Liveblogging Election Night with Vox Nova

12:05 am. Mitt Romney has three “home” states: Michigan, Massachusets, and Utah. He lost Michigan and Massachusetts. Paul Ryan only has one home state, Wisconsin, and he couldn’t carry it for Romney. The GOP is caught in a real bind. Election after election their geographic base retreats further and further into the deep South and the barren Plains. At the same time, their demographic base grows whiter, older and wealthier, even as the nation is growing browner, that brown population is getting younger, and the Middle Class is disappearing. Sometime in the 1980’s or 1990’s, the GOP became largely a regional party. It is now poised to become a marginal party, fighting a rearguard action to defend privilege, whiteness, and the prerogatives of a global military, economic and cultural empire that is, frankly, collapsing.

If it is to survive, the GOP must come to represent a conservatism that hews closer to the vision of Burke, Kirk, Fleming, Oakeshott, Burnham, Weaver, Scruton, Berry and Blond; a conservatism that stands opposed to the corrosive cultural influence of laissez-faire capitalism and the mass consumer society; opposed to the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of private interests or the state; opposed to empire and the militarization of foreign policy; a conservatism focused on the care of creation, including the land and sea, as well as the small human ecologies of family, congregation, town, and small business; a conservatism that privileges the farmer, the industrial worker, the teacher and the Main Street merchant over the financial baron, the defense contractor, the big box retailer and the Washington lobbyist; a conservatism of the town hall meeting, not of slick ad campaigns; a conservatism of communities, not corporations. And yes, it must be a conservatism that defends the unborn, but also one that supports and honors their mothers, both before they give birth and long after. And yes, it must be a conservatism that defends marriage, but not by demonizing or marginalizing families that don’t fit a certain mold. Yes, it must be a conservatism of limited government, but within limits defined by justice, equality before the law, peaceableness, and the care of the aged, the infirm, the poor, and the unemployed.

A friend of mine tweeted that the big loser tonight was Ayn Rand. Thanks be to God. In the years ahead, may Republicans come to see this as the night when they began to fashion a different kind of conservatism. If they don’t they have no future. MG

11:57 pm.  Minnesota’s Congressional District 6: the one vote I cast that actually matters.  Michele Bachmann has a 51-49% lead over Jim Graves with 45% in.  Ooh, and better news: independent Angus King just won a senate seat in Maine.  Stephen Colbert says goodbye to bipartisan gridlock, hello to tripartisan gridlock. JS

11:20 pm.  All the networks are calling the election for Obama, but apparently Romney still has about a 1% lead in the popular vote.  2000 in reverse? JS

1:16 pm.    PBS just called it 275 electoral votes for Obama. DCU

11: 14 pm. Barack Obama has retained the White House by winning Ohio. MG

11:06 pm. The thoroughly non-magisterial “five non-negotiables” meme has been rampant in certain precincts of the Catholic community. The five are abortion, euthanasia, ESCR, cloning and SSM. Personally, I’m fine with a non-negotiables list, but I’d like to see it expanded to more closely represent the fullness of Church teaching. MG

11:03 pm. Fox News now (reluctantly) has Obama at 244 electoral votes, Romney at 193. Florida alone would put Obama over the top. 94% reporting there has Obama with a slight lead. MG

11:01 pm.  Networks have just called California and Washington for Obama, giving Obama a substantial lead.  DCU

10:57 pm. Many thought that the bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” was transparently political, designed to pump the Romney campaign in mid-summer. Fr. Peter Daly has some thoughts on why the Fortnight for Freedom fell flat with Catholics in the pews. MG

10:52 pm.  Minnesota called for Obama.  I am selfishly relieved that my Democratic friends here won’t get mad at me for voting independent. JS

10:45 pm.  Waiting for the polls to close in California.  Prop 34 is the biggest ballot issue in nation:  whether CA, with over 1000 people on death row, should abolish capital punishment.   Bill O’Reilly came out today in favor of abolition, so I am hopeful that this pro-life measure will pass.  DCU

10:38 pm. CBS called Nevada for Obama.  Good news for my niece Cristina who took a leave from grad school to do organizing work there.DCU

9:50 pm. New Hampshire for Obama. There are no escape routes left for Romney. He has to win Ohio and Florida or it’s over. Right now he’s behind in both, a small deficit in Florida but a large one in Ohio. MG

9:47 pm. The percentages on assisted suicide in Massachusetts have changed considerably. The question is now losing 51% to 49%. MG

