What the Election Means

Sen. Tom Bakk introduces Democratic Sen. Melisa Franzen [Tony’s new state senator] at the Minnesota DFL Election Night Party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul, Minn. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

While I reject all of the puffed-up rhetoric that this-is-the-most-important-election-in-our-lifetime, it was a momentous night. Not because we elected a person of color, but because we seem to have risen about the politics of race and elected the person we think can best lead us.

Here’s Andrew Sullivan:

One felt something tectonic shift tonight. America crossed the Rubicon of every citizen’s access to healthcare, and re-elected a black president in a truly tough economic climate. The shift toward gay equality is now irreversible. The end of prohibition of marijuana is in sight. Women, in particular, moved this nation forward – pragmatically, provisionally, sensibly. They did so alongside the young whose dedication to voting was actually greater this time than in 2008, the Latino voters who have made the current GOP irrelevant, and African-Americans, who turned up in vast numbers, as in 2008, to put a period at the end of an important sentence.

Regarding the stunning come-from-behind defeat of the marriage amendment in Minnesota, here’s a Facebook post from one of my dearest friends:

I’m grateful, too. And here’s what’s interesting. Both the marriage amendment and the voter ID amendment failed in Minnesota. Together they were a cynical ploy by Republican state legislators to drive social conservatives to the polls in an incumbency election — Republican operatives have admitted as much. The result of their attempted manipulation of our state constitution:

Obama won handily in Minnesota (by 8 points), even though some thought it a swing state.

Both amendments lost with room to spare, even though the voter ID amendment had been polling 20 points ahead as recently as two weeks ago.

– For the first time in 20 years, Democrats will now control both the state house and senate. I don’t know if I’ve ever been represented in the state senate by a Democrat (I live two blocks from where I grew up), but I am now.

It backfired.

This isn’t about Democrats defeating Republicans. This is about the voters defeating cynical political ploys.

For that reason alone, all American should be grateful this morning.

Election Day Open Thread


I think today should be a national holiday. Let’s ditch Columbus Day and make today a day without work, a day to celebrate our freedom to vote.

In that spirit, I want to make a space here for the 35,000 of you who read this blog every month to post thoughts, links, questions, or simply to state, “I voted.”

So, tell us, what did you experience as you voted?

Did you change your mind about anything at the last minute?

What are your hopes and fears about this election?

Why I Am a Christian Independent

Fellow Patheos blogger Ellen Painter Dollar got some huge traffic last month when her post, “Why I Am a Christian Democrat” went viral. I appreciate Ellen’s apologia for being both a Christian and a registered Democrat. Like her, it’s neither scandalous nor revolutionary for a Christian from my background to vote for Democrats. Both the church of my youth and my current faith community are full of folks who vote both ways — though I suspect that my current co-parishioners generally lean left.

Nevertheless, I think that Ellen has made a mistake. In general, I don’t think that Christians should register with political parties.

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Whom I’m Voting For, and Why

Editor’s Note: This post is a part of our Election Month at Patheos feature. Patheos was designed to present the world’s most compelling conversations on life’s most important questions. Please join the Facebook following for our new News and Politics Channel — and check back throughout the month for more commentary on Election 2012. Please use hashtag #PatheosElection on Twitter.

Let me note, I write this post not telling you for whom to vote. Nor do I think that you (or I) have an obligation to disclose our votes. A secret ballot is a cornerstone of our democracy.

I disclose my prospective votes today to offer them up for discussion. So, read them, then have at it:

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