Our Unrepresentative State Senate

Others can do more sophisticated analysis than I, no doubt.

But I figured that in our State Senate races on Tuesday, the GOP captured 52.6% of the vote, while Democratic candidates got 47.4%. But more telling, there were a total of 20 seats that were uncontested - that's 40% of our State Senate. And in the 30 contested races, only 6 had a winner with fewer than 55% of the votes cast.

So, Republicans now hold 32 seats in our Senate, despite an electorate that should have resulted in something more like a 26-24 split.

This flies in the face of the equal protection of the laws.

An open letter to Mr. Tillis

Dear Thom.

I was struck by the illusion of humility captured in one of your quotes this morning:

"I got elected by 49 percent of the voters, but I represent 100 percent of them, and I want to make sure that they know that their feedback and their priorities are important,"

To put a finer point on it, you were elected by 49% of the 44% who voted, so you are correct in interpreting your victory as slim and your mandate as fragile. Indeed, you captured the lowest level of support in the history of senate races. But let's set that aside for now. You won.

I also too note of your happy-talk about bipartisanship and outreach, though I couldn't help but observe the incongruity in your comments:

Tillis promised to reach out to the 51 percent of the electorate who picked Hagan and Haugh. He said he will come back to North Carolina from Washington every weekend. He aims to connect as he sought to over the past few years as House speaker, he said.

As you "sought to over the past few years as House speaker"? Seriously? If that is your standard for engagement, we are well and truly screwed. You may have "sought" to connect, but as our friend Yoda has said so well, "There is no try." You either did it or you didn't. And trust me on this, you didn't.

To Barack or not to Barack, that is the hindsight question

And the answer is not as obvious as many believe:

No doubt, Obama’s presence here would’ve energized some Hagan opponents, but it would also have propelled her constituents to the polls. As it was, lots of voters know a “dis” when they see one, and it was crystal clear that the president, after six years of being disrespected by Republicans, was now being disrespected by a Democratic incumbent who – despite owing her election to his coattails – was now treating him like a snaggle-toothed, bald-headed stepchild with tetter or ringworm.

Bolding mine. I know a lot of you are annoyed with Kay for her "not too far left, not too far right" declaration and apparent avoidance of the President, but rewriting history will not help us understand what happened Tuesday. Kay Hagan received 102,571 more votes than Obama did in 2008. That doesn't mean she was right to avoid the President in this election, but it does show she didn't "ride Obama's coattails" into office. Here's another take:

Random thoughts

Who would have thought North Carolina could fall so far so fast? From a paragon of moderation three years ago to a poster-child for extremists and elites today. How quickly the tide can change, and it always does.

Everybody has an opinion about sources of the Republican wave, and many of those opinions are right. Not only did Republicans make the election a referendum on President Obama, they were aided and abetted by spineless Democrats. Having mastered the politics of fear (ISIS, Ebola, brown people, black people, uppity women), the GOP did what the GOP does best, they divided and conquered. Divide and conquer, of course, is Thom Tillis' unique strength. The words will forever be synonymous with his approach to politics and governing. Darth Vader in an Armani suit. But he didn't win alone. He had the benefit of a helpful ally on the other side, Kay Hagan herself. While she ran a smart campaign, it simply couldn't overcome six lackluster years in office.

Changing the face of the Republican Party? How?

Can someone please explain how the first seven shown are changing the face of the Republican Party? Your comments are welcome below.

Job #1 between now and 2016: Young voters

As important as this election was, look at these turnout numbers:

Ballots Cast:
43.99% (2,915,757 out of 6,627,862)

43.99%

Still waiting for turnout by age-range, but I don't expect any surprises. I crunched the numbers after the Primary earlier this year, and the entire block of voters from 18-25 (that's eight separate categories) only beat 72 year-olds (one category) by one vote, 881-880. You can only rationalize that so much, and still be forced to conclude that the bulk of our efforts need to be directed at this (for all practical purposes) inactive voting demographic. More money (lots) needs to be directed to campus organizations, but that still leaves a vast number of 18-25's out of the net. And getting those potential voters activated is going to be a huge challenge, but I have a feeling it may be the only way out of this Republican nightmare we find ourselves in.

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