9:30 pm.  Two networks just called Wisconsin for Obama.  Tammy Baldwin, one of the most liberal politicians in the state, has a very good chance to win the senate seat.  The very conservative Green Bay Press Gazette endorsed Baldwin.  Their endorsement was, roughly, “She is the spawn of Satan, but at least she is competent.”   DCU

9:26 om. On CNBC, Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP and former GOP Senate candidate from California said that if the Senate remains Democratic, and if Obama wins re-election, House Republicans might just take the country over the “fiscal cliff” after January 1st. MG

9:24 pm.  The local paper has called the Senate race in CT for the democrat, Murphy.  His opponent, McMahon, spent $40 million of her own money.  Both candidates went ugly early.  In desperation, McMahon broke with the national party and started running ads touting “Obama and McMahon.”  It appears that swing voters did not buy it.  DCU

9:20 pm. Fox is projecting Pennsylvania for Obama. He has also taken Michigan. Romney now has to pull out Florida and Ohio in order to have any chance. CNN and Fox are both projecting that the GOP will hold the House. MG

9:17 pm The folks at Radio Free Babylon (Coffee with Jesus) have called the election for Obama, based solely on “the smug giddiness of MSNBC anchors versus the downcast seriousness of Fox News anchors.” MG

9:10 pm. NBC calls Warren in Massachusetts. KC

9:06 pm. It’s early, but same-gender marriage is losing in Maine, winning in Maryland. MG

8:56 pm. Exit polls on religion from CNN (via Religion Dispatches) KC:

In Ohio, exit pollsters did ask voters if they were “white born again Christian;” 31% said yes, and they went for Romney over Obama, 68-31%. (The Pew Religious Landscape Survey has Ohio’s white evangelical population at 26%.) 25% of the respondents were Catholic, and they favored Romney 55-44%. Romney is only doing marginally better among white Catholics only (21% of the electorate), 56-42%. Obama is winning among everyone other than white born-again Christians, 60-38%.

8:55 pm. Assisted suicide is winning big, 55%-45%, in Massachusetts, with reporting in from a representative sample of towns across the state. MG

8:48 pm. If my sense about an Obama victory is correct, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth on the right. The American Conservative magazine, a paleocon journal, has an interesting piece about the likely fallout in the Republican Party. MG

8:45 pm. I’m starting to get the sense that Obama may be coasting to victory. Romney is leading in Virginia, but trailing in Florida and Ohio, with significant percentages of precincts (60% in Florida and 25% in Ohio) having reported. If Romney doesn’t come back quickly and with strength in Florida and Ohio, it’ll be an early night. MG

8:33 pm. Florida is leaning Obama 51% to 48% with 56% reporting. Florida is really a must state for Romney. MG

8:32 pm. Former VN Contributor Nate Wildermuth posted on his Facebook page today: “Wow. The election has been called already… America lost.” MG

8:31 pm. Watching ballot questions in five states. Assisted suicide in Massachusetts. Gay marriage questions in Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, and Washington. The MA question to allow assisted suicide is leading by 18 percentage points, but it is early. MG

8:08 pm. According to the Boston Globe, Obama is projected to have won IL, CT, ME, DC, DE, RI, MD, MA & VT. Romney has carried SC, WV, GA, OK, MS, AL, IN & KY. MG

7:47 pm. Polls that have closed already include big portions of New Hampshire and Florida (7:00 pm EST); and Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio (7:30 pm EST). At 8:00 pm EST, polls close in Pennsylvania and the remainder of New Hampshire and Florida. The battleground states of Colorado and Wisconsin close at 9:00 pm EST, and Iowa closes at 10:00 pm EST. MG

7:45 pm. Opening our election night live blog. Keep it civil and brief. We’ll do our best to get your comments moderated very quickly. VN Contributors will identify ourselves using initials to close individual entries. MG

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  • Thales

    It’d be a shame if Donnelly won the Indiana Senate race as a result of his demagogic and dishonorable attack on Mourdock for saying that all life is intended by God. I was flabbergasted that Donnelly, a self-proclaimed pro-life Catholic who I presume agrees with Mourdock on the point Mourdock was making, made that attack.

    • Thales

      I should clarify: I could deal with Donnelly winning because of the issues; it’s the winning on the demagoguery that would bother me greatly. I suppose we’ll never know why people voted the way they did, but, boy, Donnelly was so dishonorable for his attack.

      • Ronald King

        Donnelly did not have to say a thing and he still would have won due to Mourdock’s lack of clarity and sensitivity to the victims of rape with his initial statement.

        • Thales

          I couldn’t disagree more. In fact, Donnelly should apologize for his lack of sensitivity to those who are living as a result of rape.

        • Ronald King

          You think Mourdock would have won if Donnelly would have kept his mouth shut?

        • Thales

          I was disagreeing with you about your claim that Mourdock said something that was insensitive to victims of rape. “All life is intended by God” is not insensitive to victims of rape. I know that the media reported that this this position was extreme, insensitive, etc., but that’s an indictment of the media (and, I guess, of the voters who believe that too or who bought the media’s spin on it).

        • Ronald King

          What I was attempting to state was that Mourdock’s statement did not project the sensitivity to the victims of rape he needed to in order to have a chance of being understood correctly, even though I agree that “All life is intended by God.”

        • Thales

          Did you listen to Mourdock’s statement? I thought it had plenty of sensitivity. It’s hard for me to see how he could have been more “sensitive.” Do you have suggestions? Of course, when the media and Donnelly misrepresents what Mourdock said, it sounds insensitive. But that’s an indictment of the media and Donnelly. I roll my eyes at the media doing it as par for the course; I’m flabbergasted at “Catholic, pro-life” Donnelly doing it.

        • Kurt

          There were certainly a large number of rape victims who founded it offensive. I think someone who has been actually raped gets the greater right to weigh in on this.

          • Ronald King

            Agree. I did work with victims of rape. It is the pain and terror and rage among other overwhelming emotions which are too complex to get into at this time. Mourdock’s statement exhibited a lack of depth of understanding of the complexity of harm done to these women. He experienced the natural consequences of his words. Must go

        • Thales

          Ronald and Kurt,
          Please forgive my obtuseness, but what is offensive about saying “this is a difficult issue that I’ve struggled with. Others have a different point of view and I respect that. But for me, I believe that life begins at conception and that life is a gift intended by God.”? Please tell me why that is offensive. I’d like to know how to avoid offending people myself when this topic comes up.

        • Kurt

          I’d like to know how to avoid offending people myself when this topic comes up.

          Well, I am not sure you are all of the way there, but you are moving in the right direction by only quoting part of Mourdock’s statement and leaving out the line too many rape victims found so offensive. So, Thales, I think you have potential to not offend.

        • Thales

          I’m sorry, Kurt, but what was the offensive portion of Mourdock’s statement? What is this offensive line you are referring to?

        • Kurt


          You posted above an edited version of Mourdick’s comment. The most offensive part was the part you edited out. Why would you think I would not notice that?

        • Thales

          Ha, still can’t answer my question, can you, Kurt?

          I wasn’t “editing out” the offensive part of Mourdock’s statement — I was summarizing his position as stated in his statement. The full statement is easily found online, and Ronald has helpfully made a close (though not exact) transcript: “I know there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view, but I believe that life begins at conception, The only exception I have, to have an abortion, is in that case of the life of the mother. I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God, and even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Again, please explain the offensiveness of this statement.

        • Kurt

          I wasn’t “editing out” the offensive part of Mourdock’s statement — I was summarizing his position as stated in his statement.

          No, you were not summarizing. You used quote marks, indicating you weren’t giving a summary or paraphrase of his remarks but were quoting him and then asked others to respond as to what was objectionable to what you posted. But then you only quoted edited portions of his statement.

          People talk about the lack of civility in political discourse and here is exhibit A of the cause. You or FOX News or Crossroad (or Move-On, which is just as bad) put forward a quoted statement and suggest golly gee, I don’t see what’s wrong with this. Except it is not the statement the person in question made. Those on one side, who assume you are giving a complete statement, get jacked up one way. Those on the other side get jacked up because of the dishonesty. The result is that we have two jacked up sides.

          The same with John’s false assertion that the Democratic Campaign accused the bishops of leading a war on women. His false assertion jacks up the Right who wrongly believes it and jacks up the Left because of the dishonesty.

          How about we stop taking liberties with the truth even when it means that we don’t motivate the base as well with temperate, accurate, truthful and complete statements? Could maybe we at least hope on a Catholic forum this would be the standard?

        • Thales


          Ugh. I can’t believe we’re having this fight. The first time I used quotes, I wasn’t trying to misquote Mourdock. I was honestly trying to succinctly encapsulate and restate the Mourdock position — a position that I could see myself stating at some point in response to the abortion-rape question. In other words, I was envisioning myself making the quoted statement in response to the abortion-rape question and I was truly wondering why it was a response that was beyond the pale.

