What the Election Means

What the Election Means November 7, 2012

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.

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