ELECTION ROUNDUP: Every election there's at least one bit of news that makes me smile, however terrible everything else may appear. In 1998, it was the surreal victory of a pro wrestler running on a third-party ticket. In 2000, it was the sheer chaos of the Florida results. This year it was the defeat of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Bobby Kennedy and goddaughter of Joseph McCarthy, in her effort to capture Maryland's gubernatorial mansion.
Other good news? I was glad to see Gray Davis struggle so much in California; the fact that he ultimately won was a testament more to the awfulness of his opponent than to anything else. And I was perversely happy to see Jim "Jailbird" Traficant pull 15% of the vote in Ohio, a rare display of adventurousness from an electorate that seemed intent on avoiding anything remotely experimental.
Which leads us to the bad news. Decriminalization of marijuana lost in Arizona and Nevada. A measure to repeal the state income tax was defeated in Massachusetts. A jury-rights initiative failed in one of the Dakotas. The Ventura organization appears to be collapsing in Minnesota, where the Independence Party's gubernatorial nominee, Tim Penny, finished third. Those of us who hoped that party might become more than a support network for one charismatic man -- that it might take on a role comparable to the same state's old Farmer-Labor Party, or Wisconsin's old Progressive Party, or North Dakota's old Non-Partisan League -- should shelve our illusions. It's finished.
The worst news of all: The Republicans have taken the Senate. I'm no friend to the Democrats; indeed, I was glad the GOP held the House. But the prospect of one party controlling both houses of Congress plus the presidency is frightening, especially in a time of war. That aside, there's a strong chance that many of the creepier Republican initiatives, from the unvarnished Homeland Security proposal to subsidies for religious organizations to the suppression of stem-cell research, will now go through. Not to mention the implications for "preemptive" war with Iraq...
posted by Jesse 11:51 AM
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