 47-51 FL 52-49 IA 58-42 IN 52-48 MI 60-39 MN 56-39 MO52-48 NC 52-48 NH 57-43 NM 56-43 NV 55-45 OH 54-45 PA 57-42 VA 55-45 WV 45-55 WI 58-42 National 54-44 Senate numbers we don't believe at all (because the Coleman number is absurd): Sununu down 18 Coleman down 12 McConnell up 2 Chambliss up 3 Dole down 52-43 AND:
MSNBC's lovable Rachel Maddow is a "hobbyist bartender," as she explained to Martha Stewart, who eyed the cocktail Maddow prepared for her a little too eagerly. (We'll be reporting the election returns live from dive bar Milano's later this evening.)
What's going on at The Corner, National Review's online peek into the id of the Conservative base? Jonah Goldberg, in his role as television-raised idiot manchild of The Right, has been posting weird movie clips all day. Kathryn Jean Lopez, Fairy Queen of NRO, has just been posting the crazier selections from her amazing inbox. Mark Hemingway doesn't really understand the laws surrounding "politcking" very well. And this is a particularly admirable example of "the polls are wrong" wishful thinking:
Ha. Daily Intel has obtained a photograph of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, the most important woman in fashion, standing in line to vote. This grainy image raises so many questions: Why does she seem to be hiding behind a concrete column? Why have her fellow voters turned their backs on her? And most importantly, is she in the tank? Anna, please write in with answers. This is what democracy looks like. [Daily Intel. Click to enlarge]
We had an on the scene report of actor and Hollywood liberal Tim Robbins making a scene at his Manhattan polling place this morning, yelling about "infringing upon his freedom to vote." Then the cops came! What had him so upset? Robbins told City Room, "The issue is that they removed my name from the voting rolls. My name was there for the primaries.” Which is totally unfair, he shouldn't even have to follow the rules because “The poll workers here know me... I’ve been voting here 15 years.” (TMZ has a video of a disgruntled Robbins explaining the indignity of it all.) After filling out an affidavit ballot and visiting the Board of Elections office, he's resigned himself to carrying out his election-monitor duties. According to a stalker, Robbins is "expressing concern to an election official about the old voting machine, shaking hands with a highschool buddies, reading the NYT and texting."
Before the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle, when newspapers were read by everybody, the morning-after headers had much more urgency. (Hopefully we won't have another "Dewey Defeats Truman" debacle, though.) Newseum has a slideshow of post-election newspaper front pages. (Tomorrow's heads should read, "As you already read on the Internet/saw on TV, so-and-so won.) But hey, remember that great Chester County Times headline after Abraham Lincoln was elected? It was a "clean sweep!"
There are two "Black Panthers" standing outside of one polling location in Philadelphia. One of them has a billy club. It's kind of the most hilarious story ever. Fox is all over it. Below, raw live unedited footage of these two American Heroes, who just arrived from that Life on Mars show. Anyways! Race war, guys, let's all head to Ricky's and take advantage of these post-Haloween bargains on Manson Family costumes.
The Times wants to know how you're feeling, today. Are you hopeful? Or scared? Type a word, and say who you support in the election, and the word will fly by on the screen, magically. What we learned: McCain supporters are scared, patriotic, worried, determined, tired, depressed, upset, anxious, terrified, and, yes, hopeful. Obama supporters, in calm, soothing blue, are hopeful, happy, ready, tired, relieved, and, of course, nervous and anxious. Everyone in America needs a damn nap. [NYT]
CNN is live on the scene today in the swing state of Pennsylvania, where people are very enthusiastic about getting to the polling places. They interviewed real live man-on-the-street "Ron Jones," who allows that he's so excited to vote that he's "been back a couple times." How could Matt Drudge allow this to happen? Click to watch the liberal media- African-American- ACORN- terrorist voter fraud revealed.
Ogilvy, one of the world's most famous ad agencies, encourages all of its staffers to vote! "We'd like to remind you that the future of your country depends on making your voice count," they write in an internal email. So how are they helping their employees exercise their rights? By telling them that if the long lines at polling places make them miss the "minimum required hours of work time," then they have to use a vacation day today. Well, they sure are bastards. The full email below: