- You're on your own, America
As much as the media may want to ascribe a narrative to midterm elections, that doesn't really work. I'm not trying to minimize the losses from last night. It was a very bad night to be a Democrat, with major losses in the Senate and, maybe more disastrous in the long run, also in gubernatorial races around the country. The polls didn't indicate how bad this election would turn out to be. But you just can't look at these results and predict the outcome of the 2016 election. The country did not somehow turn Republican overnight. This is not an ideological sea change in American history.
Still, there is a lot of work to be done. This election was a trial run for a few Republican-written voter ID laws that exclude minorities and the very poor from the polls. Campaign finance laws are basically non-existent. Gerrymandering has transformed the country into a collection of fiefdoms. It's harder for Americans to grab hold of the truth in the electoral process right now than at any time in the last century. For Democrats to win elections in the future, they're going to need a truly inspiring get-out-the-vote apparatus, a slate of impressive and uncompromising candidates, and a strategy that utilizes local politics while maintaining a strong national agenda. Two of the three items on that list have never been a strong suit for Democrats, while the third item—the excellent GOTV campaign of the 2008 and 2012 campaigns—could be fairly easy for Republicans to mimic in the future. The Democratic National Committee needs to stop sending out fundraising e-mails and start looking deep into its own soul. They can't win elections if they can't get their constituents to the ballot box. In Colorado, at least, voter turnout among women was lower than it's been in over two decades. I suspect a similar situation may have occurred all around the country. As in any midterm election, the voters who actually showed up were white and older, and so they skewed conservative. This was a test, and Democrats failed.
But even though the Democratic Party failed, liberals succeeded in pockets throughout the country. Marijuana succeeded almost everywhere (except in Florida, where it had to receive 60 percent of the vote.) Anti-abortion advocates went down in flames almost everywhere. The minimum wage went up in states and cities around the country. Washington hosted a pretty good night for liberal causes, especially in the way we roundly fended off the NRA and supported common-sense gun control legislation. Hopefully more states will follow our lead in years to come, because our do-nothing Congress is about to get even do-nothing-ier. We're looking at two solid years of inaction and quibbling and partisan stageplay, as Republicans try to demolish President Obama's legacy before he can even leave office. If you want to live in a United States to be proud of, it seems—with humane laws and progressive ideals—you'll have to start making it in your own back yard. Congress has been good for nothing for four years now, but as of last night Washington DC just put up a giant CLOSED sign. Ladies and gentlemen, we're on our own for at least the next two years.