          Now apparently you think my restatement is not actually Mourdock’s position. That’s fine. But please tell me why because I have no idea why you think so. Better yet, forget my restatement, because I’ve apparently misquoted Mourdock (though again, I have no idea why you think so). I and Ron have basically transcribed Mourdock’s statement and the video of his statement is here.

          So I’ll restate for the 5th(? or 6th?) time my question: please explain why Mourdock’s statement is so offense as to be beyond the pale.

    • Paul DuBois

      I agree, I thought the attacks an Akins were justified, but Mourdock’s statements were inline with Catholic teaching and he tried to make them in a compassionate way. That being said, he also wants government completely uninvolved with helping those same victims.

  • voxnovablog

    I think that Warren call in Massachusetts is a bit premature. MG

  • voxnovablog

    David, is it true that Linda McMahon spent $50 million on the Senate race in Connecticut? MG

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      I heard $40 million, but it is still a record for a senate race.

    • Jordan

      Also do remember that Linda McMahon also ran and lost against the former Conn. AG Dick Blumenthal in the last CT Senate tsvr. She spent a similar amount of money on that campaign as well!

  • Ronald King

    Washington state is now going to be interesting with the marriage referendum

    • Aric Nesheim

      Yeah. I live in Washington, it’s definitely going to be an interesting state to watch in the next few weeks/months. Marijuana is also being legalized.

      • Ronald King

        Yes, I voted in favor of R 74. I voted against legalization of marijuana for several reasons which are associated with the damage done to the brain due to addiction. However, if used as a medication for ADHD and side effects of chemotherapy for cancer treatment along with other conditions, I believe it will help a lot of people.

  • digbydolben

    I disagreed with Mark Gordon a little while ago, but I just want to say that, with what he just wrote here, I could not possibly agree more. However, it’s not American-style “conservatism”; it’s not based on the “Horatio Alger” myth, and it’s Catholic, it’s “ditributist” and it’s Christian Democratic and it’s “Tory.” And it’s MY kind of “conservatism.”

    • Mark Gordon

      Thank you.

  • Kurt

    Once again, the Catholic Right’s bullying tactics backfire.

    • Dante Aligheri

      I’m not exactly sure what you mean. I agree wholeheartedly with Mark Gordon and Digby Dolben.

      • Kurt

        Democratic Catholics have by accident found the formula for success. We calmly state that our personal spiritual journey and discernment has brought us to vote Democratic in a particular election. We offer to share our reasoning with others. The result is a harsh, vile, nasty reaction by Catholic Republicans and some episcopates, questioning the faith, morality and sacramental eligibility of anyone who would consider voting for our candidate. The result is alienating to the undecided Catholic voter. The Catholic swing vote comes our way not because our claims are so convincing, but because the other side’s reaction is so nasty.

        • digbydolben

          This is so true!

  • w8kwses

    The Republicans can’t even count on all the WASPs any more. When lunatics like ‘the Donald’ are accepted in the councils of the Party, when their candidate made millions out of ignoring the interests of his employees and cannot say anything more particular about what he intends to do than ‘trust me’ (while using paragraphs to say it), when his Veep candidate partner is an advocate of ignoring the Gospel while claiming to be Catholic, then ‘little’ issues like the nature of the embryo that resulted from an incredibly obnoxious, demeaning, and abusive act by a sexual monster, are dealt with simplistically by people on both sides and get lost in more ‘important’ dreams and fears and ethnic politics.

    I do hope the political parties will grow up, and that the public will stop blindly slurping at the trough of their favorite media and learn to think critically.

    And may propaganda channels go under, and may the rest of the media stop giving equal time to what they know to be BS, and seek to educate the public about current events in a spirit that would survive academic peer review. Teaching ‘realities’ that fly in the face of truth is a spiritual and intellectual treason.

  • Julia Smucker

    Perfect closer, Mark – or perhaps I should say nice job writing Wendell Berry’s concession speech. 😉 On this point I’m with digby: that’s a conservatism I could totally get behind. I just hope we’re beginning to turn around toward bipartisan cooperation from both sides.

  • Julia Smucker

    Outstanding reflection by Jana Bennett on the Catholic voice:

    • Pinky

      I read the article you linked to. There are some valid points in it. But how does one come away from this election thinking that libertarianism is a great threat? I mean, I think it could be, but I don’t know how this election would lead one to draw that conclusion.

      Losses incurred by pro-life Republican candidates won’t turn the party into pro-life redistributionists. It’s going to move the party into a bigger-tent fiscal conservatism. The warning about the threat of libertarianism may well be a lesson we learn in the next election.

