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More Election Rehash: Citizens United, Gay Marriage, and Republican Democrats

More Election Rehash: Citizens United, Gay Marriage, and Republican Democrats November 12, 2012

Justice Anthony Kennedy

I’ve got to think that no one breathed a bigger sigh of relief on election night than SCOTUS justice Anthony Kennedy. Having been excoriated by all but a few on both left and right for the Citizens United decision — Kennedy was the swing vote in that decision and wrote the majority opinion — he must have been sweating this election season. A breathtaking amount of money poured into the coffers of start-up PACs and Super PACs, not to mention the millions (billions?) raised by the candidates themselves.

SCOTUS had previously and repeatedly ruled that money is speech; in Citizens United, the Court reaffirmed that “Corporations are people, my friend.” Corporations could form for the exclusive purpose of funding campaigns, and go on to fund them anonymously.

Tuesday’s election proved that, regardless of how much free speech you can buy with billions of dollars, you cannot buy an election. I’m guessing that was in Kennedy’s gut when he wrote the decision — that he has more faith in the American electorate than many of us who condemned the decision. Well, if that it what he was thinking, then he was right.

Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS had a $175 million-dollar strikeout:

Minus the millions spent against the president, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS were invested heavily in congressional elections, spending the most in Senate races. Including Obama and Romney, American Crossroads spent money for or against 20 federal candidates in 14 races, while Crossroads GPS focused on 27 in 24 contests.

By our calculations, American Crossroads came out on the winning side in three of its 14 races, with one still too close to call — that’s about 21 percent. GPS did only slightly better, getting its desired outcome in just seven of the 24 elections it spent on; one contest also remains undecided. GPS’ success rate comes to 29 percent.

But at least Sheldon Adelson is $50 million poorer, and we can all rejoice in that.

*****

One of the dumbest philosophical blunders in the losing campaign to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage was the quote  you’d hear and read on signs, “Marriage is marriage.”

Brilliant!

Of course, it’s perfectly meaningless to say “X is X.”

In spite of the obviousness of this, the anti-marriage-equality group, Minnesota for Marriage doubled down on that sentiment in their losing press release:

“Despite the disappointing outcome of this election, we rejoice tonight that marriage is still marriage. We know that God has defined marriage as between one man and one woman, regardless of the efforts of some to overthrow His design,” said John Helmberger, Chairman of Minnesota for Marriage.

“We give thanks to God for His creation of marriage, and we commit ourselves to work and pray that attempts to redefine marriage in our courts and legislature will not succeed.”

Yeah, uh, marriage is marriage. And marriage is still marriage. Brilliant.

What Helmberger refuses to acknowledge is that in the sacred text that he and I share, there are any number of definitions of marriage. And further, he doesn’t even know state history. A century ago in Minnesota, you could not get married if you were:

  • An imbecile
  • Epileptic
  • Feeble-minded
  • Had been divorced less than 6 months prior

Yeah, since we no longer discriminate against these categories in Minnesota, marriage has changed.

Marriage changes. Deal with it.

*****

I wrote last week about my little corner of the world, Edina, Minnesota, where we elected the first Democrat to the State Senate since…ever.

Minnesota Public Radio looks at my hometown today, seeing it as a bellwether of how traditionally conservative spots on the map are not so conservative anymore:

Another Edina football fan in the stands, Eric Olson, cast a vote for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“I would think most people are pretty centrist in Edina,” Olson said. “At the end of the day, they want a comprehensive look, and they want the president to work with Congress to get a budget passed. And in this election, I think people felt Obama was more likely to do that.”

But Olson, a Republican, also voted for Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. He said he chooses candidates on how they align with his beliefs and how they represent the state as a whole.

In this increasingly independent-thinking suburb, many voters say party lines don’t matter nearly as much as performance.

Edina is a suburb of affluence. It’s known as being white and rich. It’s nickname is “cake-eaters.”

Edina voted against both conservative constitutional amendments and is now represented at the state level exclusively by Democrats.

That’s notable.


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