  • Ronald King

    Thales, I cannot imagine the horror of being raped and then being pregnant as a result of this evil. What happens is between the victim, her support system and God. This is too complicated to briefly express. The Church is willing to let frozen embryos die rather than directly approving/encouraging the adoption of these embryos. What does God intend with that?

    • Thales

      I’m sorry, Ronald, I’m not following. (Don’t know why you bring up frozen embryos— that’s an entirely different issue with an entirely different set of moral considerations). As a Catholic, the proper response to rape is to show love and compassion to both living human beings who are victims in the rape: the woman raped and the living human being inside of her — and that means being opposed to abortion in instances of rape (at least as a matter of morality, while recognizing that as a matter of prudence, it might not be appropriate to legally prohibit abortions in this instance). No one has been able to tell me why Mourdock’s position was inconsistent with this proper Catholic/Christian response to rape and why what Mourdock said was so beyond the pale.

      I again ask you to please explain to me what Mourdock said that was so offensive and beyond the pale.

      • Kurt

        I again ask you to please explain to me what Mourdock said that was so offensive and beyond the pale.

        How about first you give us what he actually said rather than your edited version?

        • Thales

          Ron transcribed a (close-enough) transcript and I repeated it above and you can find videos of Mourdock making the statement online. Now, again, can you please explain to me what Mourdock said that was so offensive and beyond the pale?

  • Ronald King

    Thales, Here is Mourdock’s quote, “I know there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view, but I believe that life begins at conception, The only exception I have, to have an abortion, is in that case of the life of the mother. I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said, appearing to choke back tears. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
    The life of the woman being raped is violently threatened with all the evil that the rapist can muster and that threat becomes a permanent source of intense suffering on many different levels throughout her life. The reality of that death threat never leaves her and it is infinitely more consciously traumatic than a mother whose life is threatened with a desired pregnancy. The rape victim may exhibit more intense traumatic stress symptoms than combat veterans due to being in a state of total helplessness without any training or means to defend herself. She is alone facing evil and potential death. Her life is permanently changed at that point. Hypervigilance, nightmares, emotional numbing, avoidance of anything that may trigger memories of the rape, difficultly in developing loving feelings and other symptoms may impact her the rest of her life. This is a much graver situation than that of the mother whose life is saved from an life threatening pregnancy.
    Mourdock stated that he struggled with this. That is insulting and insensitive to those victims who live in the reality of knowing what struggling with being raped actually is.
    I would explain the connection with frozen embryos but I am tired at this point, maybe tomorrow.

    • Thales

      Hold up. Am I hearing you right? Are you saying that Mourdock’s statement that he struggled with the abortion-rape case, that that statement is insulting and insensitive to rape victims? I’m sorry, but that makes no sense. To the contrary, the fact that Mourdock struggled with the difficult situation of rape is evidence that he recognizes how difficult the situation is to the victims — which goes to show that he wasn’t being unduly dismissive of the difficulty of the situation, which is the exact opposite of being insensitive.

      Are you saying that Mourdock is insulting because he’s commenting on a situation without understand the reality of rape? If so, I don’t know why you think he doesn’t understand the reality of rape. I see no evidence for that. In fact, I’d bet that Mourdock agrees 100% with your paragraph describing the difficulty of rape.

  • Jordan

    Okay, look I don’t want to wade too far into the Mourdock/Donnelly/national RNC smackfest. Here’s a “Joe the Voter” view of the situation.

    I am, in the main sympathetic to a moderate fiscal conservatism. I broke with my personal political ideology and voted for Barack Obama simply because social/religious movement conservatism has gone berserk over the last two decades. We have men (i.e. human beings unable to gestate or bring a child to labor) making completely speculative statements about an extremely traumatic event for not a few women. Why didn’t GOP-affiliated women politicians and supporters step forth to comment on Akin’s and Mourdock’s statements? Do I want a conservative-appointed male justice on the SCOTUS who will blindly make controversial and hurtful statements like this without listening to women’s stories about assault and personal recovery?

    My mother, who is extremely religious, has said that I should go to confession and confess that I voted for Obama. What am I going to say? I’ll admit that I defied the judgment of the bishops and voted for a very pro-choice candidate. Still, I feel that the Republican party has abandoned compassion, decorum, and decency when talking about life issues from the stump and from the pulpit. Must we abandon all decency just to save the babies? The GOP, and especially social movement conservatism, needs to grow a heart and some tact. When that happens, I’ll tick the R box again.